Neuroscience, Neuromarketing and Building the Business.

Updated: Feb 5, 2021

Notes on my Entrepreneurial Journey. Influences on the work.

Brain image formed with a series of chronological clocks.
Clock Brain Photo Courtesy of Canva By wildpixel

My focus is divided between two competing and interconnected businesses. The membership site ties directly to my course called Imagine Action. The video training course is complete and I’m about to launch it. Three elements contain the core of the product, but the video course occupies the center.

The speaking business is different by context, as it focuses on team performance and uses historical and cultural references, like the Beatles Hamburg residency as an object lesson. I am dividing my time in a way that I would likely tell someone else not to do. I must make an adjustment, but I love both topics. Still, both are evolving.

I would suggest Periodization – the practice of concentrating on one skill among interconnected skills almost exclusively during a stretch of time to optimize it. We used to deploy this at work all the time. I always think of cyclists and how they deploy the practice to great effect in Tour de France training.

During an extended training cycle, a cyclist will emphasize any of the three primary skills in road cycling: endurance (long rides), speed (sprinting, time trials) and mountain climbing. Near the end of the training cycle, a road warrior would put all three together. Training sessions in advance of the Tour became stuff of legend for many a cyclist, including our fallen hero Lance Armstrong.

Of course, athletic endeavors are not the only province of periodization. I would ask my teams to focus on one element of a sales process, for example, or in operations, we would focus on developing one of three primary skill sets at a time, to groove the fundamentals and create mastery.

The term groove is not coincidental. I’ve also got neuroscience on my mind and neural mapping, in particular. Having discovered Dr. Michael Merzenich, Dr. Antonio Damasio and Dr. Norman Doidge and their respective books, (Soft Wired, Descartes’ Error and The Brain That Changes Itself,) I have a great appreciation for the advancements of neuroscience and brain plasticity.

Our brain’s ability to learn in ways beyond what we believed even 50 years ago is astounding.

A quick digression, if you want to read a truly inspiring story of a relatively unknown hero, check out the life story of Paul Bach y Rita. Norman Doidge tells parts of his story in the book noted above, The Brain that Changes Itself. Incredible.

Ironically, and I hope not diminishing of the scientists mentioned above, I read a fascinating work, Neuromarketing, by Patrick Renvoise & Christopher Morin that opened my eyes. Their focus centers on how marketers use the discoveries of how the brain makes decisions to their benefit. In the first chapter he covers the new, middle and old brain. One of the elements he discuses that really caught my attention and made me think back to all the change efforts I’ve worked on over time had to do with the interaction of the three parts of the brain and segments them in this way: the new brain thinks, the middle brain feels, and the old brain decides. '

Hence, influencing the decider, the old brain, becomes key to how to influence ourselves. The authors outline six primary effective stimuli on the old brain. It made me think about how people make decisions in their own lives around changes they want to make, goals they want to achieve. If a marketer can influence your mind, can’t we do it ourselves? Is that too self-referential, or in the words of young gamer, meta?

Here are the six stimuli the brain responds to:

1. Self-Centered – apparently the old brain is completely self-centered. Survival Instincts.

2. Contrast –the old brain, the part that developed evolutionarily first, appreciates the clear distinctions embodied for example, in good v evil, up v down, black v white.

3. Tangible Input. The old brain likes evidence. Avoid the use of fancy words as well.

4. The Beginning & The End – no wonder anyone who ever had to present in class benefits either from first or last position to make an impression.

5. Visual – highly responsive to visual cues. Instagram anyone?

6. Emotion. A great quote from Dr. Damasio: “We are not thinking machines that feel, we are feeling machines that think.”

In a nutshell, the reason I called the program Sugar High Motivation can be highlighted in this paragraph in Neuromarketing: “We have over 100 billion neurons in the gray matter of our brain. The cells are not that extraordinary on their own. But when we experience an emotion like sadness, anger, joy, or surprise, a cocktail of hormones floods our brain and impacts the synaptic connections between our neurons, making them faster and stronger than ever before. As a result, we remember events better when we have experience them with strong emotions.” I italicized the section for emphasis.

Incidentally, the program really focuses, as I have mentioned before, on how to create lasting change after the initial sugar high of emotion wears off. Still, there is a clear fulcrum in connecting will power to process to action in an effective way.

The science on brain plasticity likely validates some prior work, like that of NLP, as much as it reveals new and extraordinary ground as it relates to learning. Having said that, how we leverage emotion to create the positive change in our lives, lies as a question at the middle of the program.

Ironically, I’m in a new space right now, trying to figure out how best to create, market and sustain my own business. My own learning curve is vertical. And nearly everything I focus on teaching and coaching right now, bears a serious reflection to precisely what I’m learning – especially how it relates to the process of learning new stuff, like mastering online software, creating new websites, deploying various marketing techniques, writing a blog and publishing. I don’t teach how to do those things; I focus on how to accelerate your goal achievement by leveraging change techniques and habits.

In this series of posts, I’m looking to document the journey over the next two to three months and connect it to the process. I’m also going to document one minute briefs – I titled them, Walk with Me A Minute, on YouTube and Instagram.

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