On this episode we will cover:
✔︎ The importance of making mistakes and failing forward
✔︎ How an understanding of the most current research can improve productivity and results in our schools, sports and workplaces
✔︎ An important ingredient for change to occur
✔︎ A review of past episodes to consider what change you could initiate in your workplace
✔︎ Prepare for our NEXT EPISODE #210 with Dr. Jon Finn the author of The Habit Mechanic.
“You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.”–American architect, systems theorist, author, inventor, philosopher and futurist, Buckminster Fuller
This quote made me think of why we launched this podcast in the first place. Not to fight against all the models that we struggle with in our world today, but to offer solutions like Sir Ken Robinson[i] did with his thought-provoking case of creating an educational system that nurtures, rather than undermines creativity. If you haven’t watched Sir Ken’s TED talk in a while, I encourage you to go back to it (it’s got over 72 million views)—and you’ll see how the concepts he talks about are still as valid today, as they were in 2006. Sir Ken’s TED Talk reminded me that “all children have exceptional capacity for innovation” and that “creativity is as important as literacy” in our schools, but we tend to squander it. I could “ponder deeply” (Greg Link, EPISODE 207) about that for a while, and am always looking for ways to increase creativity and innovation for our next generation of students in the classroom.
Sir Ken said something else that hit me on a deep level on his famous TED talk, as I sat at my desk, listening to his words, knowing that he’s been gone for some time, but he’s not really gone. His legacy lives on as he makes me think about his words and write this episode, making connections to past episodes and speakers, and sharing these thoughts with you, wherever you might be listening to this podcast. With one of his examples, he said “If you are not prepared to be wrong, you’ll never come up with anything original” when he shared a story of a four-year-old who wasn’t afraid to be wrong and then he brought it back to how school teaches us that mistakes are the worst things you can make.
Making me think again–
- Am I afraid of making mistakes?
Not so much anymore, but take me back to 7th grade, being wrong in class (in front of everyone) probably would have prevented me from trying in the future without someone there to encourage the idea of failing forward, which is such an important concept for us to all learn early.
With today’s episode on “The Neuroscience of Change” I’m hoping that we can all take Sir Ken’s advice, and be prepared to be wrong, with the hopes that it somehow moves us forward. Looking back and connecting the many dots over my career, I know I wouldn’t be here today on this podcast if an educator didn’t sit me down in his office, and show me where he thought I was wrong and could improve my work and career path with this understanding of simple neuroscience as the solution. But it did take action on my part without worrying about the outcome. We’ve got to be prepared to be wrong first, Sir Ken reminds us.
- What about you? Do you have ideas that you would like to move forward with—to impact change?
Maybe in your school, or to be used in sports with athletes, or in your workplace? These episodes were created in the how-to format to generate ideas for all of us. I hope we can all ponder deeply about this, think about where we would like to see change, write down some thoughts and ideas, and see if these ideas can take us to somewhere new, somewhere we’ve never been before, as we make connections with the neuroscience of change.
For returning guests, welcome back, and for those who are new here, I’m Andrea Samadi, author, and educator, with a passion for learning, understanding difficult concepts, and breaking them down so that we can all use and apply the most current research to improve productivity and results in our schools, sports, and modern workplaces. Today’s EPISODE #209, on “Using Neuroscience to Inspire Change” we will build off of our last two interviews where we dove deep into why The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People book with Greg Link on EPISODE #207[ii] sold over 40 million copies worldwide, breaking the Covey organization through many obstacles along the way, taking them to where they had never been before not only in North America, but also in Japan, using many of the principles that connects the dots back to simple neuroscience, years before the research could explain their success. Or Blaine Oelkers from EPISODE #208[iii] who showed us how change begins in our mind with “what we think about.” We will continue to stretch our thinking on EPISODE #210 that’s being recorded later next week with Dr. Jon Finn, author of The Habit Mechanic[iv] where he will show us how traditional approaches to being our best are outdated and ineffective and will really take our thinking to new heights when he shares the secret science behind an iconic sporting success, Roger Bannister, who is famous for being the first athlete to run the 4-minute mile, but did you know that Bannister’s secret advantage had to do with the fact that at Oxford University, Bannister was training to be a medical doctor, and he used his understanding of the inner workings of the body to gain a competitive advantage over all other athletes, making his training “more effective and efficient.” (Page 59, The Habit Mechanic).
