HOW TO MASTER THE OPPOSING SIDES OF YOUR BRAIN
PEOPLE ARE OFTEN PROMOTED FOR THEIR ANALYTIC ABILITY, BUT THEY MAY LACK THE PEOPLE SKILLS NEEDED TO BE A GOOD MANAGER.
How do you go from one to the other? Jack recommends participating in activities that force you to engage in in-depth understanding of someone who has a different point of view than you.
“A good manager in an organization understands each job in the organization,” he says. This involves what kinds of lives everyone in the organization is living. Instead of focusing on whether or not your team members will hit their performance goals, find out the path they need to take to perform at their highest potential and if there’s anything standing in the way of their success.
While the ability to switch fluidly from one neural network to the other is a valuable skill for managers to have, it isn’t healthy for both to be coactivated. Jack explains there are only a few instances when both networks are simultaneously activated.
One instance occurs in unhealthy competitions where you’re just so focused on winning, you’re basically manipulating everyone else around you. “[In this situation], you don’t care about the people you’re interacting with,” says Jack. “You’re just trying to outthink them.”
Another time the two networks are commonly coactivated is known to be related to many different mental disorders, including schizophrenia and manic depression.
“The main signature of psychiatric mental disorder all relates to, does your default mode network talk to each other the way that we see in a healthy brain? Does it turn off the other network when it comes on and get turned off by the other network?”
Interestingly enough, very creative people tend to have less of a suppressive relationship between the two neural networks than less creative, mentally stable people.
Jack explains: “What’s really fascinating about that is that it’s long been observed that [creative] individuals and the families of the individuals who are highly creative tend to be prone to mental illness at higher rates than the normal population.”
“The most stable brains have a lot of suppression between those two, but if you don’t have suppression, it may lead to some very, sort of valuable, unusual qualities, but it may also lead to mental instability.”
Jack adds: “Creativity which has often been categorized as when logical constraints come together with emotions, which kind of broadly fits the two networks as well. So we know that the moments of creativity insights involve coactivation of the two networks.”