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Welcome back to the Neuroscience Meets Social and Emotional Learning podcast, episode #73 with Chris Manning, Ph.D., who is a distinguished clinical professor of finance, real estate and entrepreneurship at Loyola Marymount University. He has authored and co-authored more than 30 articles published in both academic and professional journals (including the Harvard Business Review), and he continues to serve on the editorial board of the Journal of Real Estate Research.

My name is Andrea Samadi, and if you are new here, I’m a former educator who created this podcast to bring the most current neuroscience research, along with high performing experts who have risen to the top of their field with specific strategies or ideas that you can implement immediately, to take your results to the next level.

Today we have Chris Manning, who co-authored the book Neurowisdom: The New Brain Science of Money, Happiness and Success[1], with my mentor Mark Robert Waldman, and he is the only business professor I know who applies contemplative values and empathetic dialog when working with his Executive MBA students and corporate leaders. It is, in many ways, the psychology of business and work under one umbrella.

Thank you so much for agreeing to come on the podcast and sharing with our audience your knowledge on the brain as it relates to business success.

Chris, I just met you last week on Mark Waldman’s webinar, but I’ve known about you for years, through Mark Waldman. I didn’t know about your interest and vision Wto bring this concept you call Neurowisdom to your Executive MBA students.

Q1:  As simple as possible for our podcast listeners, please tells us What is NeuroWisdom all about?   Answer:

    1. NeuroWisdom is about learning to use your brain better to be more self- aware and self-directed to better achieve your goals and enjoy your life more;Several years ago, Mark Waldman and I published our research findings learned from teaching our Loyola Marymount University Executive MBA NeuroLeadership course in a popular book (that we could also use as a textbook for our graduate level NeuroLeadership course):This book, NeuroWisdom: The New Brain Science of Money, Happiness and Success, has now been turned into an online interactive course


    1. complete with audios and videos to help people learn how to use their own brains better. (I recommend your listeners go


    to check out our new and improved NeuroWisdom interactive online flipbook course complete with audios and videos and also look over our 10 free ebooks on related topics while there.)In essence, our book discusses the practical application of recent Neuroscience discoveries about our brains that can enable a person to learn more efficiently, with less stress and more joy and become more successful (at whatever that means to them whether it be their career, relationships, an advanced graduate professional degree, or merely making more money).

Q2: What are the practical useful applications of recent Neuroscience discoveries that your book explains that our listeners can use every day in their life pursuits?  Answer:

    We call them the “Four Pillars of Wealth” in our book (referring to a person’s search for both “inner and outer wealth”) and they are really more about “How to take advantage of your brain’s natural patterns and tendencies to better learn and achieve things in life”
    While we all often “get in the way” (or “block”) our natural healthy motivations, and our natural abilities to learn and get ahead in the world, our book explains how to accept and take advantage of four natural brain circuits in everyone’s brain that supports our learning and how get what we want in life.

Q3. What are the actual “Four Pillars of Wealth” you talk about in NeuroWisdom and how does each of them help people learn better (faster, easier, and with less stress and more joy) to overcome whatever obstacles get in the way of their success in life?  Answer:

    Pillar #1: Motivation (Desire, Curiosity and Pleasure)Desire and curiosity are what gets us all out of bed in the morning to do anything! When people get stuck living by only this first pillar, and pursuing desire to the extreme (while ignoring what else their brains can enjoy), people become overly selfish and greedy.Educators and business leaders need to encourage and support their students/employee’s natural desire and curiosity to further people’s energy and good health, not block, discourage, or get in the way of this extremely important natural brain function that even releases a dopamine into a person’s body (which is very pleasurable and even a euphoric experience even when only contemplating achieving whatever it is you desire to achieve or acquire).
    Pillar #2: Decision-Making (Goals, Consciousness and Inner Speech)While most educators and employers appreciate the importance of learning and thinking better to make better decisions, few realize the importance of noticing when they are thinking “Positively” vs. when they are thinking Negatively,” and to learn how to control their negative thinking when it creaps in.  Certainly, worry and anxiety over something is natural for everyone, but we not only don’t have to dwell on negative things in our lives, it actually turns out to be unproductive to do so!!!What happens is that when your brain gets caught up on worry, anxiety and other forms of negativity thinking, your higher brain functions (which we are about to talk about) merely shut down (and most people don’t realize that they can’t think well using negative thoughts.We will come back to this at the end after I tell you about the two higher brain functions: Pillars #3 &4 . . .
    Pillar #3: Creativity (Imagination, Intuition and Daydreaming) This is where your brain enjoys “taking a break” from consciously learning, memorizing or working hard. People don’t realize that their best thinking happens subconsciously when you are not concentrating hard on solving a specific problem, but rather when you are relaxed, thinking of something else, asleep, and maybe even daydreaming.  Neuroscientists can now observe using brain scans that a person’s brain is actually more active and working harder when they are relaxed and daydreaming that when you are trying hard to concentrate on something!!  This relaxed brain state is when your intuition and creativity provides a person with their best answers – and it is a very pleasurable experience.  (Thus, daydreaming is an important use of your time to further learning and success!)Think of all the times that people are trying to think harder for longer periods of time attempting to learn something or come up with “the answer.” Forcing yourself or others to do this is really counter-productive.  Resting your brain’s decision-making efforts is not only more productive (and even necessary at times), but it is also enjoyable, reduces stress, builds self-confidence, brings more joy and satisfaction into one’s life as they get to enjoy using their creativity and intuition to easily know “the answer” to something.
    Pillar #4: Social Awareness (Fairness, Empathy, and Generosity)This higher level of brain function that makes learning easier and more pleasurable builds upon our first learning how to, and becoming comfortable with, using the other three pillars of wealth just mentioned.Thus, we should teach people to not fight their natural desire and curiosity about things (Pillar #1), while encouraging people not to dwell on “negative stuff in their life,” but rather use their infinite creativity to look for positive solutions to whatever is causing them to “worry” or “be anxious” (Pillar #2), all while taking frequent pleasure breaks and relaxing from “working hard” on their “decision making” (Pillar #3), so that their awareness (Pillar #4) can enable their intuition to “come to the rescue” to provide the answer sought;By using our self-awareness, our brains are able to “be present” with whatever is going on in our lives and intuitively know the answer to things through a higher brain function called “contemplation.” Being relaxed helps a lot to make this all happen for us.
    In addition, using our self-awareness, our brains can naturally integrate our desires and thoughts so that we realize automatically how important other people are to us (e.g. family, friends, etc.) such that self-awareness naturally evolves within all of us as social awareness (that includes wanting to be fair to others, having empathy for what others are experiencing in life, and even being generous toward others);Just as social awareness naturally evolves from one’s self-awareness, “Enlightened Hedonism” and even spiritual awareness naturally evolves from self-awareness and social awareness (which NeuroWisdom discusses at the end).