As we begin this episode, I know there are some things that are very difficult to change and what I’m proposing here isn’t easy at all. Beliefs run deep, and require some serious thought. We covered self-belief and identity on EPISODE #199[v] where we could actually see when our identity and self-belief forms in the brain and that this pathway is strengthened with daily practice (whether it’s through meditation, a sport, or practicing an academic skill) that we learned from Dr. John Dunlosky’s work all the way back to EPISODE #37[vi]. We covered “The Neuroscience of Belief” on EPISODE #173[vii] where we looked at cognitive bias, and challenging our beliefs which is important especially when we follow the most current brain research. I just learned yesterday that something I once believed, is no longer true as new research has already debunked it, and found there is a more effective way. On episode #159[viii], we looked at “The Power of Surprise” and how our brain secretly changes our beliefs, and then EPISODE #146[ix] with Howard Rankin, taught us “How NOT to Think.”
The goal of this episode is not to change your mind, or challenge you to believe what I believe, (that an understanding of how our brain works can lead us all to increased productivity and results) but my goal is to show all of us that hearing those words “you are wrong” can actually lead to innovation, like Sir Ken told us, and to keep an open mind as we are learning. Especially as we move ahead with our interview with Dr. Finn next week, where we will see how the most current research leads to innovation, when we are ready to make change, without the fear of failure, or of being wrong.
Just look at these examples and think about how “being wrong” could possibly move us forward, to uncover a new way.
Right or Wrong? You Tell Me…
If you are in the field of education, you’ll likely be aware of the reading wars,[x] where one camp believes in teaching phonics versus the whole word, and each camp firmly believes in their methodology. I know I could create a presentation for a group of educators and show how an understanding of the science of reading could make you lean towards having more belief in the need to break words down as we are learning them, (and teach the skill of reading with the brain in mind) but this still might not convince a die-hard fan whose taught reading a certain way their entire career. Is there a right or wrong? Just keep an open mind and see if there could possibly be another way to teach a child to read—with the brain in mind.
Like the reading wars, I learned about the “therapy and coaching wars” yesterday, where brain scans that began in the late 1990s now reveal that some of the practices that exist in traditional coaching and therapy are not effective,[xi] as they are not evidence-based. John Norcross, American professor, board-certified clinical psychologist and author in psychotherapy, behavior change and self-help has spent the past 15 years researching what works in psychotherapy, that can be applied to coaching/therapy as well. You can read the links in the show notes of what Dr. Norcross has discovered doesn’t work in therapy or coaching, but I want to focus on one particular finding that he mentioned DOES work and that’s when the client, or student is “self-initiating, self-motivated, and self-aware—with the ability to self-heal.”[xii]
Which brings me back to our EPISODE with Greg Link where he talked about the “secret sauce” of Dr. Covey’s success with the 7 Habits book, and he mentioned that the secret to their success came from the fact that people who attended Dr. Covey’s events were “self-initiating” or they chose to be there. When they were not forced to attend his events, but chose from their own free will, they participated in an entirely different way than if they were told they had to attend. This is what Dr. Norcross noticed made psychotherapy work, and what Dr. Covey also noticed led to personal change with the 7 Habits. There does appear to be a neuroscience to change, and it has to do with “leaning in” to what you what to learn or accomplish.
If you are listening to this podcast, you are also “leaning in” and open to change with the ideas that you are learning. This is how change occurs, one person at a time.
Change in the Classroom:
Scroll through our episodes and see if there are certain ones that stand out to you as interesting, and listen to those ones to generate new ideas for change and innovation in your school or classroom. I can’t list all of them, but do highly recommend EPISODE #56[xiii] with Dr. Lori Desautels on her book “Connections Over Compliance” that rewires our perceptions for discipline in our schools, Greg Wolcott’s EPISODE #64[xiv] on “Making Connections with Neuroscience and SEL,” EPISODE #78[xv] with Dr. David A. Sousa on “How the Brain Learns” and EPISODE #111[xvi] with resiliency expert Horacio Sanchez on “Finding Solutions to the Poverty Problem.”
