If there is no survival fear to drive us, what would then motivate us to accomplish goals? If we were not feeling inadequate, would we be driven to achieve? My response was that we have other options that are healthier and more effective and efficient than driving ourselves mercilessly. Based upon my experience as having once lived fully embracing the survival of the fittest paradigm as the way life is, I no longer buy into this.
Authenticity implies uniqueness. It’s an intersection, an integration of one’s heart and mind. It is not a one-size-fits-all proposition. So why do we think that male bodies all think, feel and act the same? Why are ‘women’ supposed to behave like (fill in the blank). Can you honestly, if you are a woman go up to another woman and say, Hey, I think, feel and act just like you, because I’m a woman too! Hahaha that’s ridiculous!
Be YOU, Magnificently. The journey to aligning with these three simple words has been paradoxically one of my greatest challenges! What began with the grounding of my branding message from idea to form turned into what has felt like a testing of my courage and commitment to my life purpose. I had no idea really of just how much armor I was still carrying around my heart when I first decided upon choosing these three words for my tagline a few years ago. Talk about living into your brand ! I must say it’s not been easy yet it’s been soooo worth it. If I never share my decades of lessons learned from my ‘shero’ life journey, which includes my professional/business journey, my own personal development has greatly benefited.
Does leadership really have a gender? Is leadership really, male or female? As a female, am I stuck with certain behaviors just because I’m female? I think not. Can we start moving our conversations on leadership BEYOND gender? Many people incorrectly believe that leadership style is determined biologically by one’s gender, as exemplified by business conversations in the media on Male Leadership versus Female Leadership comparisons.
People are doing a lot of talking, texting and technology !but are they feeling heard? Better yet, do you feel heard? While at one time the masses of people may not have been able to speak their truth as we were gagged and bound it seemed by the media control that allowed access for an elite few or those with sizable enough bank accounts to bankroll one’s message or agenda.
Early on in my medical practice I was a bossy boss. After finishing my medical training, I immediately began plans to open my own office. During that time of my life, I was a very driven, self-centered person. I was driven to prove myself via achievement and goal setting, and enough was never enough. After achieving my medical degree and training ahead of schedule, I charged directly into opening my new medical practice without skipping a beat.
Living with purpose – on purpose, requires clarity of values, what matters to you. To perform at your best you need to make conscious choices about what really matters to you. Without a definite purpose it is all too easy to be distracted by the latest greatest thing. It requires a decision to focus yet at the same time having an open mind to filter through relevant insights, information and opportunities. It requires an expanded vision to live an inspired and creative life.
This will require not only a higher level of self-awareness, but also mental agility. Adaptability. Confidence. It is not likely to be the most popular way of living as unfortunately, the masses of people live overcrowded or externally directed lives. Unfortunately, Henry David Thoreau’s words still ring true that,
The mass of men live lives of quiet desperation
Meaning can’t be found outside of ourselves until we go within to feel into our heart – our passion. With all the fear and noise around us, we have to find our passion, which is likely to be buried under a mound of negative feelings. We can intentionally shift from worry, anxiety and mediocrity when we make up our minds – and heart – to do so. Sometimes we can’t find our passion unless we actually acknowledge, what really makes us angry? Not in a self-righteous way, but in a way that shows concern for a cause greater than just us.
We will have to ask some questions if we want new answers, questions such as,
1. Where do I want to go, to experience? Why?
2. What do I really want?
3. Can I envision it in my mind’s eye?
4. Can I communicate it !to myself?
5. Who or to what cause do I want to serve?
Neuroscience and gender bias was the subject matter of a presentation I attended the other day. It has become very apparent to me that there is much reciting of research going around without much thought to its implications. Granted we are all evolving and we are always growing, which is why I do not cling to my viewpoints around scientific research. I do tend to trust my experience first if I have to choose, I will say. This has served me well, as though I have formal background training in neuroscience, I stumbled into my personal experience of transformation before there was any research available.
This allows me to integrate the science with my empirical experience, and it has been quite useful. It is due to this experience that I see so much inherent bias in the most recent round of myths being perpetuated surrounding neuroscience and gender. To get to the point I will share one example from the presentation. I will preface this by saying that the speaker was only repeating what she read from research materials, so I do realize this. Nonetheless, this research is full of assumption and bias. One simple example would be the following.
