Flowing, creative genius or slave to your ‘executive function’?

I know which I’d rather be.  The thing is headspace.  My head is so full all the time, isn’t the only thing to be logical and problem-solving, over play my brain’s ‘executive function’?

Under assault from multiple media and massive data streams, I’m not sure it’s even possible to change how I use my brain.  Because of this I was fascinated to read the recently published book, ‘The Organised Mind’, by neuroscientist Dr Daniel Levetin.IMG_1078

As a leadership coach, I want to I bring my ‘best brain’ to coaching sessions – and encourage coachees to do the same. I know coaching isn’t all about the brain but being clear, fresh and with capacity to process feel important.

So what is my ‘best brain’ in this situation?  Dr Levetin invites us to consider the value of a ‘mind wandering’ mode, a relaxed state of free association and creativity which plumbs our unconscious for valuable connections.  This is a state of richness and ease for our brains.

 ‘The gift of imagination has meant more to me than any talent for absorbing absolute knowledge’. Einstein.

 Dr Levetin invites us to use our brains more consciously for greater creativity and power:-

  • Every day our brain has limited capacity for being attentive. Guarding our brain for our highest priorities each day can be transformative.
  • To extend our ‘brainpower’ we externalise our memory.   To you and me, this means lists, and written plans. (I use a flip chart by my desk…. Plan, plan and capture new ideas.)
  • IMG_1079Highly successful people prioritise and re-prioritise these plans daily, weekly and monthly to ensure they are focused.
  • To use our brain best, we need to focus and not constantly switch our attention.
  • There is no such thing as multi-tasking. It’s just stopping and starting the car in traffic more quickly. It burns valuable energy.
  • Best of all, externalising memory means more space for creativity.

A successful European coach I know has a ‘power hour’ first thing (her best time of the day). No interruptions, no emails, nothing except her single most important priority that day – mastering new material, key reflections, writing client documents or creating strategy. Or daydreaming.

‘Neuroscience’ has never been a particular turn-on for me.  Being more creative, more powerful and more resourceful definitely is. Do read the book.  I’m going to do some more committed ‘mind wandering’, and encourage clients to do the same.

2 thoughts on “Flowing, creative genius or slave to your ‘executive function’?

  1. Hi Fi,

    Nice blog about these executive functions. Certainly an interesting topic. My partner, being a talent manager for Ernst & Young, works on ways to improve these. Lots of interesting stuff about the influence of nutrition, sleep and stress on these. And about ways to stimulate these functions. Thanks for drawing the attention for the topic.


    P.S.: And obviously a nice place to work you have there

  2. Hi Jeroen, Yes, that’s interesting what you say about increasing executive function – I know these things to be important for me. How often can we repeat these basics with intelligent professional people? Do you have a blog or website? Fi

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