The Australian Hemp Lobby was given a mixed result today, when Australian State and Federal Health Ministers announced the legalisation of hemp seed with no or very low THC levels as a food for sale in Australia, but maintained the prohibition of the use of other parts of the hemp plant as a food or supplement.Ministers met on Friday after receiving a recommendation from Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) and the findings of a Swinburne University of Technology study showing that the consumption of low THC hemp seeds provided no risk to road safety.Hemp seed food producers must ensure that products made from or containing hemp seed make no claims using the words, marijuana, cannabis, cannabinoid, cannabidiol (CBD) or THC, or infer that consumers can get high from their products or receive medicinal cannabis style therapeutic benefits.This decision maintains Australia’s obligations under the United Nations Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, and is consistent with Medicinal Cannabis regulations, as hemp seed is specifically exempted from the convention. CBD remains a Schedule 4, and THC a Schedule 8 Narcotic in Australia and as such are prohibited to be sold as foods or nutritional supplements.
Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) has approved Proposal P1042 to legalise Low-THC Hemp as a Food in Australia and New Zealand, and now awaits the results of a study on the effects on roadside drug testing, due late April. Health Ministers in Australia and New Zealand then have 60 days to notify FSANZ whether they intend to ask it to review its decision or not, and will meet on April 28th to consider their decision.Should the Australian Government accept the recommendation, foods made from hemp seed or hemp oil will be legal for human consumption and sale in Australia. Long considered a super-food, hemp oil can be processed to make a protein rich flour and used as a substitute for wheat products.However, recent announcements in the media about the creation of a Hemp Hub in Geelong, Victoria and millions of dollars of investment by the sector into equipment and facilities may be premature, as representatives of the Office of Drug Control (ODC) and TGA recently commented in a public meeting that until the UN signals its approval of Low THC, high CBD Hemp Foods, they will remain prohibited here.Australia has an obligation as a signatory to the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs 1961 & 1972, to not move in advance of changes to this schedule. Hemp is part of the Cannabis family of plants and therefore every part of the plant is covered by the convention (except for industrial or horticultural use). The difficulty comes when low THC Hemp is touted as significantly different to low THC Cannabis, which it is not. Hemp is the term used to describe the sub-species of cannabis used for industrial purposes, generally a taller and more fibrous plant. To produce the proposed hemp foods a shorter version of the plant would be bred, higher in CBD oils, which is exactly the same as low THC Medicinal Cannabis.Consumption of any part of the plant as a medicine is permitted under the same stringent licensing conditions that were announced in Australia in February 2016 for MedicinalCannabis. Furthermore the total amount of hemp foods produced made from extracted oils would have to be included in Australia's Annual Narcotics Estimates to the UN.The obligation of a signatory include the following:"Article 36 PENAL PROVISIONS 1. a) Subject to its constitutional limitations, each Party shall adopt such measures as will ensure that cultivation, production, manufacture, extraction, preparation, possession, offering, offering for sale, distribution, purchase, sale, delivery on any terms whatsoever, brokerage, dispatch, dispatch in transit, transport, exportation of drugs contrary to the provisions of this Convention, and any other action which in the opinion of such Party may be contrary to the provisions of this Conventions shall be punishable offences when committed intentionally, and that serious offences shall be lable to adequate punishment particularly by imprisonment or other penalties of deprivation of liberty."In other words, because hemp flour is made from high CBD, low THC hemp oil, and touted as a super-food with health benefits, it is technically a Cannabis Medicine and therefore regulated by the Office of Drug Control. Legalising Hemp Foods in advance of the UN could put Australia into direct contravention of our international obligations, causing the loss of our status as a complying signatory. This could lead to a delinquency notice from the UN, and the destruction of Australia's massive potential as an exporter of Medicinal Cannabis products and hemp products to complying signatory countries.The Hemp Foods lobby can't have its cake and eat it too, claiming health benefits from its CBD flour but avoiding the compliance standards and regulation required of Cannabis Medicines.
Will the Single Convention be updated to allow Hemp Foods some time soon?Probably, but until then the Australian Government needs to tread with caution, and industry needs to look at the big picture for a sustainable Cannabis and Hemp Food sector, and not short-term gains by circumventing legislation.
Hemp seed, however, is exempted from the UN Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs and is the most likely candidate for legalisation, when Federal and State health ministers meet.You can learn more about FSANZ and hemp foods here: http://www.foodstandards.gov.au/consumer/generalissues/hemp/Pages/default.aspxYou can learn more about the UN Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, 1961 here:
Why all the fuss about Hemp Foods?While sourcing Omega 6 and Omega 3 rich oils from marine sources has serious environmental consequences, including the risk of heavy metal contamination, hemp is a vegan friendly, environmentally acceptable and ethical alternative to fish-oil and krill oil. High in insoluble fibre, hemp oil is also a good source of tocopherols and essential minerals.
The 9 remarkable dietary and skincare properties of hemp oilWith the imminent legalization of hemp as a legal food in Australia, and its touting as a super-food. Here are 9 reported properties of hemp, when used as a food or for skincare:1. Fact #1: Hemp Oil may help maintain hormonal balance: Hemp is the only edible seed that contains gamma-linolenic acid, which is eventually converted to the protective hormone prostaglandin PGE1 that regulates hormonal balance and supports menopausal health.2. Fact #2: Hemp Oil may regenerate and energise the skin’s protective layer: Due to its high content of omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids, hemp oil has a composition similar to skin lipids, which makes it an excellent natural emollient and moisturizer. It is especially useful for dry, tired or dehydrated skin and nails. Hemp oil increases the skin’s elasticity and the water retention capacity of tissues. Pure hemp oil can be used to treat dry hair and is often included in vegan hair conditioners.3. Hemp Oil is vegetarian and vegan friendly: Getting the right balance of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids can be tricky for vegetarians and vegans. Hemp oil naturally has the optimal ratio of these acids, is plant based and a renewable crop that conditions soil.4. Hemp Oil may lower cholesterol: The only vegetable oil to contain omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids in the right ratio (3:1), hemp oil may help lower cholesterol levels by accelerating metabolic processes. With a faster metabolism, fats burn at a quicker rate preventing them from forming plaques on artery walls.5. Hemp Oil may benefit diabetics: Due to its low glycaemic index, hemp oil can be a great food additive for diabetics. The nutrients present may help moderate blood sugar levels.6. Hemp Oil may help prevent psoriasis: Psoriasis has been associated with a deficiency of omega-6 fatty acids in the body. The fatty acids present in hemp oil may help improve skin oxygenation and hydration.7. Hemp Oil can boost your immunity: Omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids improve immunity while regulating intestinal flora, thus building a natural barrier against microbes and increasing digestive and immune resilience.8. Hemp Oil may prevent demyelination of the nervous system: Essential fatty acids are necessary for a healthy cell membrane structure. They also prevent the demyelination, the destruction of the myelin sheath (a membrane that protects the nerve cells). Hemp oil is high in essential fatty acids.9. Hemp Oil may prevent varicose veins: Like other compounds high in omega-3s, hemp oil thins the blood, reducing blood clots and varicose veins.
Cannabis extract (CBD) might be the opioid, ibuprofen or Aspirin replacement you’re looking for…A has documented the superior therapeutic properties of whole plant CBD-rich medicinal cannabis extract as compared to synthetic, single-molecule cannabidiol (CBD), Aspirin (non-steroid anti-inflammatory) or Tramadol (an opioid pain medication).“Our data together with those of others provide legitimation to introduce a new generation of phytopharmaceuticals to treat diseases that have hitherto been treated using synthetic drugs alone,” the Israeli team reported.This study leads the way for the use of whole plant CBD rich medicinal cannabis as a combined pain-management and anti-inflammatory treatment, and further confirms its superiority over single-molecule, synthetic CBD only treatments, and as a replacement for non-steroidal anti-inflammatory (for example the NSAIDs: Aspirin, Nurofen, Voltaren) and addictive opioid treatment regimes.References: Ruth Gallily, Zhannah Yekhtin, Lumír Ondřej Hanuš,“Overcoming the Bell-Shaped Dose-Response of Cannabidiol by Using Cannabis Extract Enriched in Cannabidiol,”Pharmacology & Pharmacy (Feb. 2015),
Supplements, who really needs them?You’ve probably heard a lot in the press about the ineffectiveness of vitamin supplements. You’ve probably also heard about ground-breaking studies showing the benefit of plant-based extracts in the treatment of hard-to-manage conditions. Why do these reports seem to contradict each other?Well not all supplements are equal, and their clinical use is difficult to patent and produce at standards acceptable to the various regulatory bodies that govern medicines around the world. While difficult, though, it is not impossible. Recently more research has begun into therapeutic botanical extracts and better ways to produce them, and the evidence is compelling.Think of it like this: while eating an apple a day is beneficial to health, taking synthetic versions of the vitamins and minerals found in an apple might provide little or no benefit. That’s because there are dozens if not hundreds of other molecules bound up in that apple that help it to support human health, that aren’t in the supplement.The rule of thumb is, if a supplement is made of a whole-plant extract, and you can find peer-reviewed studies to support it, then it’s probably going to help for the conditions indicated in the study. If, however it’s a synthetic copy or just contains a couple of the molecules found in the plant, then odds are it will just help you to make extremely expensive urine. The other alternative, of course, is to simply eat the apple.
