Neuroleadership, 40 Years of Zen Style

by Dr. Drew, 40 Years of Zen

“Very few people achieve this toughness of mind. But all too many are content with the soft mind. It is a rarity to find one willing to engage in hard, serious thinking. There is an almost universal quest for easy answer, and half-baked solutions. Nothing pains some people more than the idea of having to think.”

“The shape of the world today does not permit us the luxury of soft mindedness.  A nation of soft minded men is purchasing its own spiritual death through an installment plan.” – Dr. Martin Luther King, from A Tough Mind and a Tender Heart

 This concept has been in my awareness for some time now and really took root a couple of years ago as my primary focus when I was in private practice.  The issue became how to best address the softness that permeates a majority of the populace and where to start.  Computing, neuroscience and mental performance technologies have come a long ways in the last 50 years since that speech – things that have come together to positively affect the state of mind.  My focus turned to the minds of leaders as they were making decisions that affected many.

I deal with brains and their function.  Monitoring, assessing, and retraining those neurons to function a specific way, making the brains more efficient.  I retrain the electrical patterns of the brain through EEG and the leaders become better at processing and function in a way that is most optimal for stability, mental flexibility and performance. For the last 20 years I have dealt with everything from epilepsy to migraines, attention, depression and concussions to PTSD.

A large focus of my research and training at 40 Years of Zen has shifted to the neuroscience of leadership and creating better leaders by building better brains.  Designing, building and honing the true grit of mind as would be said.

Leaders are in a prime position to propagate their influence and actions to a great many people.  This is why great leaders are needed – leaders with insight, optimism, wisdom, self-mastery, ethical fortitude, resiliency, empathy, and proper adaptable attention.

As I started working with this sphere of individuals what I found on a much larger level was inactive leaders. Or more aptly ‘managers that call themselves leaders’ that steer their agendas with an ineffective mind, caught up in the turmoil of emotional reactivity that shuts down the executive functions and capable decision making abilities of the prefrontal cortex.  They become reactive and ineffective.

Brain maps showed specific areas targeting their lack of insight caused by the neurons locking in phase.   Specific neural networks were being poorly connected because of this or hijacked by other inefficient sections of the brain.  The aspect of illusionary confidence lights up the real time on our screens as the fronto-parietal regions of the brain activate rather than the temporal lobes that reflect an accurate confidence.

When I visit companies I see board rooms filled with bottom lines, decisions that are made in a cold calculating arithmetic fashion – this only activates short term memory areas of the brain rather than having a fully networked brain that is essential for making effective deep wisdom decisions – networks like the ventromedial prefrontal cortex (emotional accountant), anterior cingulate cortex (conflict detector), and the insula (gut interpreter) – without the emotional insight, gross errors of logic are made.  And with this, millions can be affected.  These same boardrooms where conflict of interests run rampant, create a short circuit in brain regions that are critical for decision making.  Whether the interests at hand are conscious or unconscious when making decisions, the brain usually excludes very important information in its calculations in order to sooth these brain regions – this happens without the leader knowing it.  Mergers and acquisitions, awarding contracts, even making laws should have the decision making interest addressed overtly.  The list goes on of maladapted brains making poor decisions…

MLK had it right, without resilience, that mental grit, anxiety hijacks the brain and disrupts the integration of incoming information, factoring risk mitigation, motivation and memory retrieval.   Minds become soft and complacent.  Leadership fails and mediocrity becomes the norm.

But with the proper instruction leaders can be trained to thrive under stress, to operate their brains at peak efficiency and to maintain their calm during those times of peak frenzy rather than go into a reactive spin that undermines their mental abilities and seizes the mind. I have taken an active role in addressing the above and more.

40 Years of Zen offers an Executive Neuroleadership program to a limited number of Mastermind graduates. If you’d like to learn more and find out if it’s right for you, please give us a call at (855) 234 0936.