Change in the Sports World:
If you work with athletes, don’t miss EPISODE #38[xvii] where we connected the daily grind required for success in the sports world to Dr. John Dunlosky’s research of the importance of spaced repetition, or EPISODE #116[xviii] and #121[xix] where we saw how exercise impacts academic achievement, #134[xx] on wearable devices that measure and track sleep, strain and recovery, #163[xxi] on reading the emotions in others, and #166[xxii] on accelerating leadership for success in sports and the classroom. Episode #168[xxiii] with Dr. Bruce Perry and Steve Graner uncovers the importance of teaching and coaching with the brain in mind.
As we prepare for our episode with Dr. Finn next week, on “Fine-Tuning Your Brain to Supercharge How You Live, Work and Lead” and think of new ways to inspire creativity and innovation in our workplaces, without being afraid to make mistakes like Sir Ken reminded us, we will dive deep into the science behind habit building. We will look closely at why some traditional approaches to being our best are outdated and ineffective, with an understanding of cutting edge science to better build our habits, to create higher levels of success in our future.
And like Dr. Norcross pointed out, whatever we are learning today, might change in 30 years as new science is revealed…but that shouldn’t stop us from looking at change through the lens of neuroscience, with the hope that what we can learn can take us to new heights in the meantime.
I hope you enjoy reviewing some of our past episodes, or ones that you find interesting to your field of work, and I’ll look forward to seeing you next week with Dr. Finn that I know will take us ALL to new levels of awareness. See you then!
[i] Sir Ken Robinson TED 2006 “Do Schools Kill Creativity?” https://www.ted.com/talks/sir_ken_robinson_do_schools_kill_creativity?language=en
[ii] Neuroscience Meets Social and Emotional Learning Podcast EPISODE #207 with Greg Link on “Unleashing Greatness with Neuroscience, Trust and the 7 Habits” https://andreasamadi.podbean.com/e/co-founder-of-coveylink-greg-link-on-unleashing-greatness-with-neuroscience-sel-trust-and-the-7-habits/
[iii] Neuroscience Meets Social and Emotional Learning Podcast EPISODE #208 with Blaine Oelkers on “Mastering Your Thoughts, Goals and Life with the WYTAYBA Strategy: What You Think About You Bring About” https://andreasamadi.podbean.com/e/blaine-oelkers-on-mastering-your-thoughts-goals-and-life-with-the-wytaba-strategy-what-you-think-about-you-bring-about/
[iv] Dr. Jon Finn The Habit Mechanic https://www.tougherminds.co.uk/habit-mechanic-overview/
[v] Neuroscience Meets Social and Emotional Learning Podcast EPISODE #199 on “The Neuroscience of Self-Belief and Our Identity” https://andreasamadi.podbean.com/e/brain-fact-friday-on-the-neuroscience-behind-self-belief-and-our-identity/
[vi] Neuroscience Meets Social and Emotional Learning Podcast EPISODE #37 with Dr. John Dunlosky on “Improving Student Success” https://andreasamadi.podbean.com/e/kent-states-dr-john-dunlosky-on-improving-student-success-some-principles-from-cognitive-science/
[vii] Neuroscience Meets Social and Emotional Learning Podcast EPISODE #193 on “The Neuroscience of Belief” https://andreasamadi.podbean.com/e/brain-fact-friday-on-the-neuroscience-of-belief/
[viii] Neuroscience Meets Social and Emotional Learning Podcast EPISODE #159 on “The Power of Surprise: How Your Brain Secretly Changes Your Beliefs” https://andreasamadi.podbean.com/e/dr-michael-rousell-on-the-power-of-surprise-how-your-brain-secretly-changes-your-beliefs/
