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BQ: The Brain Quotient

21 May 2011

BQ: The Brain Quotient

What we know about the brain today and how it affects everything.

At a superficial level we might be able to understand someone else’s brain, as all human brains use the same areas for common functions. However, at a deeper level, the brain is complex. Over time each of us develops their own neural maps based on their life experiences and, consequently these maps are unique and impossible to predict from the outside. As an example of this, how often have you found that giving someone advice doesn’t seem to have the impact you expected. This is most likely explained by the fact that the advice was based on your own life experience and neural maps. In order to bring two or more ‘minds’ togethers, it is essential to develop particular listening, questioning and clarifying skills.

Our neural maps are internal representations of the external world. The maps that make the most sense of the world get the most attention, whether positive or negative. So the more energy we give a neural map, the more ‘hardwired’ it becomes and the more it becomes dominant in our life. This is particularly interesting when we are thinking about a change event; (a new boss, your brother’s new girlfriend, the new car park in town) – do you sometimes catch yourself focusing on what will not work in these ‘new’ circumstances or instead do you welcome change and begin to hardwire what’s working well already and look forward to more change ahead? Your brain’s neural maps are more accepting of the familiar, so it is common to reject change at first. Over time we will replace the old neural map with a new one so that your energy levels are reduced on old ‘familiar’ patterns and increased to focus on making sense of the new patterns and supporting useful behavioral change.


Scans have shown that brain neurons become active in advance of receiving sensory input. We map out how we expect everything in life to occur.  This creates filters, values, beliefs and expectations, which are all hypotheses for how to best operate in our world. It is therefore vital to separate facts from interpretations and check in what the real truth and real current reality is. The opposite effect is to visualize and set goals in order to ignite neurons to pave the way for positive mapping and results.


The brain reacts to social experiences in two ways, it either goes into threat or into reward mode. When it feels threatened, our emotions, behavior, heart rate and many more functions in the limbic system start being activated  – anxiousness, anger, stress, negativity, sadness etc are the results. When in reward mode, the limbic system reacts happy, excited, calm, in flow etc. In order perform at our best, to experience joy, to have insights, to make the best decisions, we must create the right environment for our limbic system to react accordingly. In our social relationships this means paying attention to both intrinsic and extrinsic motivators. This means moving towards a positive limbic experience, whereby we believe we are on the same wavelength, working in partnership, having our voice heard, feeling secure, being inspired, being recognized and acknowledged and feeling equal.


We believe that inspiration, innovation and creativity are the fuel of our new economy. Given the current speed of change and access to information, we need to cultivate more flexibility, more openness and more tolerance to adapt to new emerging ideas. For this, we need to increase awareness about our thinking. When we know that our brain connects millions of metapatterns every second, we will accept that it needs reflection time to experience an ‘insight’, a so-called aha-moment, in other words to get the idea. When that happens, there is a buzz, there is energy, there is a release of tension. In order to have these insights, we need to become more mindful of how we can support our brain’s capability to learn and change. Are you creating enough quiet time to recharge, to declutter and, thus, to energize your brain in order for it to make sense of the increased pace of change all around?

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