She gave the data/numbers from a study that compared the differences in gray versus white matter in the brain between men and women to imply there was biological difference. What was the point? Was it for medical reasons? No, it was for cognitive comparison. Anyway it was stated that men have 6% more gray matter – which was attributed to greater ability to be analytical – while women were found to have 10% more white matter – with the conclusion assuming that this meant women are better at multi-tasking and putting together the pieces into context. Does this sound familiar?
Only now we are using neuroscience to attempt to assign cognition to biology once again. It’s like saying that, Men’s brains are 10% larger than women’s to imply that perhaps men are more brainy? I’m really not sure what this is supposed to mean, but what is always left out is the fact that men’s bodies are at least 10% larger then women’s on average, so of course their brain should be 10% larger. What does this have to do with capability? Now, here’s the blatant and so obvious-to-me problem with this line of reasoning !.
Social conditioning, culture and experiences mold our brain. This is now scientific, objective fact. It is also my personal experience. Hence, there is a built in bias when comparing random sampling of men and women, since socialization influences occupation and normal gender-based behavior. This has a gigantic influence on gender behavior and experiences. In fact, be careful what you buy into.
What you believe affects your experience !which affects your brain.
Where is your mindset? Where is your Mind set? Our mind can have a set point. Carol Dweck, a Stanford researcher has a book called, Mindset, that addresses research involving behavior and one’s flexibility in one’s willingness to grow and change. She called the willingness to consider new ideas and growth as a growth mindset and a mindset that knows it all, and avoids change as a fixed mindset.
I’m happy to see the change in conversation happening. Not many years ago, before I even heard of Carol Dweck, when trying to use the word mindset people looked confused and it felt like I was speaking a foreign language. The fact that it’s become a common word in online and offline conversations speaks to our culture’s evolution in thinking. We still have other paradigms that need shifting of course, as growth and evolution is a continuous process. Just starting to recognize that change is constant is a big step in the right direction.
Those who continue to deny that change is happening and fight against it, will continue to struggle as trying to stop life’s evolutionary process is really an exercise in futility and will wear you down. History is full of examples of how people fought ideas like the following when their times were evolving, ideas that we now take for granted:
1. The earth is not flat
2. The earth is not the center of our universe/galaxy
3. Airplanes can fly
4. Cars can replace horses and buggies
5. Cell phone can not only exist but also can work without wires
Notice number five. In my own lifetime, I’ve seen the arrival of the cell phone and have watched them evolve. Do you realize that if a person from just a hundred years ago suddenly showed up now how totally shocked they would be to see our social progress? These outer changes are merely a reflection of our inner mindset changes and shifts.
Our outer world does not just suddenly appear. Someone somewhere had to think differently.
I believe brain researchers (neuroscientists) have good intentions when they make blanket statements about other people’s beliefs to be right or wrong. Some of them probably believe their expert status enables them to make broad and sweeping declarations on behalf of all of humanity – I suppose. I believe, the belief that an expert gets to set the rules for what is right or wrong is a type of perceptual bias in itself. Just to be clear, there needs to be context when judging right and wrong anyway, since the situation or circumstance can make a huge difference. Life is just not black or white.
In fact, science is full of bias. Just read history !or your current online copy of a variety of current research studies. Can we just get comfortable with the facts of life? Life is not neat and predictable. Everyone, including myself, filter what he or she sees and experience through their own biased lens. The best we can ever do is to continue to raise our self-awareness so that we can be more in the moment to make our own choice as clearly as we can. Simple as that. It is not black or white, objectivity.
My bias is that I don’t believe a scientist, researcher or anyone else can determine objective results 100% of the time. It’s easy when we are referring to mechanistic, physical objects. For example, if we as human beings have agreed that the color red looks like !red ! and then we see a red apple, one can argue that another is right or wrong if the color is called purple. That’s what standardized tests attempt to do. Teach people what to think and then test them on it.
Yet, somewhere back in time, red was made up and we all agreed upon it and generation after generation it was taught to children this way. It’s called, language.
What I have trouble with is when I see articles from scientists saying, for example, we (people) see patterns where there are none. Oh, none to whom?