As we interact with many systems, we play a role in clearing pathways for brighter futures ahead for ourselves, our loved ones and future generations.
How we respond to danger (perceived and real) and WHO we turn to (including ourselves and others) in the midst of uncertainty and threat is one of the most powerful foundations for future behavior and how we process information.
The self-regulating abilities of the people around us during times of distress, dysregulation and danger and uncertainty play a major role in how accurately we predict, prepare for and respond to future situations. The brain perceives these self-regulating abilities through its detection of frequencies and waves emitted by micro-movements from our muscles and bones (in relation to our internal state).**
*all of us have limited information from which we make decisions - we use the best information we have, but the best we have is ALWAYS limited - systems theorists call this bounded rationality
**my book goes ALL into that… fun reading for all you science and neuro-bio-mechanics nerds out there!
Our brains work with statistics and salience*
The data that is collected from observing the people and environments around us build up statistical probabilities. Statistics are based on frequency. How often something happens can build a type of internal working model that builds algorithms to anticipate and prepare for that event to occur again. There is an advantage and disadvantage to this.
In terms of actual threat and danger, this type of preparation, combined with empowering training** and tools, can help us navigate distressing, dysregulating and dangerous situations in ways that are adaptive, responsive, accurate and successful.
On the other hand, if we are not aware of how much our past plays a role in how we perceive our present, we may respond to situations as being more threatening (such as in threatening to our self-esteem, identity, sense of security) than they actually are. This is tied to ‘context sensitivity’, and is especially relevant to social dynamics. Where we may perceive someone’s behavior in ways that get us to react maladaptively and based more on our past than what is occurring now.
Increasing this type of self-awareness is a lifelong process that never ends, and each person we interact with - from strangers, to friends, partners, and parents - gives us a chance to learn how to update how we want to respond.
*Salience is about the emotional significance of an event or stimulus. I’ll be going into these concepts and more in the master seminar I’ll be offering this year.
**see side note below for more on this
Two key words are CRITICALLY important for updating those algorithms...
Those words are WHO and NOW.
WHO you surround yourself with NOW can help update those statistics. If we have histories with people where our perception of ourselves and their perception of us hinders our growth, or that lead our brain to default into activations that feel dysregulating or make us doubt our own potential, we must find ways to surround ourselves NOW with people WHO help activate other types of networks.
Much of this work is internal, but we are a hyper-social species - other people are feedback systems that provide our brain data to build its algorithms and problem-solving, nervous system-regulating abilities.
You, as a human super-learner, have the ability to update your brain’s algorithms by updating the data you allow into your awareness.
With that, I hope you get a chance to join me and like-minded people for a Q & A evening on Thursday May 18 from 6 to 7:30 PM. I will send the registration link this Friday - there will be limited spots, so keep your eye out for the email. Participants will send their questions to me ahead of time so I can compile them into themes.
Make sure to subscribe if you'd like to get registration details!
With Love from Me to You
on a trail in Peru years ago... excited to be building towards my vision of integrating resilience, community, and family with nature, adventures, planning, learning and growth
**A side note on the importance of physical-based, in-person training that focuses on safety, preparation, personal security and adapting to challenges..
While much of my content focuses on neuropsychology, mindset and deeper root causes of maladaptive reactions and behaviors, I am personally engaged in various courses and training that acknowledge the possibility of future challenges, such as for example self-defense courses, first aid training, and other types of planning, preparedness.
In my personal experience and in parallel with my expertise in neurophysiology, this type of physical and safety based training builds powerful algorithms that can help override ‘learned helplessness’ and feelings of insecurity. The neurophysiological mechanism of protecting and defending ourselves against danger is a mammalian, skeleto-muscular response. When we intentionally exercise these mammalian, skeletomuscular processes with teachers and experts, we increase the mind-brain-body’s, perceived ability to cope. Perceived ability to cope is a MAJOR pillar in self-esteem, resilience, and self-regulation.
Because of how much I have already benefitted from what I have learned in these types of trainings, I am committed this year and beyond to continue learning and training in fields beyond neuroscience and psychology, and engaging in communities of people who love learning, who love pushing themselves to new levels of strength and responsiveness. The initial phase of this journey will start in flathead valley MT, and enjoying some of the community I have already met so far, as well as doing several other trainings to help me plant seeds for the next phase of a new way of living and experiencing life that will include much more time outdoors, new adventures, landscapes, and being with a strong community of like-minded, self-empowered people. My next podcast with Two Wolf Foundation will cover some of the topics that are part of building a new chapter of adventure.
Book-writing has been quite a journey so far, and I am so thankful for it. I see my book as a tribute to all of the incredible researchers and experts who devoted enormous time and deep work into their craft and field of expertise. Each section is carefully cited and refers to their work. It’s less of a book ‘by’ me, and more a synthesis of the great minds that have devoted themselves to sharing wisdom that optimizes human functioning and resilience.
When I started facilitating workshops in 2011, I got my first subscribers by passing around a piece of paper for people to sign up for my newsletter. That same newsletter is what you're reading right now! Many of the people from those workshops are still among the several thousand subscribers I have today. It is truly and honor to create content for all of you, here on my blog and in my newsletter and podcast. This type of space & content requires more effort, investment and time on your part than clicking, following and liking - so I don't take it lightly that you chose to enter your email, click on my website, read through these articles, and open messages from me in your inbox!
Whether it's a person or purpose - if it ignites something within your heart, give it your best. You won't be able to devote all of your time to it because so many parts of life need our attention. But give it all of your heart in the moments you do have. And strive to make it a part of your life. Life is short and you may never get another chance.
The journey will be full of mistakes, ruptures and repairs. Keep taking action to help the journey grow in depth, understanding and patience. Find exciting ways to integrate it into your life that allow for freedom and a sense of belonging and home.
Endurance over time gives you stability and fulfillment. Excitement and fascination come from the challenges of venturing into the unknown.
In this world of profit-power-consumerism algorithms, I am grateful to have this space where I do my best to share ideas that I feel may help you with what are currently feeling challenged with. With the warning signals about AI coming from people who are gifted in recognizing patterns and future projections, I believe more of us need to invest in training and learning how to use our mind-body systems (and especially prefrontal cortex) in high-powered, adaptive ways.
I hope you get a chance to listen to my podcast or read some of my articles.
“Whatever you do, you need courage. Whatever course you decide upon, there is always someone to tell you that you are wrong. There are always difficulties arising that tempt you to believe your critics are right. To map out a course of action and follow it to an end requires some of the same courage that a soldier needs. Peace has its victories, but it takes brave men and women to win them.”