Thursday, 12 June 2014
Monday, 28 April 2014
How do we unlock more of our brain's potential?
Pause. Focus. Tool. Time.
As a de Bono Instructor since 1999, and having read all of his books since the early seventies, I would say that I have an inkling about how the brain works and how to utilise its potential. I am going to add to this blog in the next few days with some tips and suggestions, and possibly some new insights for you. Positive and constructive feedback is always appreciated.
Pausing is a simplification process making ready for a fresh beginning
Pausing is a thinking operation in itself. One does not necessarily need a specific reason to pause. You might have an expectation of a new idea that you will attempt to specify. You might want to pause to organise your thoughts. There may be many ideas crowding you on the periphery of your thought vision and you pause to choose what it is you want to think about. You may be pausing to decide which course of action is most important next. You can pause to simply be aware of the moment. Pausing is a step back from possible confusion. Pausing creates space for thinking. The pause is a decision to stop current action. The pause is preparation for the next step. The pause is creating time to think. The pause recognises confidence in the generation of new ideas. We pause to prepare our focus.
Since focus is the most important part of thinking, we often but not always need the pause in order to create the time to focus properly.
The way the brain works as a continuity patterning system is extremely useful for getting things done and keeping things going as they have always been going in the past. Focus is for where we want to go now and in the future. This new focus may be a departure from the past or for a change in the way things are being done. Change alone is often viewed as too difficult to think about because:
Focus defines the topic or subject of our proposed thinking. A person's topic might be: How to develop good thinking skills. The focus may then proceed to: How to find a good de Bono Trainer or What should be my next course of action. This step by step, methodical, approach to thinking lies at the heart of the power of de Bono thinking. Take time to pause. Take time to focus. Create alternative definitions of the focus subject, then choose one focus. Then choose the appropriate thinking tool. Step by step.
- there is a feeling of powerlessness;
- how the brain works is not understood;
- there has been no thinking training;
- there is no understanding of the importance of thinking tools.
Usually, the problems in thinking are confusion and rushing. Even someone who is not confused, who has a crystal clear objective, may have negative values at the heart of her clarity. Wars and battles are fought with crystal clear objectives, but human values have been subverted to the negative value of "winning at any cost". Tools are essential because "values" is one of them. Values don't actually exist in our thinking until we make them real through direct attention. Even though values are intrinsic in our objectives, they need thinking about separately, to make them clear. So, our values should also be spelt out clearly in our focus. If they are not spelt out, we will not be aware of them, and we may be going forward clearly but using old values that belong to the past.
ToolA thinking tool is an operating concept that directs attention. As a car's steering wheel controls direction, so a thinking tool takes the mind where it wants to go. As the steering wheel makes constant adjustments along the way to the destination, so different tools are used for different types of thinking adjustments. For instance, being creative uses specific thinking tools, which can generate short cuts and new ideas; while evaluating priorities and choices uses another type of tool.
The tools are so simple that in training a common reaction is "we do that already in our normal thinking". This was the reaction from a group of Nobel Prize-winners invited to some training, after their initial invitation. Yet, after some training, some of them wrote forewords to Dr de Bono's then subsequent book on thinking.
Although thinking tools can supplement prayer, five minutes of thinking will be more powerful than 10 hours of prayer. Tools produce results while prayer produces hope. Thinking tools can supplement a philosophy or religion, enhancing greater efficiency of the practice and deeper understanding. The religion may become more tolerant; the philosophy more powerful. This is because thinking is the most fundamental process of brain activity.
Having a robust toolbox that is always with you provides that extra confidence of knowing that creativity is not just a talent for specially gifted people, but a skill that can be learned. In training, exercises develop this skill.
The significance of learning thinking tools is that practising them produces thinking skill.
Time is used in a very special way in de Bono Training. There are ways in de Bono Training that help to focus powerful use of the tool, by specifying time periods in advance. Try the link below for more information on thinking courses.