[ix] Neuroscience Meets Social and Emotional Learning Podcast EPISODE #146 with Dr. Howard Rankin on “How Not to Think” https://andreasamadi.podbean.com/e/expert-in-psychology-cognitive-neuroscience-and-neurotechnology-howard-rankin-phd-on-how-not-to-think/
[xi] Dr. John Norcross on What Does Not Work in Psychotherapy https://www.psychalive.org/dr-john-norcross-work-psychotherapy/
[xii] Psychotherapy Relationships That Work: Volume 2, Norcross & Wampold https://www.oxfordclinicalpsych.com/view/10.1093/med-psych/9780190843953.001.0001/med-9780190843953
[xiii] Neuroscience Meets Social and Emotional Learning Podcast EPISODE #56 with Dr. Lori Desautels on her book “Connections Over Compliance” https://andreasamadi.podbean.com/e/educational-neuroscience-pioneer-dr-lori-desautels-on-her-new-book-about-connections-over-compliance-rewiring-our-perceptions-of-discipline/
[xiv] Neuroscience Meets Social and Emotional Learning Podcast EPISODE #64 with Greg Wolcott on “Making Connections with Neuroscience and SEL” https://andreasamadi.podbean.com/e/assistant-superintendent-greg-wolcott-on-making-connections-with-neuroscience-and-sel/
[xv] Neuroscience Meets Social and Emotional Learning Podcast EPISODE #78 with David A. Sousa on “How the Brain Learns” https://andreasamadi.podbean.com/e/award-winning-author-david-a-sousa-on-how-the-brain-learns/
[xvi] Neuroscience Meets Social and Emotional Learning Podcast EPISODE #111 with Horacio Sanchez on “Finding Solutions to the Poverty Problem” https://andreasamadi.podbean.com/e/resiliency-expert-and-author-horacio-sanchez-on-finding-solutions-to-the-poverty-problem/
[xvii] Neuroscience Meets Social and Emotional Learning Podcast EPISODE #38 with Todd Woodcroft on “The Daily Grind in the NHL” https://andreasamadi.podbean.com/e/assistant-coach-to-the-winnipeg-jets-todd-woodcroft-on-the-daily-grind-in-the-nhl/
[xviii] Neuroscience Meets Social and Emotional Learning Podcast EPISODE #116 with Dr. John Ratey on “SPARK: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain” https://andreasamadi.podbean.com/e/best-selling-author-john-j-ratey-md-on-the-revolutionary-new-science-of-exercise-and-the-brain/
[xix] Neuroscience Meets Social and Emotional Learning Podcast EPISODE #121 with Paul Zientarski on “Transforming Students Using Physical Education and Neuroscience” https://andreasamadi.podbean.com/e/naperville-central-high-schools-paul-zeintarski-on-transforming-students-using-physical-education-and-neuroscience/
[xx] Neuroscience Meets Social and Emotional Learning Podcast EPISODE #134 with Kristen Holmes from Whoop.com on “Unlocking a Better You: Measuring Sleep, Recovery and Strain” https://andreasamadi.podbean.com/e/kristen-holmes-from-whoopcom-on-unlocking-a-better-you-measuring-sleep-recovery-and-strain/
[xxi] Neuroscience Meets Social and Emotional Learning Podcast EPISODE #163 with Dan Hill on “How to Read the Emotions in Others” https://andreasamadi.podbean.com/e/dan-hill-phd-the-faces-guy-on-how-to-read-the-emotions-in-others-for-schools-sports-and-the-workplace/
[xxii] Neuroscience Meets Social and Emotional Learning Podcast EPISODE #166 with Chris Gargano on “Accelerating Leadership for Maximum Results” https://andreasamadi.podbean.com/e/vice-president-executive-producer-of-the-new-york-jets-chris-gargano-on-accelerating-leadership-for-maximum-impact-and-results/
[xxiii]Neuroscience Meets Social and Emotional Learning Podcast EPISODE #168 with Dr. Bruce Perry and Steve Graner on “What Happened to You” https://andreasamadi.podbean.com/e/dr-bruce-perry-and-steve-graner-from-the-neurosequential-network-on-what-we-should-all-know-about-what-happened-to-you/