Driving Lessons

Our brains are incredibly powerful. According to Ashley Feinberg's article An 83,000-Processor Supercomputer Can Only Match 1% of Your Brain, “You've undoubtedly heard over and over again about what an absurdly complex entity the human brain is. But a new breakthrough by Japanese and German scientists might finally drive the point home. Taking advantage of the almost 83,000 processors of one of the world's most powerful supercomputers, the team was able to mimic just one percent of one second's worth of human brain activity—and even that took 40 minutes.”

Given how our brains are able to handle such a high level of speed and complexity, it seems that learning how to control our brains would be important. Sadly, teaching children and adults how to use their brains well has not been a part of the school system until recently.

I liken this lack of 'brain training' to driving a Lamborghini on a windy, mountain road without knowing how to drive. Careening off the road is par for the course when you're moving at a high velocity, you have an engine that is extremely powerful, and there are no guard rails. Imagine how much better it would be to develop basic skills about how to handle your Lamborghini before you drove on mountain roads.

The self-talk we engage in throughout the day is one way to begin to train our brain so that we can stay on the road. The negative self-talk that most people hear ad nauseum is tantamount to careening off the road. It is well worth developing a new habit, learning how to speak to and with your self (or selves—all those internal characters) in a positive manner. Positive self-talk is the surest way to keep your Lamborghini on the road.

A teenager, plagued by internal voices that say he isn't good enough, is learning to address those voices head on, find out what they are trying to protect him from, tell them that he no longer needs their protection, and that he is ready to take risks.

A twenty-something whose negative thoughts lead him into depression, withdrawal, and anger is starting to build the 'angel' muscle by engaging in credit-taking, which is like learning to drive in a parking lot before going out on the road.

A young professional in her thirties who's been working with the characters at her round table for more than a year is able to transform the negative reactive voices by changing her dialogues. Now an angel character appreciates the value of these negative characters; the nay-sayer, chicken little, the evaluator, and more. She brings in loving kindness, and then, finally, a different perspective that uses reason and logic.

Even though the negative voices do so much damage, remember that they are not 'bad' but really fallen angels who are trying to protect you. If you appreciate them for that, it goes a long way.

The practice this week focuses on language you can use to transform negative self-talk.

Judith Bell, M.S., Master LHEP™

Judith Bell, M.S., Master LHEP™

Judith is the founder and president of Rewire Leadership Institute®. A master facilitator, consultant, teacher, and coach, she has created and facilitated personal growth, team development and organizational change seminars, coached executives and teams, facilitated strategic planning and high visibility meetings, and supported culture change for over four decades. Judith works with a diverse range of companies from government agencies, non-profit, Fortune Global 500, to small and mid-sized family owned businesses including such organizations as NASA, Seaflow, Total Oil, Restoration Hardware, San Antonio Water System, and Culver Company.

Superb at supporting individuals, pairs, and teams in developing the skills necessary to realize their full potential, Judith helps executives, managers, and staff gain the ability to respond flexibly and rapidly to their changing environment. Through extensive experience and research, she utilizes a number of different approaches including the FIRO theory, systems theory, cybernetics, neuroscience, cognitive, positive, and success psychology.

As one of the world’s leading experts on the FIRO theory, she trains consultants internationally. A consultant’s consultant, Judith mentors facilitators, coaches, therapists and other professionals in the integration of the FIRO theory in their work. From 1981 until 2004, she worked closely with Dr. Will Schutz, the creator of FIRO theory. Independently, Judith developed FIRO Theory Profiling, which has been lauded as the first innovation in the FIRO theory instruments aside from Dr. Schutz’ own developments. She continues to develop courses that synthesize her studies and experience and are based in FIRO theory.

Starting in her teenage years, Judith has been a pioneer in her passion for authenticity, clear communication, and positive change. She is lauded for her ability to see others’ potential and help them realize it—be they individuals, pairs, teams, or organizations. Judith’s zest for life, appreciation for others, and generosity of spirit inspires those with whom she works.

An honor’s student at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, Judith’s desire and passion to learn about authenticity motivated her to move her studies to The Institute for Creative and Artistic Development (ICAD) in Oakland, California. As the youngest student in their teacher training program, she created and graduated with an undergraduate degree that focused on authenticity through California State University, Sonoma. Continuing on her quest to study authenticity and creativity, Judith began taking courses at California State University, Hayward where she also created and graduated with a unique Master’s degree that focused on communication, transformation, and the creative arts.

Interested in systems and change, Judith began experimenting with her innovative action-oriented approach to assess and intervene with families, groups, and organizations. Through this work, she became a much sought-after instructor, training masters and doctoral students in her seminal work. As chair of a psychology program focused on Creative Arts Therapies at Antioch University, San Francisco, she developed curriculum and continued to serve as guest faculty and lecturer at universities nationwide.

In addition to leading Rewire Leadership, Judith and her husband, Daniel Ellenberg, co-founded Relationships That Work®, where she serves as Vice President. She and Daniel co-authored Lovers for Life: Creating Lasting Passion, Trust, and True Partnership, which applies the principles of Rewire Leadership Institute® to romantic relationships. Recently, they co-authored a chapter in Mastering the Art of Success: Volume 8. With Matt White, Judith recently co-authored Leading with Courage.

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