Q4: Was there any resistance to these concepts when you first started teaching them to your Executive MBA students?

Q5. Does NeuroWisdom contain any practical exercises that people hearing our Podcast today might be able to practice in order to learn how to use their brains better?   Answer:

    Yes, we have more that 50 specific exercises contained in NeuroWisdom that people can practice – most of which take less that 1-2 minutes for someone to do so they can immediately access the the personal benefit of doing it.Our Executive MBA students at LMU were far to busy to waste their time on meditation or anything that would take them 10-15 minutes to do! Thus, we wrote NeuroWisdom to seduce “busy skeptical people” into using their brains better to accomplish more in life, with much less stress, which enjoying each day.

Q6. Can you give us an example of one of your NeuroWisdom exercises that your Executive MBA students found particularly helpful?  Answer:

    Yes, that would be our “Inner Values” exerciseDo we have time for me to briefly describe for your listeners how to do this exercise themselves and well as the benefits that they will notice right away in their own lives within a week? It will take less than 2 minutes?

Q7. Go ahead and briefly describe for our listeners how they can do your NeuroWisdom “Inner Values” exercise on their own and experience the benefits within a week.   Answer:

    This is what I want your listeners to do each morning when they wake up before they get out of bed to start their day. . . .Relax, take a deep breath, and ask themselves over the next 60 seconds first think in the morning before they get out of bed: What are my deepest inner most values?By merely doing this first thing every morning, our Executive MBA students discover two very important things that improve their lives within a week:      First, that they are subconsciously reminded throughout their normal workday (after they do this exercise) when some rote habit, behavior, or repetitive social interaction is not consistent with the deepest inner most values and they are inspired to change whatever that is to improve their life.Second, when our students get in the habit of doing this exercise over a 10-day period, they begin to notice that their “deepest innermost values” gradually evolve into being even more important values that they want to live their lives by.

Chris,  I do often get asked “how do I know if I’m thinking of a value” and I found it helps to remind people values are like our north stars, and when we are living them, happiness, success, and high performance shows up, and when we are not living them, conflicts and unhappiness shows up. That’s one way to identify values that you want in your life. What would you say to someone who is having a hard time uncovering their innermost values or their north stars?

Chris, I want to thank you very much for your time and all the work you did to prepare for this interview. If people want to learn more about the Neurowisdom book and online version that has the experiential exercises that you spoke about,  they can go to Mark Waldman’s website [4]where there’s a ton of FREE ebooks, tools and resources that take these evidence-based concepts and help us to bring them into our everyday experiences. Thanks so much for your time today.


EPISODE 30 of the “Neuroscience Meets Social and Emotional Learning Podcast” with Mark Robert Waldman on “12 Brain-Based Experiential Learning and Living Principles”

EPISODE 48 of the “Neuroscience Meets Social and Emotional Learning Podcast” on Brain Network Theory: Using Neuroscience to Stay Productive During Times of Change and Chaos

FREE EBOOKS that relate to Neurowisdom


[1]Neurowisdom: The New Brain Science of Money, Happiness and Success

[2] Interactive Version of Neurowisdom

[3] Mark Robert Waldman’s Website

[4] Mark Robert Waldman’s Website