Cannabis shows promise in treating meth and opioid addictionThe International Journal of Drug Policy recently concluded a major Canadian based study into the effect of medicinal cannabis on pain management, tobacco use and prescription drug addiction. 63% of the 271 study participants reported that they managed pain more effectively with cannabis and preferred it to prescriptions pain medications. 30% of participants preferred cannabis to using highly addictive opioids. 12% of recipients had used cannabis to quit their tobacco addiction (Lucas, 2017).In another review, The National Institutes of Health concluded that a "growing number of studies support a critical role (in addiction pathways) and provide further evidence that the cannabinoid system could be explored as a potential drug discovery target for treating addiction across different classes of stimulants" (Oliere, 2013).Studies, such as this one, are overturning the false belief that cannabis is a gateway to more potent drug addictions, and instead shows that medicinal cannabis is an effective and safe pain management treatment, helping sufferers avoid developing dangerous addictions to opioids and other pain medications while adequately relieving pain.In a separate study, The National Academy of Sciences, found that there is no valid evidence connecting marijuana with increased usage of other illicit substances. As a result the US Federal Drug Administration (FDA) was forced to remove unsubstantiated claims about marijuana being a gateway drug from its website.This move is in line with a growing body of evidence substantiating the medicinal applications of cannabis for chronic pain and otherwise untreatable conditions. While smoking marijuana does not provide optimal dose or quality control, formulations based on Cannabinoid extracts and delivered as an oil, capsule, dermal patch or via metered inhaler show great promise with few if any side-effects.As the peak medical practitioner body the AMA must now be under pressure to update its policy on medicinal cannabis and work with the TGA to support practitioner education and licensing, to meet the growing, medicinal demand.Industry Expert: Elisabetta L. Faenza Co-founder – LeafCannReferencesLucas, Phillipe and Walsh, Zach, April 2017, Medicinal cannabis access, use, and substitution for prescription opioids and other substances: A survey of authorized medical cannabis patients, The International Journal of Drug Policy, , Vol 42, pages 30 -35National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine, 2017, The health effects of cannabis and cannabinoids: Current state of evidence and recommendations for research.Washignton, DC: The National Academies PressOliere, Staphanie, Jolette-Riopel, Antoine, Polvin, Stephane, Justras-Aswad, Didier, 2013 Modulation of the Endocannabinoid System; Vulnerability Factor and new Treatment Target for Stimulant Addiction,Semantic Scholar, Psychiatry, 2013Cited athttps://www.semanticscholar.org/paper/Modulation-of-the-Endocannabinoid-System-Oli%C3%A8re-Jolette-Riopel/34df4fecc92104d004b46665fa6963681627d928
What is Self-Awareness?The process of learning mindfulness practices like self-hypnosis, meditation or other autogenic techniques, can be compared to preparing thoroughly for a journey. The journey of course, is life, however, armed and prepared with greater insight, we are able to understand and reap the benefits of observing and learning from the journey of life as never before.There are many subconscious levels of perception and the more we consciously apply ourselves to the task of knowing ourselves, the deeper the level of perception and consciousness we can achieve. This is at the root of all mystic traditions, and what lies screened by the dogma of the world’s major religions. Knowing ourselves is not always a simple task, and the hardest part seems to be acknowledging our responsibility for the life we've ended up with. Once this is achieved, other insights come more easily. By learning mindfulness techniques like self-hypnosis and meditation we can begin to peel back the layers of self-deception that we create. Many of these layers were created as protection against adversity, loss and trauma.In previous posts I have discussed the mechanisms through which we develop inappropriate behavioural responses. When these responses are re-stimulated we act out old scenarios learned in childhood or early adulthood, that are mostly completely unrelated to the situation at hand, and almost useless as strategies for problem solving. Perceiving the origins of this behavior is a first, and very important step, but if lingered upon, can become counter-productive. We naturally seek to blame the authority figures of our childhood for all of our adult problems. Where does this stop, however? Our parents, equally, could blame their forebears, and they in turn their own. What does this achieve?The answer to evolving beyond negative learned and instinctive behaviours, is to emerge from the cycle of blame and ignorance, and to look inside once more. Those behaviours could never linger if we didn’t find some comfort from them. This is what we call a secondary-gain.For example, sometimes the attention and sympathy of friends and relatives keeps us chronically unwell, or more precisely our addiction to that form of approval and validation that ensures we do not give 100% to the business of becoming well. Medicare, insurance policies, pharmaceuticals, invalid pensions etc, are all conspirators that cushion the discomfort of illness. They are necessary to assist us to get through the initial phase of trauma, and support us through the healing process, but become counter-productive over the long term if they become a crutch.This may sound harsh, but think about it for a while. Once we’ve been unwell for long enough, we can lose our ability to think of ourselves as well, and our self-image has shifted toward the victim end of the scale. Naturally, we feel we need help to cope with the repercussions of chronic illness, in the form of rebates or financial payment as compensation, especially for injury. The longer this goes on, the worse it gets. The part of us that no longer perceives itself as capable of health, clings stubbornly to the secondary gains of illness, preventing us from moving back toward a state of wellbeing.Any type of subsidy needs to be paired with a caring system of rehabilitation - identifying what abilities can be strengthened and using technology to assist with disability. This allows us to emerge from helplessness and take back our power.Please be aware that in this discussion, I am not referring to terminal illness.These are issues I have discussed at length previously, but they are pertinent to the topic at hand; that is the achievement of an Empowered Life. Our interactions with each other, at all levels of daily life, are also governed by social mores, and were learned by observing the world of adults that surrounded us in childhood. We intuitively perceived the interplay of power in the world of adults, and adopted the behavioural tools we deemed most appropriate, in order to navigate our way through life. In summary, there are myriad ways one human being can relate to another, and most of the methods we employ are not only reactive but help to perpetuate the hostile environment that foments envy, deceit, murder, prejudice, war and intolerance.
