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Curse Of The SuperBrain

27 April 2009 No Comment

Sometimes I wonder if our lightning fast brains are a blessing or a curse.

Obviously, when I talk about ‘lightning fast brains’ I’m not talking about me here, but about everyone else!


And, yes, before anyone points it out, I am well aware the title of the post sounds like the name of a 50’s B movie.

Our awesome brains

The human brain is really quite incredible, allowing us to process complex information and create thoughts in a flash. Depending on your beliefs, it’s either the result of millions of years of evolution or of an utterly brilliant (even omnipotent) creator.

Either way, it’s a pretty awesome thing!

Consider some of these amazing feats:

  • Out of nothing we create concepts, ideas, stories and images
  • We not only remember stuff from long ago, but can also recall it in a split second
  • We can peer into the future and, to some extent, predict what will happen
  • Faced with danger, we can quickly analyse it and leap into action and away from the problem
  • We can take a complex and abstract opportunity or problem, and work out a solution.

Our intelligence has catapulted us to the top of the food chain and given us the capacity to manipulate our world in truly amazing ways.

We don’t always combine intelligence with wisdom, but that’s another story!

Jumping to conclusions

With that super-fast processing speed comes a drawback – we have a tendency to jump to conclusions. At least I know I do!

I take in a small amount of information and process, interpret, analyse, categorise and conclude on it in before I’d had a chance to really think about it. I do it so fast I’m often not aware I’m doing it, let alone of the consequences.

It can be really helpful, of course, to react fast and to categorise things. In some situations it might even save my life!

Stepping into an apparently empty street only to be greeted by a very fast moving bus coming towards me, I want to have quick reactions. I want to process the information and categorise the danger fast enough to still have time to get out of the way.

The nature of these type of situations are usually more or less fixed and predictible, so my lightning fast brain is a real asset.

People are people

People, on the other hand, are neither fixed nor predictible. They are far from rational and defy any attempt to pigeon hole or label them. My super-speed grey matter is rather inadequate when it comes to fellow members of the human race.

There can be unfortunate consequences of jumping brain first into a ‘person situation’.

Maybe you’ve experienced some of these – I know I have!

  • Acted on a first impression of someone only to be disappointed (or pleasantly surprised) when they prove different to what you thought
  • Argued until you’re blue in the face when you were 100% certain of something, only to embarrassingly discover you were 100% wrong
  • Believed an unexamined prejudice and treated someone differently because of skin colour, religion, gender, age, profession, position of authority.
  • Made a quick decision in response to an invitation only to change your mind later (or wishing you could)
  • Opened your mouth and heard words coming out you just knew were completely inappropriate to the situation but your brain was faster than your lips
  • Angrily reacted to what someone said, only to realise they didn’t actually say what you thought you’d heard them say.

Developing heart and gut

With people, I’m much better off developing trust in my gut intuition and my heart than relying on my thinking. I want to relate to people at a richer, deeper level than purely my thoughts about them.

And I want people to do the same with me.

If I’m able to learn how to relate to people without judging, labelling or analysing I think life is more rewarding.

All it requires is taking my foot off the accelerator (gas pedal) linked to my brain!

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