The only certainty is uncertainty!

The brain is a prediction machine – it is constantly taking in information and making sense of it to predict what this means for the next moment or beyond. It is why we like solving puzzles – making certainty from uncertainty.

The prefrontal cortex determines if we are in control of a situation and research has shown that the feeling of being in control (to some degree) is essential to our wellbeing. Finding some way to have choice has an impact on the brain and if we can “reframe” a situation so that it seems like we have a choice it benefits us by giving us a feeling like reward.

As you may know – I am reading David Rock’s book “Your Brain at Work” and every chapter seems to have another nugget which I can share with other  trainers/facilitators. So the blog from last week about emotions made me realise that we should neither suppress emotions nor endlessly go on about them if you do not want them to overrun.  This can help to develop emotional intelligence – the ability to control our emotions in an effective way.

So if we have uncertainty – what do we do with it?

Reframing (or cognitive reappraisal as it is called!) – is about looking at something in a different way and in this case, because we know that uncertainty can affect our wellbeing we need to find ways to reframe those “uncertain” moments that may cause us (or our delegates) anxiety.

So let’s imagine in a training set-up, you accidentally slip up and tell the delegates that they are going to have to do a role-play. Some people view this as “just another activity” whereas others are catapulted into an absolute spin. These are the ones that feel that they have no choice, they may be feeling that anxiety of losing control of their emotions, struggling to calm their nerves.

So, as the facilitator we give them a choice: you can be part of the role play or you can be an observer. You can ad-lib or read from a script? Once we give them the choice, they have a sense of reward and you can reframe the activity -it’s an observation or reading from a script rather than a true role-play.

Is this just playing with words? Absolutely and as an NLP practitioner, I have learnt the absolute power that words can have. Those of you who still believe that words are only 7% of a message and that tone of voice and body language make up the rest of the message, need to watch this video:

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