We are EnergyIt all boils down to the concept that individuals interact in non-visible ways. We often put this down to vibes, by saying someone has good or bad vibes. What does this mean? Does it reveal anything more than some amorphous feeling? The answer in my opinion, and coming from quantum biology is a resounding yes!Physicists have discovered that there is a web of energy, which links beings together, formalizing what has hither to been called intuition. This web is an electromagnetic field of energy, measurable in the laboratory. It exists at the level of sub-atomic particles in a detectable manner, and its discovery has created a cleft between the adherents of mechanistic view of the world, and the more contemporary, but far less tangible quantum view of the Universe as a connected whole. Quantum biologists have observed the interaction of this field with human DNA.Fritjof Capra, in The Turning Point, and The Tao of Physics, John Gribbons, In the Beginning, Peter Tomkins and Christopher Birds’ The Secret Life of Plants, Paul Harper in Cosmic Wormholes are amongst a wave of scientists and investigators in fields of physics, biology, anthropology, cosmology and genetics who have perceived the interconnectedness of life in the Universe. Even more than that, as John Gribbon put it, the Universe is organic, it is evolving and self-organising just as cellular organisms do. If the actions of very small sub-nuclear particles can effect each other over great distances, and seemlingly instantaneously, and if 99% of all matter in the Universe is invisible, then how can we say that humans stand outside the Universe as impartial observers, unmoved by the invisible, instantaneous processes that act on all matter from the quantum to the macro?When you are able to see the Energy Field around all things, you are also able to see the state of flux of all things, and this helps us understand that our solidity is only an illusion. Electrons obey the Uncertainty Principle of physics, and can never be precisely placed in space. Instead, physicists offer a probability quotient for the position of electrons within atoms at any precise moment. In other words because sub-atomic particles are always moving, very, very fast, and because every visible thin in the Universe contains atoms, which form molecules, which form elements, which combine to become higher forms of life including all animal, plant and insect life, then we too are continually in movement.The electrons within the atoms of our own bodies are vibrating and spinning at incredibly fast speeds so that it gives the illusion of solidity, much like a spinning propeller on a plane visibly cease to spin at a certain speed and gives the illusion of a disk, and can even appear to be spinning in reverse.The Energy Field around all things in the Universe, animate or inanimate, is a cloud of energy being discharged by the atomic and chemical processes that occur continuously within us in order to keep us alive. Interestingly Kirlian Photography and the testimony of those who see the energy field, has shown that the mood, health and perception of any individual impacts on the form, intensity and colour of that individual’s Energy Field or aura. It has long been known that our hair, skin and nails reveal inner states of health, so why not the energy discharge of our atoms?Those who can perceive the electromagnetic Energy Field of living beings often report flaring, or huge surges of the Energy Field in the direction of the perception, or when individuals experience strong emotions. We seem, in general, to filter out the information that would show us the world and ourselves as fluid energy. The five sense act as filters of information, not only gatherers, especially when compared to the sensory world of plants. As we evolved into moving, verbally communicative and creative creatures, we developed more specialized senses. We filtered out the ultraviolet and infra-red extremes of the light spectrum. We filtered out extremely high or extremely low sound frequencies and we lost our ability to pick up subtle odours. Yet, there are creatures on earth and in the sea, who are able to do any or all of these things because it is pertinent to their survival. We filtered out this information, perhaps, because it overloaded our brain, by providing too much input. By becoming more specialized it allowed our mind to do other things, like master speech.A plant has a large open field of sensory perception because its movement is limited as is its volition, and it needs a very wide spectrum of information in order to prosper. As we lost our ability to perceive the flux of existence, and the dynamic interplay between the energies of living things, we also forgot our connection to the living world. We separated ourselves in towns and cities, and filled our lives with tangible, material things – so much so that we began to believe, falsely that these things were reality.This is a rock-logic, unmindful perception.What is it? We ask, and the answer is – a book, a clock and car. We use the symbol book to connote in a very superficial way what the book realty is. Then we are fooled into believing that the symbol is as real as the information the book contains, then we begin to believe that like the symbol the information in the book is static and not dynamic.All of us are human becomings. We are still evolving, and have not achieved or become fully evolved, and may never be. The environment influences our genes. DNA is switched on or silenced by chemical tags triggered by these epigenetic signals. Experience can in turn alter the genes we pass onto our descendants. We started existence in this Universe approximately 15 billion years ago, and contain elements, which are only higher vibrations of the primordial elements of hydrogen and helium. We are the stuff of exploded stars, interstellar debris, gas clouds, volcanic eruptions, primordial swamps, prehistoric sea creatures, land dinosaurs and the higher primates.Every element in our bodies has been on a fifteen billion year journey, evolving, refining itself and combining in new ways to create higher and higher orders of life. Here we are with brains that require the resources of an entire planet to sustain, with a history stretching back eons and yet we deny our connection to this planet and the cosmos at large?Another side effect of limiting our perception to a rock-logic point of view, is that the pool of energy readily available to all living things became more and more removed from us, or to be precise we removed ourselves further and further form it. Natural things in pristine environments have Energy Fields that are enormous, and this is why we feel so good when we immerse ourselves in a natural environment. Indigenous peoples embrace a tree or rock in order to energise themselves before a confrontation or when they are ill, and many animist cultures attribute spiritual powers to all living things. We too were once surrounded by an enormous field of energy, but as we removed ourselves more and more from a pristine state of existence and spiritual connection with the planet of our birth, our Energy Fields diminished to a size that for most people is limited to less than a metre beyond the physical boundary of their body.Because all beings need energy, if any being is cut off one source of energy it has to find alternative sources of energy. Most of you would think of food as the primary source of energy, but isn’t it interesting that the amount of food humans consume is not proportional to their energy requirements, and our ability to judge our energy requirements from food, via the hypothalamus is almost totally non-existent in Western society. Often we know we have fulfilled our caloric requirement for food, and yet we still feel lethargic or run-down. A balanced diet and perhaps vitamin therapy go a long way toward alleviating this problem, but what drives us to eat poorly in the first place? We are all capable of eating well when we feel good, but the minute we feel low or depressed, or drained we begin to eat high-calorie, low nutrition foods. The word DRAINED, is an important clue.The primary source of energy humans use today (aside from food) is the energy they drain from other human beings and the environment. Having lost our ability to tap into the Universal Field of Energy and Information, we instead take the ‘easy’ way out and drain someone less powerful than ourselves of their energy. Of course, in the end this is not really the easy way out, because there is never enough energy around at this level, and the draining process creates a chain reaction whose end result is the society we lament all around us.Overturning the tyranny of our genesAll of this can be changed by becoming mindful of the power we all have over our own lives.Information and knowledge are at this moment competing with DNA as the determining force of existence. With inner knowledge comes the power to change everything about ourselves: to overcome the limitations of our physical birth, our upbringing and our environment. It enables us to evolve to a state unparalleled in the history of the earth. Our DNA, that guardian of our inheritance has given birth to a brain, which has runaway in its development, far outstripping the limitations of our genes. Our genes can add to themselves by mutation – and that occurs over a geologically long period of time. Epigenetics is a recently discovered process that reveals how experience and the environment can edit the genes, changing the genome that is passed onto subsequent generations. Learned behaviours can be transcribed into the genome, affecting how our children and grandchildren respond to stress and trauma. Mindfulness allows us to consciously edit our DNA.Mindfulness training provides the key to creating a process of change, and a dialogue with our inner selves. It is the basis of conscious evolution that frees us from the chains of a slow genetic process of development from primordial slime to complete human being. Change is the hallmark of our era, and the ability to change is the pre-requisite for survival. We do not have the time as a species, to wait for genetic mutation to come to our rescue, and help us to stop acting in a gene-multiplying self-prophecy of doom. No other species of living organism has ever had to face the question of cutting its own reproduction rate in order to survive, yet this is the very task facing us today. In fact, it is this most important characteristic of genes that reveal them to be the force behind the negative road of mankind. Genes are selfish by nature, and create a body that gives the genome the greatest chance of survival through reproduction. The gene is immortal and cares little for the carrier – the human in this case – except as a means to an end. The gene is also blind, and cannot see where this selfishness is leading.The task we face is to take the under-utilised brain that our DNA has created and use it to evolve beyond gene domination. Through mindfulness we can free ourselves from gene driven behavior, that while good for the gene does little for our quality of life, nor for the future of life in general.While DNA is slow to change, and protects itself against change, the mind is able to add to its files continually. Further, it can completely re-organise itself in the light of new information, it can learn new skills that influence its survival consciously. DNA, on the other hand, is a the mercy of mutation and natural selection, and can do nothing to change its chances of survival even over generations.The only way we can be free of the tyranny of our genes, is to develop our minds. Mindfulness training develops skills that open up the inner world of our mind, and can help us in our quest for knowledge, enlightenment and self-actualisation.The choice is ours.------------------Elisabetta is the author of the best-selling non-fiction book - The Energy Code.She is also the author of The Infidel, Veritas and Nemesis and was the librettist for the musical - D'Arc, The Legend of Saint Joan.Elisabetta works is a professional speaker and consultant to government organisations, entrepreneurs and NGOs on innovation, change management and talent retention.Learn more about Elisabetta at:
Ever been told you need to change your outlook, or adopt a more ‘resilient mind-set’? Are mindsets even real, or are they just psychobabble?According to brain plasticity experts, mindsets are real and the result of the interaction between our environment, nervous system and DNA. A mind-set is actually a group of neurological mind-maps that we create to perform a task, or respond to input coming from the senses.Resilience has become a buzzword for a group of behaviours that enable an individual to withstand, or recover quickly from, adversity or adapt to changed conditions. Much attentionhas been paid by researchers to the study of individuals who demonstrate a resilient mind-set in the face of trauma, in the hope that a model of resilience can be developed and taught.In my research into the interaction between behaviour, our DNA, and the environment, I was drawn to the work of neuro-plasticians (scientists who study the brain’s ability to change itself) like Edward Taub and Michael Merzenich,[i]1 whose work is complementary to that of quantum biologists Pjotr Gariaev and Vladimir Popponin.While quantum biologists, Gariaev and Popponin, investigate how environmental mechanisms switch DNA on or off, Taub and Merzenich have dedicated their lives to understanding how the nervous system responds to signals from the environment, learns new skills, and develops habits. Their research reveals a dynamic neurological process where the mind creates maps for how it responds to signals coming from the senses, and then recreates them on demand.
