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Scatterbrain Syndrome – It’s Not Just Multi-Tasking

Scatterbrain SyndromeScatterbrained seems to be a popular topic of discussion these days.  Even on  ski lift last week I heard folks chatting about how distracted they are these days.

Scatterbrain is a sign of the times. It’s not just due to multi-tasking. Although the habit of juggling multiple projects, information sets and communications is certainly a contributor.

Scatterbrain is the result of the constant state of threat we experience from living in our modern world.

I don’t mean full blown survival mode -like when someone with a gun points it at your head. This level of survival mindware is triggered more subtly by the  environment of fear, powerlessness, overwhelm and negative emotions. We can thank the modern combination of media, social media, government, private research and overall uncertainty for this gift.

Stress and Our Modern Minds

Survival mind is an instinct created in our caveman minds. Whenever we are threatened, a chemical is released that triggers survival mode. We immediately focus all of our brain power on identifying the threat or danger.  When we’re able to to identify the threat – we fly or fight.

Cavemen could see the sabertooth tiger that was charging them. They could readily identify their threat and act accordingly.

Not so in our modern world. In most cases, we can’t run, hit someone, or act to eliminate the cause of our stress.* So we get stuck in the stress cycle because we can’t directly identify the specific cause of the threat. It’s out there – somewhere, everywhere, nowhere.

We end up cycling again and again  in our unconscious mindware to find that threat. Constantly sifting through the massive data streams we filter every second, looking for that threat.

We context switch, continually shifting from what we’re working on, what we’re reading and what we’re focused upon in a continuous attempt to find and resolve the threat. Consciously we think we’re simply jumping from task to task.  Unconsciously, we’re seeking the threat.

But as a professional I can consciously change this pattern of behavior through pure will power.

Not really. The triggers are unconscious, the mindware behaviors are unconscious, and  the threat itself is unconscious. Since your unconscious is the master of your conscious mind, we don’t know the real driver behind the scattered thoughts and actions.

That’s why getting out of scatterbrain is not a matter of will power. It’s a matter of understanding our unconscious mind power, knowing how to change our programming, how to de-sensitize the unconscious stress and threats of modern life so that we can step into our full mental acumen.

And that my friends is only one of the powers of neuroscience. We can all shift from scatterbrain to laser focus.

We’ll talk about the impacts of scatterbrain on our businesses and leadership on Wednesday.  Then on Friday we’ll chat about some simple mind exercises to shift our mindware into focused power.

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* When you look around our world, I believe that some of the more aggressive behaviors are the result of just this stress. But that’s another post.

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Rebel Brown guides organizations and individuals to harness the power of their minds to step into their ultimate potential. A masterful agent of change, for over 25 years Rebel Brown has inspired, coached and empowered individuals and businesses to unstoppable performance and results. As a recognized market strategist and turnaround expert, Rebel guided over 200 global organizations to step beyond their status quo perspectives to create profitable market advantage. She also worked with US and European venture firms to successfully fund and launch their portfolios. She also ran a consulting practice in Paris for three years, working with European clients. Fascinated by the power of our human minds to limit ourselves and our business results, she began her study of neural science. Her core question was simple. What could we do if we had no limits? Today, she brings the power of neuroscience to business (NeuroBusiness), fueling limitless thinking that drives powerful bottom line growth for her executive and corporate clients. Rebel’s work has been featured in media including First Business TV, Forbes, Inc, Entrepreneur, Business Insider and Business Week. She is a Vistage International speaker and workshop leader as well as NSA speaker. She’s also been named one of the Top 100 Women in Computing. Rebel is also the founder and director of the Unstoppable U Foundation, a non-profit program committed to guiding kids to know that they are born to be Unstoppable!