Breaking the hold of your brain

Believe it or not, your brain is an evil dictator, often forcing you to behave, write or create in a predictable manner. So how do you break the brain's hold on your creative work?

One of the most important lessons I learnt while studying art was the need to untrained and retrain the brain from it's preconceived, past experience icons and phrases.

Even though it was an art exercise I have used it time and time again to help with writing or any other situation where I seemed to have a 'mental block'.

Brain symbols 

So what is brain symbols? The eeriest way to explain it is to ask you to draw a tree. Go on draw one then come back.

The chances are you drew a tree that consisted of two lines for the trunk and a circular shape for the leaves. What you drew is the symbol your brain sees as a tree, the 'icon' if you want, for the part of your brain that deals with trees.

Now if I show you a picture of a tree and ask you to draw it, your brain will keep trying to force your hand to draw the icon of a tree causing frustration and making you believe you can't draw.

It works the same with a message or any piece of writing. The brain would rather regurgitate past messages than try to form new links and new messages.

The problem gets worse the longer you have been exposed to s certain message. Eventually you will convince yourself that this is the only possible message that can be told. And even worst is that you believe this is the message people want to hear.

Breaking the hold of the brain: Change perspective.
Ok so how do we go about it? Well in art you change your perspective, you turn the subject upside down and suddenly your eyes can't tell your brain what it's looking at, the brain can then not force the hand to draw the icon.

With writing change the perspective of the writer. Try writing from the readers point of view, someone who has never heard about your subject. Someone who does not know the buzz words.

How about trying to write it so that a 10 year old can understand the message?

Please keep in mind these are merely exercises to help unlock the message that resonates.

Breaking the hold of the brain: Segmentation
Most of the grand masters use to fool their brain by segmenting their subject. They used a number of techniques. My favourite involved a wooden frame and wire creating s grid, they will then draw each part of the grid ignoring the rest of the image.

When writing, start anywhere but the beginning. Find the spot that resonates the most and write away, then move on to the next part that feels natural. You can always come back later and rewrite the bit you started with.

This is one of my favourite techniques, as I personally tend to see certain parts of the writing before I see the whole. For example writing this post I started with "clearing the attic" below.

Breaking the hold of the brain: Clearing the attic
Wonderful as the brain is, it can be a right pain at times. It will fight and distract you with thoughts and ideas that is not useful for what you are currently trying to achieve.

So just go with it but give it a bit of structure, draw or write everything out. No matter if it is relevant or not, the idea is to get the junk cleared out of the way so that you can get to the good stuff thats locked away in the brain.

People are often taken aback when in planning meetings I clear out the brain first with often ludicrous ideas. However 9 times out of 10 ludicrous ideas leads to a conversation or an idea that becomes a communal work of genius.

There are so many techniques that can be used and I'll update this posting as time goes by.

What I really just want, is that you have a look at your writing and see if it is truly the best you can do, or is it just a rehashed message because the brain refused to relent it's past experiences and writing

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Are you listening?

The hotest question and one fo the most important questions in Social Media

We are the so called social media strategists, planners, managers and *shudder* experts...

But have you really ever stopped to think, to observe?

Let me challenge you to a little exercise in Empathy.

 Next time your in a crowd, preferably a bustling crowd like at a train station.

Stop and look around you, see the people... hear the people...

Each and everyone of them has a life, they have dreams, aspirations, needs, wants, insecurities, pain, heartache, love.

Each one unique...

Yet part of the crowd...

These are the people we reach out to, these are the people we engage with.

Now go back to your strategies and your focus groups and ask yourself the question: who is the focus of the strategy, the business or those people in the train station?

And if your answer is: "the business", you have failed before you have even started.