What do we use Mindmaps for?There are maps for everything we do, hear, see, feel, taste and smell. These maps contain the precise sequence and location of neurones (cells) in the brain as they are fired. The more we are exposed to something, and respond in a similar way, the more defined and refined these maps become, and the more of our brain the map owns. We have maps for walking, for holding a ball or gripping a cup, and we have maps for our emotions, for what triggers feelings of love, sadness, fear, anger or arousal.Being aware of how our behaviour is laid down in our nervous system by repetition and reward allows us to decide if a particular mind-set is productive.Mindsets are literally groups of associated neurological mind-maps that work together, or fire together. There is a saying in brain plasticity that says: ‘neurones that fire together, wire together’ and ‘neurones that fire apart, wire apart.’[ii]This grouping of mind-maps doesn’t just apply to physical responses, but to the secretion of brain chemicals that underpin emotion. Our brain maps our experience by creating 3D, holographic, topographical maps and then storing these throughout our cells, from the brain stem and spinal cord, down into the peripheral nerves themselves.When a situation resembles an aspect of a past experience, this triggers the projection of the 3D mind-map almost instantaneously, and causes neurones to fire in a precise sequence, making our response feel automatic or unconscious. Every time we relive an experience, we add detail to, or amend information in the map, literally re-writing our past.3 The brain then links experiences to deepen and add detail to mind-maps, making them more refined and complex.
Overcoming Damaging MindmapsSometimes, however, circumstances in the environment change so swiftly that our mind-maps are no longer appropriate.It therefore follows that someone who is good at playing piano will have a bigger map for the movement of their fingers and hands than a soccer player. While the soccer player would have more of their brain devoted to the nuances of moving the body, legs and feet than would the pianist.Mind maps draw on abilities we have inherited from our parents that are the best fit for a particular experience or stimulus coming from our environment. This explains why we can carry a gene for depression and anxiety, but if we do not experience sustained bullying or trauma as a child, this gene may not be called on. Meanwhile if we are taught functional ways to handle aggression and conflict, these skills will instead become the basis of a mind map that gives us an evolutionary advantage for survival and thus reproduction, and may then be naturally selected for over the generations in preference to humans with the older code.[iii]If this mind map is reinforced over and over again by practice and experience, there is a good chance it will be laid down in the DNA as an alternative code, which can be passed onto future generations. A parent who copes well with conflict and aggression is also more likely to teach these skills to their offspring, further reinforcing the resilient behaviour. Over multiple generations, this reinforcing of a healthy response to aggression and conflict may lead to a dominant trait in descendants that predispose them to resilience.This brilliant, new research over-turns both the ‘dominance of the gene’ and ‘brain localisation’ theories, proving the dynamic interplay between genetic material and our experience of the world through our senses.
Developing ResilienceResilient individuals can be said to have highly functional maps that provide a strong pattern for the nervous system to rely upon, as well as the ability to be able to break these maps down when they are no longer useful and replace them with better response maps.Positively charged emotions like gratitude, love, acceptance and joy produce dopamine and endorphins that help lay down new mind-maps, as well as oxytocin that helps dissolve the old mind-maps being replaced. This explains why it is only at the point of acceptance in the cycle of grieving that individuals are able to finally let go of what was lost and move on. Acceptance promotes the production of the very brain chemical that melts away old mind-maps and allows new mind-maps to supersede them.[iv]Experiencing a reward for new behaviour also triggers more dopamine, helping to reinforce connections between neurones, strengthening a new map. Fear, on the other hand, shuts down the nervous system and DNA expression, leaving us with only the most primitive maps to fall back on.This explains why fear and anxiety can render us speechless and unable to respond. Soldiers are trained to overcome this through the repetition of skills under extreme pressure, and through receiving rewards for the desired, resilient behaviour.6 Even soldiers, when exposed repeatedly to stress and trauma, may experience post-traumatic stress symptoms and be overwhelmed by fear, rage or depression.The amazing thing about mind-maps is that they are three dimensional, and stored holographically within the nervous system and DNA. But even more amazingly, they are plastic and highly susceptible to change. This new evidence is transforming the way medicine rehabilitates stroke victims and brain injury patients, leading to a virtual rewiring of damaged brains around dead cells. The key to this new model of rehabilitation is to re-learn skills for the damaged limb, motor skill or brain function as if for the first time, step-by-step, like a baby, and by providing a reward for each incremental improvement.[v]In this way, some patients with catastrophic damage have regained almost full function of motor-skills, despite a prognosis they would never recover.[vi]-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Elisabetta is the author of the best-selling non-fiction book - The Energy Code.She is also the author of The Infidel, Veritas and Nemesis and was the librettist for the musical - D'Arc, The Legend of Saint Joan.Elisabetta works as a consultant to government organisations, entrepreneurs and NGOs on innovation, change management and talent retention.Learn more about Elisabetta at:
[i]M. M. Merzenich, 2001, Cortical plasticity contributing tochildhood devSiegler, eds. Mechanisms of CognitiveDevelopment: Behavioural and Neural Perspectives. Mahwah,N.J: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, p68.[ii]Norman Doidge, MD, The Brain that Changes itself, Scribe,Melbourne 2010[iii]Ibid.[iv]4Sugden, Karen, Kings College Bullying Study, Kings College2010, London[v]Ramachandran, V.S, The Tell-Tale Brain, 2010[vi]Doidge Opcit, p119
What is Hypnosis?Hypnosis defies precise definition, as it is a personal experience with few objective points of reference available to the observer. What is agreed is that hypnosis involves and altered state of perception, characterized by a focusing of awareness, stillness of the conscious mind and is accompanied by physiological changes such as slowing of respiration and circulation, muscular relaxation, lacrimation of the eyes and feelings of either heaviness or lightness.In this course you will be introduced to the latest breakthrough in Autogenic and Flow State Training systems to help YOU achieve your goals.What is the mind?To date, experts have not been able to pinpoint the location of the conscious and subconscious minds within the brain. This failure does not, however reflect on the existence of the mind, but rather on our inability to come to terms with things we cannot see or measure. Until the last century we could not measure or detect activity at the nuclear of sub-nuclear level, yet that does not mean there was no activity at these levels previously.What we have determined in the laboratory, under EEG and fMRI is that certain areas of the brain are associated with certain functions, however, this being said, it is interesting to note that in some, stroke victims have learned to grow new neural pathways to previously unused areas of the brain, and these areas have taken over the work of the damaged neurons.It is my opinion that the brain is the hardware, and looking for the mind within the brain is like looking for programs (software) by taking a computer apart. Using this model, the subconscious mind is the software, while the brain is the hardware. The subconscious mind is a set of programs – or mindmaps that are accessed via the hardware and used like we use Apps on our smart phone - to manage behaviors or functions.What we do know…The conscious mind is associated with the Somnic Nervous System – or the activation of the voluntary muscles, centered within the Cerebral Cortes, or the outer layer of the brain.The information receptors of the brain are located in a lateral strip of neurons that sit across the top of the head, at the front of the Parietal Lobe of the Cerebral Cortex. The area that controls voluntary movement is located just in front of the Parietal Lobe, in an area at the back of the Frontal Lobe. One of the oldest areas of the brain is the Thalamus, which is located at the base of the Cerebrum. It interacts with the sensation receptors in the Parietal Lobe to alter the intensity of sensations, and it is thanks to this interaction that pain does not completely overwhelm us – for example without it, the pressure of our clothes would be unbearable.The thinking, reasoning part of our brain is located in the extreme Frontal Lobe and Cerebral Cortex. These are all implicated in the workings of the conscious mind.The subconscious mind, on the other hand, is identifies with the Autonomic Nervous System or areas controlling the use and regulation of the involuntary or smooth muscles such as the lungs, heart and digestive system and glands. More significantly to our interest, the subconscious mind is the realm of memory storage and retrieval.Memories are stored in the Temporal Lobe of the Cerebral Cortex, located either side of the front of our brain, near the temples.The Cerebellum sits in the back of the brain stem, and is the storehouse of chain motor responses learned in infancy by trial and error. It operates at the subconscious level, coordinating the movements of voluntary muscles in an habitual, learned fashion, that no longer requires detailed conscious thought.The Frontal Lobe directs these movements and the Cerebellum provides the detailed instructions that allow fluid, efficient operation of muscles. Damage to the Cerebellum causes the loss of co-ordination. The Cerebellum then is part of the subconscious mind that works in concert with the Conscious Mind.In layman’s terms, the Conscious Mind has come to be associated with the ‘will’, while the Subconscious Mind is associated with day dreams and imagination – it is these very characteristics that the practice of hypnosis is based upon.Left and Right BrainTo complicate matters, much of twentieth century psychology and psychiatry has been based upon division of the brain into two hemispheres. The Corpus Callosum is the connective area of the brain that links right and left hemispheres. Interestingly it is thicker in women than men, suggesting that there is great integration of left and right brain functions in women than men.In modern society we have come to associate left hemisphere dominance with intelligence, success and rationality, and have undervalued the creative, intuitive abilities that characterize right hemisphere functions. Perhaps that is due to the dominance of male values and patriarchy in the modern era, and a society steeped in Newtonian, mechanical certainties. With the coming of Quantum Physics, Einstein’s Theory of Relativity, Quantum Biology and Psychoneuroimmunology, and Neuroscience, and a growing awareness within the scientific community that much more is going on than can be explained by a mechanistic view of the Universe, however, the right hemisphere and the Split-Brain theory is being re-evaluated.Evidence gathered from fMRI, EEG and during brain surgery suggest that rather than the brain being split by function, the two hemispheres are divided and unified by perspective. The right hemisphere provides context, and an abstract understanding of the world, including an ability to create internal language and recognize patterns. The left-hemisphere conversely provides our ability to ‘act’ in the world; to manipulate objects, language and ourselves to influence the world.Another way to look at this is that the right brain provides the framework to understand the world and create new ideas, while the left brain provides the tools to enact those ideas. If an artist was only right-brained they would have no way of conveying their creative ideas into any manifest form, the ideas would be locked inside their head. Likewise if a mathematician was only left-brained they would have no ability to recognize patterns, envisage solutions or make connections between things.So the next time you see one of those ‘Are you left or right brain dominant’ quizzes, walk away – it’s based on outdated science and is pure rubbish.It is now agreed, that in order to function at optimal levels we need the integration of both hemispheres of the brain. How much of each hemisphere we regularly use appears to be correlated with personality, but that’s a whole other lecture.What is REM?Rapid Eye Movement (REM) sleep time has long been regarded as necessary to our very mental survival and people deprived of this deep sleep state experience major psychological disturbances and emotional upheaval. REM sleep is characterized by the rapid movement of the closed eyes from left to right and back again, and seems to be some kind of rapid integrative process, where the left and right hemispheres communicate with each other, relaying information, retrieving memories and formulating responses to the day to day demands of our lives. This process is akin to what happens when you back-up your computer onto an external drive. It allows short and mid-term memory to be converted to long-term memory and is associated with mental health.We can create this process through hypnosis and by repeatedly practicing this technique, which takes less than ten minutes, we can synchronise both the hemispheres and the electrical activity of the brain.Here is some background to the powerful phenomena of Brain Wave States you’ll be experiencing:BetaAlertnessConcentrationCognition
You are wide-awake, alert. Your mind is sharp, focused. It makes connections quickly, easily and you're primed to do work that requires your full attention. In the Beta state, neurons fire abundantly, in rapid succession, helping you achieve peak performance. New ideas and solutions to problems flash like lightning into your mind. Beta training is one of the frequencies that biofeedback therapists use to treat Attention Deficit Disorder.
Beta-centred Flow Training help you prepare to take an exam, play sports, give a presentation, analyze and organize information, and other activities where mental alertness and high levels of concentration are key to your success.
Beta waves range between 13-40 HZ. The Beta state is associated with peak concentration, heightened alertness, hand eye coordination and visual acuity. Nobel Prize Winner Sir Francis Crick and other scientists believe that the 40HZ beta frequency used on many Brain Sync tapes may be key to the act of cognition.
When you are truly relaxed, your brain activity slows from the rapid patterns of Beta into the more gentle waves of Alpha. Your awareness expands. Fresh creative energy begins to flow. Fears vanish. You experience a liberating sense of peace and well-being. In biofeedback, Alpha training is most commonly recommended for the treatment of stress.
Alpha-centered Flow Training help you tap your creativity and are excellent for problem solving, finding new ideas and practicing creative visualization. Choose Alpha programs when you want to attain deep levels of relaxation that are so essential to your health and well-being.
Alpha waves range between 7-12 HZ. This is a place of deep relaxation, but not quite meditation. In Alpha, we begin to access the wealth of creativity that lies just below our conscious awareness - it is the gateway, the entry point that leads into deeper states of consciousness. Alpha is also the home of the window frequency known as the Schuman Resonance - the resonant frequency of the earth's electromagnetic field.
Going deeper into relaxation, you enter the elusive and mysterious Theta state where brain activity slows almost to the point of sleep, but not quite. This is the therapeutic hypnogogic state. Theta is the brain state where magic happens in the crucible of your own neurological activity. Theta brings forward heightened receptivity, flashes of dreamlike imagery, inspiration, and your long-forgotten memories. Theta can bring you deep states of meditation. A sensation of "floating." And, because it is an expansive state, in Theta, you may feel your mind expand beyond the boundaries of your body.
Theta rests directly on the threshold of your subconscious. In biofeedback, it is most commonly associated with the deepest levels of meditation. Theta also plays an important part in behavior modification programs and has been used in the treatment of drug and alcohol addiction. Finally, Theta is an ideal state for super-learning, re-programming your mind, dream recall, and self-hypnosis.
Theta waves range between 4-7 HZ. Theta is one of the more elusive and extraordinary realms we can explore. It is also known as the twilight state which we normally only experience fleetingly as we rise up out of the depths of delta upon waking, or drifting off to sleep. In Theta, we are in a waking dream, vivid imagery flashes before the mind's eye and we are receptive to information beyond our normal conscious awareness. Theta has also been identified as the gateway to learning and memory. Theta meditation increases creativity, enhances learning, reduces stress and awakens intuition and other extrasensory perception skills.
Long, slow, undulating. Delta is the slowest of all four brain wave frequencies. Most commonly associated with deep sleep, certain frequencies in the Delta range also trigger the release of Human Growth Hormone so beneficial for healing and regeneration. This is why sleep - deep restorative sleep, the kind that Delta frequencies help induce - is so essential to the healing process. Delta centred Flow Training can promote conversion from short term to long-term memory.
Delta is the brain wave signal of the subconscious, the seat from which intuition arises. That means Delta-based programs are not only an ideal choice for their sleep and deep regeneration potential, but also when you want to access your unconscious activity and help that wellspring of information flow to your conscious mind for clearing and for empowerment. Delta waves range between 0-4 HZ.When we are in REM sleep we are alternating between low Alpha and high Theta activity, so that alternating our attention between our right and left hemispheres synchronises our brain’s electrical activity into a range somewhere between 6 and 10 HZ, which has been shown in bio-feedback to be extremely beneficial physiologically and psychologically.The Power of ImaginationIt is an interesting feature of living, thinking human beings, that our Will Power is often overwhelmed by our imagination, especially with the importance we place on Will Power in our society. Many people when beginning a diet, for example, say they will rely on their will and very soon find themselves thinking almost exclusively about food, even to the point of dreaming about their favorite foods.At the opposite extreme, a person who suffers from claustrophobia may be able to logically convince themselves that this fear is irrational and resolve, time and time again to use their Will Power to overcome their feelings, yet when confronted with an enclosed space their Will Power flies out the window and their imagination takes over.The two examples above demonstrate the destructive ability of the subconscious mind to overcome the conscious will. What hypnosis does is to tap into the imaginative power of the subconscious mind, to facilitate growth and personal development and to help individuals use their imaginations as a tool for goal attainment.Imagination is a skill, and like any other skill the direction and manipulation of the imaginative mind be greatly improved by practice. You will find, during this course, that both the quality of your imagination and your control of your imagination are greatly enhanced, opening up a whole new realm of creativity, intelligence and personal discovery you thought belonged to the world of the genius.Elisabetta is a Clinical Hypnotherapist with over 25 years experience facilitating behaviour change and maximising performance. Elisabetta is the author of The Energy Code, The Infidel and Veritas (all available on Amazon), and the creator of the online Personal Transformation Course - Activ8DNA on Udemy. Discover how Elisabetta can help you or your organisation achieve its potential at:
Everyone talks about innovation, as if it something they can make happen, just by deciding it. Innovation is the product of very specific abilities and attitudes, and therefore is driven by people with specific talents, and requires an organisation-wide mindset shift, that results in an Innovation Culture.
The rationale behind developing an Innovation Culture is to ensure all that every employee within an organisation is being engaged in work that utilises their strengths, and provides the authority to manage, innovate, implement and engage in collaboration. This level of autonomy is crucial to the development of Rainmaker teams to drive innovation and maintain a leading edge within the sector.
In my experience Rainmaker Innovation Practices can be implemented in two stages:
• The Business Opportunity Analysis Team (BOAT) process
• The Business Implementation Team (BIT) Process.
A detailed level of personality and strengths profiling will reveal whether an organisation has the existing Starter human capital to create a BOAT, or whether they will need to recruit key personnel. Many organisations already have sufficient staff with the requisite finisher profiles to create a Business Implementation Team (BIT), but these will still require proper training in BIT processes and an adequate respect for the BOAT skill-set.
This mix has been shown to create an ideal return on investment on R&D and new enterprises as long as:
1. The finishers (BIT) are utilised in the enterprise-modelling phase.
2. Founders and C-Level management are consulted and their GLI (Gut Level Intuition) is utilised in the brainstorming phase; all enterprise proposals must be run through the BOAT before any commitments are made to potential enterprise partners, or product development.
3. It is essential that the strong Finishers lead the BIT process and ensure they do not bury an enterprise model created by the BOAT before implementation, and trust in the information and intelligence provided, once approved. It is equally crucial that the BOAT fully briefs the BIT members to achieve real acceptance and ownership of the enterprise at the ‘coal-face.’
4. Once sign-off is achieved, enterprise plans should be implemented, tracked and re-assessed at pre-determined times. These enterprises should not be tinkered with outside of the BOAT / BIT process.
5. Regular (monthly) group meetings are essential in order to track feedback on new and existing enterprises, manage resources, and to identify any potential unforeseen opportunities, capacity constraints, weaknesses and threats.
Barriers to InnovationSome powerful barriers, in particular risk and scrutiny, have a specific impact on innovation. Managers are judged on their success and, in seeking to avoid criticism or failure, they can become conservative or resistant to innovative approaches, because innovation is inherently risky. In the not-for-profit sector, failures tend to happen in the full glare of public scrutiny, with consequent risks for the reputations and careers of all those involved. It can therefore be much easier to avoid criticism by not taking risks.A Strategic Masterplan should acknowledge and examine a diverse range of barriers to innovation. These include risk aversion; failure of leadership; resource constraints; lack of direction and measurement; value conflicts; hierarchical attitudes; silo mentality; legislative limitations; accountability concerns; and resistance to change. Some are a function of necessary requirements for accountability, profitability, impartiality and transparency and cannot be easily swept away. There is no panacea. Finding ways to overcome such barriers will take creativity and determination.
Innovation is also anti-hierarchical—a new idea can come from any level within an organisation or from an external source. Organisations that are open to a range of ideas and suggestions and that encourage development and experimentation thus tend to be innovative. A narrow range of inputs and rigid, multi-tiered approval processes discourage innovation. The BOAT and BIT processes aim to streamline New Business Development without stifling innovation or undermining the value of experience. Innovation requires a tolerance for experimentation and thereby, by definition, for failure. For each innovative success there will be multiple unsuccessful attempts. Such failures have a value in demonstrating what does not work and why; and can contribute to later successful innovations. A culture that punishes failure is not conducive to innovation. It is the nature of management to not focus on the 90 percent of things that go well, but rather on the 10 percent of things that have problems. This mindset is personality dependent, and arguably, this contributes to a culture in which failures or shortcomings are regarded as unacceptable. Conversely identifying failure early and acting upon it is a crucial part of developing an innovation culture.Finally, innovation can be transformational or it can be incremental. Both types of innovation are important. Incremental innovation (e.g. streamlining processes) drives continuous improvement and a steady growth in productivity. Transformational innovation (such as introducing a new technology into a workplace) is often highly disruptive, but can lead to large leaps in performance and productivity. It will be the purpose of the Masterplan to provide the context for both incremental and transformational innovation, set out the strategies for both, indicate timetables for their development and implementation and create the benchmarks for tracking results.
It is important to recognise that innovation is more than just coming up with a good idea. Translation of an idea into a successful outcome is what is required for innovation to take place, and it is failure at this point that often causes an innovation culture to stall .
It is this level of innovation that is required to transform any start-up into a sustainable entity and ensure it not only survives but also thrives.
Past, present and future enterprises should be profitable, autonomous, and linked within a collaborative culture of continuous improvement and innovation, once identified and developed. While processes are crucial, all research shows that it’s the business strategy and people, rather than the process alone, that matters. There is little evidence that success rates for research and development productivity can be increased much by just having a new product or process. In fact research suggests these have absolutely no impact on performance or profitability. It’s the people that drive these that determine success or failure.
More specifically, the strategy is to create a Business Opportunity Analysis Team (BOAT) to identify appropriate, innovative new enterprise development opportunities to enable financial sustainability. It is advisable that all new enterprise proposals, regardless of their origin, would be put through the BOAT process once developed.
Growth from innovation is a fundamental business strategy. To succeed, there must be a corresponding innovation mindset across the organisation as well as in Research and
Development (R&D). However, abdication of growth to R&D without support and involvement from the BOAT (including marketing and production support) means the growth initiatives are likely to fail. A Business Opportunity Analysis Team with the authority to drive innovation through collaboration, and thus growth and profitability is an essential part of any start-up Masterplan strategy.
Myers Briggs (MBTI) and Dow have identified - through a 10 year study - the five steps that drive effective New Business Development (NBD):
Five Steps to More Effective NBD:
1. Determine if R&D leadership is innovative enough:
Dow identified two main personality types: Starters, later characterised via the MBTI instrument as NTPs and NFPs - preference for intuition, thinking / feeling and perceiving, and Finishers characterised as STJs - people with sensory, thinking and judging preferences.
The Starter Personalities are creative, intuitive, visionary and curious. They continually challenge the status-quo, and tend to be difficult to manage as well as difficult to follow
when in leadership roles without training. They tend to dislike details, agendas, may be viewed as impractical, and can be procrastinators.
In contrast the Finisher personality types are far more pragmatic, better focused, more respectful of authority, and more task-oriented. They like details, agendas, and are far
steadier, consistent workers. They are the people who get the job done. They capture the cash as they exploit the developed opportunity, but can be rigid and negative when faced
with a change to the status-quo. They may resist innovation with the attitude ‘if it ain’t broke why fix it?’
While Starter personalities suit Business Opportunity Analysis, both Starters and Finishers are clearly needed in BOATS, but require initial induction and appropriate management.
Because individual personality is determined to a large extent by genetics, researchers believe it must follow that organisational cultures are also determined to a large extent by genetics, when organisational culture is defined as the collective mindset of the leadership in that organisation. For BOATs to flourish the culture most likely needs to shift its mindset, and thus its culture toward an autonomous / collaborative culture.
2. Match leadership personalities to job roles:
People tend to perform best and gain the greatest job satisfaction in roles that enable them to use their natural gifts. Therefore, understanding the genetic nature of personality means it is critical to match the personalities of the leaders with appropriate job roles, otherwise productivity suffers dramatically.
Starter personality types are best suited to job roles involving innovating and developing, requiring them to operate in an area of ambiguity. These job roles include determining what new types of enterprises or products are needed to meet customers; needs, and then creating them and the marketing and sales plans they need.
Finisher personality types are best suited to growing and enhancing job roles that usually rely on using well established procedures to solve problems. These jobs include commercialising existing products, keeping plants running well, and implementing procedures. Both continuous improvement and incremental advances are hallmarks of Finisher roles.
When Finishers are asked to innovate, they typically fail and are miserable as well. Likewise, when Starters are asked to implement established procedures, at best they typically perform at a lacklustre level.
It is important to emphasise that there are no right or wrong personality types. All are needed, but in the right roles in the right balance.
3. Train and coach Rainmaker BOATs
Rainmakers are a specific type of BOAT that includes a majority of Starters and minority of Finishers who have been selected for their ability to innovate, think outside the square, gather information quickly and morph one idea quickly into another.
Rainmakers should be trained to assess opportunities in the following ways:
• Making sure the new product concepts fit within the business. BOAT leaders use a ‘Gut Level Screen’ ensuring that the opportunities presented to them by the BOATs would truly excite top management from a stand-point of potential size and profitability, timing, geography, technology and markets.
• Visiting customers and stakeholders at their locations and plants, testing the draft propositions, determining the customers’ true functional requirements (which they often cannot articulate themselves), and analyzing the results.
• Building system cost-performance models of the way customers use products or services (including labor, capital and raw materials), both today and tomorrow - so the next generation of products is already on the drawing board. These results then need to be compared with potential new offerings based on both performance and cost, to determine whether the new business concepts will beat the best-performing competitors, and by paying greater attention to developing a sustainable competitive advantage by establishing exclusive intellectual property rights, or through commercial agreements
• Morphing the concept until a winning concept for commercialisation is identified, then reporting to upper management, while typically staying with the zone of top management’s Gut Level Screen
Typically the Rainmakers are likely to discover why the starting point idea should be shelved or even killed. This is a major problem a linear business development process - turning them into killing machines. Successful BOATs need a creative mindset which enables them to morph a starting point idea (statistically doomed to fail) into a winner.
