The Human Brain is a Time Traveler
In the Context of Coaching workshop, the heart of coaching is connecting to what’s important to the coachee, or the
Power of Y. This approach to coaching motivates team members intrinsically by uncovering what is deeply meaningful and is a better predictor of performance success than extrinsic motivators, like money. One concept is uncovering and listening for values and another is asking questions about desired future-state.
In his 2018 New York Times article, The Human Brain is a Time Traveler, author Steven Johnson explains one of the most important discoveries to date about the human brain, “its aptitude for cognitive time travel which is a defining property of human intelligence.” Time travel, or mind wandering, are naturally flowing thoughts about what has been or what could be, and a way of imagining and potentially predicting future state. Unique to humans brains, this process is one of the last to develop in young adults and is the most complex brain function. Captured on PET scans, intense random brain activity during REST, shows relaxation time is often used for reflection and imagining of past and future events. From a Fixed Mindset this can create negative emotions and self-fulfilling outcomes. In today’s fully-wired world, we may not allow regular time for our brain to naturally process by sorting out past learning and dreaming of future possibilities. We may not have learned how to use a Growth Mindset to harness that brainpower. Coaching is one way to support others in taking the time to slow down and think more deeply to accelerate learning and contemplate desired outcomes.
“According to Marcus Raichle at Washington University, it may not be too late to repair whatever damage we may have done to our prospective powers…we can get better at daydreaming, if we give ourselves the time to do it.”
While the article is long, it’s an interesting read: