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Sims Wyeth

I have heard David Rock speak at the Penn Club in Newark, NJ, and was intrigued by his work.

I do recall one of his points--that we all use our brains differently.

He showed an MRI image of six brains reading the word "Blue" printed in green. Each brain was lit up in a different way. In other words, each person was making sense of the puzzle by accessing not the same area of the brain, but different areas of the brain.

For me, the implication was that we are all so distinct that personality profiling--such as DISC and Meyers Brigss--is barking up the wrong tree.

While it was a dramatic image, (green, red, and yellow patches glowing in random patterns in the structure of the brains)the thought occurred to me that it was no big deal.

If I figure out the simple puzzle using sites x, y, and z of my brain, while you accomplish the same task using sites a, b, and c of your brain, what does it mean?

If the brain is plastic, it could mean that we sculpted our brains to work that way based on our own unique experience.

So, we use our brains in highly personal ways. We are mysteriously and powerfully individual. Unique--each one of us. There's a new thought!

If we think about these findings in terms of the leadership and influence of men, it seems to me the essential skill lies in the ability to read others and regulate yourself.

This takes me right back to Aristotle's rhetoric, which says that a leader needs ethos, pathos, and logos.

Ethos (from which we get our word ethics)means that we need to be trusted by our followers, or by those we seek to influence.

Pathos (empathy) means we need to understand the emotions of others, and appeal to them in our communications.

And finally, logos (knowledge, expertise) we need to know what we're talking about.

Two-thirds of this ancient wisdom focuses on reading and coping with the inner workings of ourselves and others.

Hell is other people. I think Dorothy Parker said that. It's hellish to relate to people who think differently. But it's the journey of self-knowledge we're all on.

What else is there?


Thanks very much for your comment, Sims. As you know, if you read idealawg and also Brains On Purpose, I get impatient with one-size-fits-all measures and methods. I so agree with what you say about uniqueness. Along those lines, I think you would enjoy the book _Brain Sculpture_ by Ian Robertson. He talks about how our brains are scultped as does Jeff Schwartz in _The Mind and the Brain_. I always recommend that people read both of those books. I honestly believe Robertson deserves to be more known than he is.

I think the most important factor in self-knowledge is where we choose to put our attention. And knowing that we have that choice of what we to attend to — so we purposely sculpt our brains. And thus have brains on purpose. The power of attention and choice is addressed here:
Even though that article is written for law students, it has general application. Would love to hear your thoughts.

I think we are expressing similar ideas, just using different words.

Regarding MBTI and DiSC, I am not a big fan of any self-report instrument. (I recently blogged about that here.) I do think they have value when taken in groups to remind people that we are different, but not much else.

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