Dow’s study found that the top performing Rainmakers BOATs uncover the real customer’s unmet needs (often unspoken, and sometimes unknown) along with the value of meeting those needs. In short, they morph the starting-point idea. Statistically 95% of the morphed ideas made money after commercialisation vs. the normal 11% odds of success from the end of the early stages of an NBD process.
New businesses are typically begun by innovative Starters. For those that do survive, there is far more work requiring Finisher skills (production, selling, accounting, safety,
quality, shipping and logistics) than Starter skills (innovating in R&D, marketing, advertising). Therefore, the leadership of most firms typically shifts over a period of time toward becoming a culture of Finishers, operationally excellent but no longer able to innovate at world-class levels. The end result is usually a sudden turn-over catastrophe, from which only 1 in 3 businesses recovers. Most organisations literally have a biological lifetime based on their natural ageing process as they gradually shift from a genetic Starter culture to genetic Finisher culture.
Understanding the largely genetic nature of personality should allow any organisation to have subgroups of creative leadership composed of more Starters, even within a larger organisation that needs to be more heavily staffed with Finishers - allowing the business to be both low cost and highly innovative at the same time. This would create a remarkable people-based sustainable competitive advantage, making the organisation nearly unstoppable.
In the research it strongly suggests that managers who refuse to take the right actions based on the BOAT’s findings (or do not refute those findings with better information) they
should be reassigned. This requires fast and strong action from top management. Far too much is at stake financially. Another way to say this is that NBD managers who make bad decisions usually go on to make many more bad decisions if allowed to do so. Nothing is more damaging to the future success of an organisation than poor decision making by NBD management.
4. Ensure enough Finishers among non-leadership professionals:
Someone has to grow the opportunity to make money. The evidence suggests this requires a higher percentage of Finisher personality types within the larger group of Implementers, than within the BOAT group.
From the research to date it appears that whereas BOAT groups should be 60% Starters, and 40% Finishers, the implementation group should be only 20-30% Starters with 70 - 80% Finishers.
Research shows that the leadership mix needs to be continually rebalanced with each businesses portfolio and product life-cycle, while the non-leadership groups among both should be primarily Finishers. For a new organisation this means that the initial phase should be driven by the the R&D team, but once the model is implemented, tested and refined, it should be handed over to a team pre-dominated by Finishers, while the R&D team investigates and develops revenue streams derived from spin-off opportunities.
5. Review Middle Management’s Implementation Plan:
The BOAT’s final step is capturing the information in a clear presentation to the business management, describing why it fits the founder’s Gut Level Screen and why it will win. But then what? Sometimes middle management does the right thing and takes action to commercialise the new business opportunity. Sometimes they legitimately ask for more information.
However, far too often (Stevens and Swogger found approximately half to two-thirds of the time) middle management fails to take the right actions. After a BOAT presentation with a recommended course of action, a manager should either agree with the information and take appropriate action, or disagree with the information, refuting it with better information and take a different course.
Either way all decision making should be evidence based, even if the initial line of innovation was prompted by a founder’s Gut Level intuition.
The research shows that there are two major categories of management failure from a BOAT:
• Management fails to shut down the work which the BOAT proved cannot succeed. In all of the cases where BOATs clearly showed why the starting ideas were doomed, and management tried to commercialise them anyway, failures occurred, often ending in massive write-offs involving hundreds of millions of dollars.
• Management fails to commercialise the positive morphed ideas from the analyses. The opportunity costs of missing out on new commercial products and services can be substantial. In both cases the financial impact of improving management’s actions is high.
A better fit of leaders’ personalities with job roles - especially managers who are Finisher types - is needed to understand the importance of Starters involvement when innovation is needed. Achieving an excellent fit between personalities and job roles is critical for all the business functions and leaders, not just within R&D.
With the odds of success for BOAT initiated projects being between 84% and 95% it is clear that projects identified by a BOAT should be implemented. Review of implementation plans must be periodic in order to raise implementation rates, dramatically capturing the otherwise lost opportunity cost of stalled projects.
While the BOAT team need to be dominantly Starter, the model requires the implementation staff (BIT) to be comprised of teams that are 70 - 80% Finishers, ensuring completion.
Pre-implementation action-planning meetings for middle management, with top management and the BOAT present are recommended. It is simple to measure whether or not the pre-implementation planning review meetings are taking place. It is also possible for top management to take fast and appropriate action based on the results from these meetings.
It is worth noting that Starters form less than than 5% of top managers, as they are usually lost early in their career, and they occur less than 200 times out of every 10,000 people. The starter trait is emergenic - meaning that while it is a genetic trait, it isn’t inherited from one generation to the other, but instead arises from a lucky combination of a series of unrelated genes, that when all present create a highly intuitive, innovative individual with the ability to think logically.
The attributes of a Starter cannot be learned, so no amount of creativity workshopping will turn someone into a Starter. Within the workplace, these individuals generate 9,500 times the revenue of their non-starter peers when placed in a conducive environment. When an organisation attracts Starters it needs to do all it can to keep them, and it needs to listen to their advice. Simply being creative is not enough, it is the ability to think through the logical steps for modelling or assessing an innovation that is crucial, so not all intuitive types, and not all creative types are suitable.
Elisabetta is the author of The Energy Code (2014, Motivational Press), The Infidel (2015, True North) Veritas (2015, True North) and is a Performance Expert with 30 years experience working with individuals and organisations world-wide.
Click here to visit her website
References:Stevens, Greg A, and Swogger, Kurt; ‘Creating a Winning R& D Culture, Vol I and II’ Industrial Research Institute Inc, Jan- Feb 2009, pp 22- 50.
Nardi, Dario, The Neuroscience of Personality, Radiance House, Los Angeles, 2011.
Kirton, Michael. Editor. 1989, Adaptors and Innovators; Styles of Creativty and Problem Solving. Routledge, London.
Stevens, Greg, James Burley and Kurt Swogger; 2003 Dow Chemical Achieves Major Transformation of PO&E R&D Group: Personality-Oriented Aproach Improves NPD REsults. PDMA Visions XXVII, No. 3, pp 6-10.
In this post, I'd like to discuss some of the latest updates in epigenetics that have identified the inter-generational effects of trauma, and how that is shaping the wellbeing of current and future generations.
In a study from the University of Lethbridge in Canada, researchers identified that generational exposure to stress and trauma, progressively shortened pregnancy length, leading to ongoing negative effects for both mother and child. These effects had a compounding effect, growing more pronounced with each generation:
In another study it was shown that trauma effects histone and methylation, leading genes that should be silenced to be expressed, while others that should be expressed to be silenced.
"This distinction is especially important when a cell copies its genetic material, which happens just prior to cell division. As the cell replicates its DNA, it must also preserve the epigenetic marks that delineate active and inactive areas of the genome. In fact, silencing machinery, which deposits methylation marks on H3.1, works in tandem with the replication machinery. "Because H3.3 can't carry this modification, its presence on active genes allows them to escape silencing," says Jacob. "In our research, we discovered a way for cells to protect active genes from silencing and preserve that memory through successive cellular generations.
This study also has implications for how the genetic material is copied. "We have found that replication (how DNA copies itself) and transcription (how DNA is copied into RNA) are controlled by the same highly conserved histone. Thus, these most fundamental properties of the genetic material are regulated by our chromosomes," says Martienssen.**
In a further study it was shown that even two childhood exposures to bullying or psychological trauma predisposed the individual to the activation of a genetic risk factor for PTSD, Bipolar Disorder and Depression.
The question of whether the genetic risks for developing PTSD are similar in other populations that are exposed to different traumas at different periods in their lives remains to be further tested, noted Galea. "However, our findings that the ADRB2 factor might be shared by men and women, African Americans and European Americans, and military and civilians is consistent with the idea that some genetic risk factors for PTSD might be common across populations and even shared by other stress-related disorders, such as depression."***
What is the take-home message from these and other studies into gene expression and the epigenetic effects of trauma?
1. It's clear that bullying and other psychological trauma changes gene expression for the individual experiencing it. These effects can continue well into adulthood, contributing to mental and physical illness.
2. If your parents or grandparents experienced bullying or other psychological trauma, the genes you inherited from them were changed by the experience.
3. If you inherited these changed genes and experience bullying in childhood or adolescence your response will be more severe.
4. If your children then experience bullying the negative effects will be magnified.
5. If your mother was psychologically or physically abused before or during pregnancy, the downstream effects for each subsequent generation become more pronounced.
So when we bully, either as an individual, group or community, we create negative outcomes for generations to come. When an individual or group is oppressed, the effects get worse for each generation, making it harder for subsequent generations to fight for their rights.
When we stand by and do nothing while an individual or group is bullied, we contribute to this problem. The long-term effects may well create fertile ground for crime and terrorism, as the second or third generation feel themselves immersed in an inescapable sense of hopelessness and despair. Indeed population studies seem to make this link - that individuals or groups will struggle to achieve their potential and may become easy targets for radicalization.
If you've been bullied, seek help and support and as much counseling as you require to reverse these effects, so you can pass on more resilient genes to subsequent generations.
As communities, we need to provide more support for the victims of bullying and trauma, providing inter-generational counseling and opportunity to those most at risk, rather than oppressing them further and compounding the problems.
Elisabetta is an expert in human performance, specializing in the study of epigenetics. Elisabetta is an in demand speaker, writer and mentor, and the author of The Energy Code (2014), The Infidel (2013),The DNA of Bullying (2011),The Energy Bucket (2010) and D'Arc, the Legend of Saint Joan (1998),as well as the soon to be released novel - Veritas...
Visit her website
Buy her books
* Youli Yao, Alexandra M Robinson, Fabiola Zucchi, Jerrah C Robbins, Olena Babenko, Olga Kovalchuk, Igor Kovalchuk, David M Olson, Gerlinde Metz. Ancestral exposure to stress epigenetically programs preterm birth risk and adverse maternal and newborn outcomes. BMC Medicine, 2014; 12 (1): 121 DOI: 10.1186/s12916-014-0121-6
** Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory. "Unraveling mystery in 'histone code' shows how gene activity is inherited." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 13 March 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/03/140313142612.htm>.*** Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health. "Evidence of genetic link to PTSD in soldiers exposed to childhood trauma." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 16 September 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/09/140916123636.htm>.
When the power of a bully is entrenched through societal privilege, political dominance or wealth, their behavior can become even more extreme. Nowhere is this more apparent right now than Scotland.
Despite a positive campaign atmosphere in the run up to the Scottish Referendum for Independence, the post election atmosphere has revealed a dark face.
This weekend video evidence has emerged within Scotland of interference in the referendum electoral process, with footage showing apparent vote stacking at polling booths and the misappropriation of YES votes into the NO count at the counting room; allegedly distorting the proportion of YES to NO votes. A petition has been signed by 90,000 Scottish voters demanding a recount. So far none of this has been reported by mainstream media.
Video footage from Glasgow on the day after the vote shows Unionists taunting YES campaigners, charging them and threatening an escalation of violence. Social media posts reveal YES voters in Glasgow are afraid to leave their homes.
So if these allegations are true, why would the victorious NO voters - a supposed majority - behave in such a manner?
My hunch is that some of the NO voters know the vote was rigged, and are now beginning a campaign of intimidation to ensure YES voters are too afraid to speak up. This is the typical modus operandi of the bully. You see, the bully knows they are not a winner, and can only win through intimidation, fear and cheating. They will do anything to win, and yet the fruits of that victory taste hollow. Because the bully is emotionally immature, the only way they can cope with this uncomfortable feeling is to lash out and ensure that anyone who suspects the deception is silenced.
1. Collect the evidence: take photos, video footage and note in a diary each and every incident, post these to social media, as that will provide a date stamp - this evidence will stand up in court. Do not embellish or exaggerate incidents, the bully will use errors on your part against you, and because they have the support of mainstream media, and government on their side your evidence has to be rock solid.
2. Do not retaliate: when confronted with a bully, simply walk away, do not invite trouble and as much as you can avoid trouble spots, do not be drawn in.
3. Keep the positive movement going, energize each other with hope and positive steps to achieve your goals, no matter how steep the odds may seem right now. The bully hates your positivity. They want to drain you of that and draw you into anger, rage, fear and hopelessness - because that is where they live.
4. Withdraw your energy from the agents of the bully, and spread the word, far and wide - you are part of a bigger movement for reform in the UK, the opportunity to end an antiquated system of centralized power.
5. No matter what happens, don't give up on your vision, support each other, become as educated as you can, and help others to become more so.
Defeating a bully takes endurance and wisdom. Theseus of Greek legend had to negotiate the labyrinth to find and defeat the minotaur - the half man half bull that has come to symbolize the bully.
Our task today is no different, we must understand the foe we face, know the mind and tactics of the bully to defeat them. As powerful as they might seem, they are a minority, that is why they are so afraid, that is why they behave the way they do, that is why they can be overcome.
Elisabetta is an expert in human performance, specializing in the study of epigenetics. Elisabetta is an in demand speaker, writer and mentor, and the author of The Energy Code (2014), The Infidel (2013),The DNA of Bullying (2011),The Energy Bucket (2010) and D'Arc, the Legend of Saint Joan (1998),as well as the soon to be released novel - Veritas...
Visit her website
Buy her books on Amazon
This scar happened some 45 years ago when I was 4 years old. I had only been back in Australia with my parents for less than a year after life-saving surgery in Italy. My mother worked as a primary school teacher, my father worked night shift, and so I spent the days with him. I now know my father was a psychopath, but back then I was his adoring pre-school age daughter. The dark side of my father was first revealed to me some months earlier. I have a clear memory of my grandmother gathering me into her arms, running to the bathroom and locking the door while my father pounded on it, screaming he was going to kill me, at that time I was only 3. This rage started to happen regularly anytime someone commented on what a pretty child I was.
On the day I got this scar, we had been grocery shopping. There was a crate of soft-drink bottles on the floor in the back seat of the car next to me. My father told me to stay in the car while he took the groceries in. I waited and waited, but I wanted to help. I got out of the car and took a glass bottle of lemonade with me, carrying it carefully in my arms. I remember it was a dark green glass and the bottle felt heavy.
The last thing I remember before the blood, was as I approached the screen door. My father was coming out, he saw me carrying the bottle and roared at me for disobeying him. I remember freezing as he grabbed the bottle, raised it and swung it at my face. I remember putting my hands up in front of me. Then everything went black. When I came to, I was standing. My dad was wrapping me in towels and I remember fountains of blood running down my body and spurting out of my right wrist; the towels turned instantly red. I heard myself ask:
"Daddy, am I going to die," though my voice sounded funny, probably because half my lip was detached and there was a gaping hole in my face.
Then my father punched me and knocked me out.
The next thing I remember was waking up in emergency, doctors all around, my mother crying her eyes out at the end of the bed, my father looking down, at me. I heard my mother ask through tears,
"How could you let her carry such a big bottle, you know she is clumsy."
Over the next 15 years I watched as my father drove my mother to madness through his violence and control; how she eventually became an accomplice, ruining our childhood through emotional, mental, physical and sexual abuse.
This story is hard to tell, but I tell it because hundreds of people knew this was happening. My father was a violent psychopath, beating men almost to death and yet was never arrested. Family and friends knew this, I imagine doctors at the very least suspected, and yet nobody did anything.
My father's bullying behavior in the workplace meant he didn't keep jobs in one place for long; not because he was sacked. He was too productive a worker for that. They would just move him to another contract, another mine, another town. Dad would be charming to start, and his productivity was so impressive he was always paid well, thought the gambling meant we never saw much of it. He had a nick-name in the Snowy Hydro-Electric Scheme - Nero - for his black temper, and reputation for beating all-comers in street fights.
My father was protected by a society that worships superhuman strength, record breaking productivity and compartmentalizes that from the damage that bullies do to their families, co-workers and communities.
My father is now 80 years old and suffering dementia, he has conveniently forgotten his crimes and blames everyone else for his poverty and loneliness.
You may read this and think he was a product of his upbringing, his genes, his socioeconomic class. My father was born the son of a self-made millionaire in Italy in the early 1930s. By age three the signs he was different were already apparent when he tried to murder his mother with a garden implement and was only stopped when his grandmother walked into the scene. He was physically talented, and highly intelligent with an infamous temper, who could flip on a dime and go from charming and warm to deadly.
WWII couldn't have helped as the violence he experienced as a young child at the hands of both the Nazis and US forces is beyond the comprehension of most of us. And yet his cousins experienced the same thing and none of them turned out like him.
I write this because bullying, domestic violence and child-abuse are being discussed on talk shows everywhere. Everyone has an opinion, but nobody seems to have a solution.
Bullies, whether they are abusive parents, spouses, teachers, schoolyard children, politicians, professionals, blue collar workers or terrorists, only thrive on the energy we give them through our attention, fear and desire to appease them or cure them.
This is just what they want, and it is all they need.
Withdraw your energy. Become aloof to them, distance yourself in any way you can. Starve them of the financial means to thrive, if you have the power. In the workplace, close your doors to them, and do this without being drawn into an argument. Refuse to play, cut them out of your life, and document everything. Put it all on paper, dates, times, what happened, and photos if you can. Don't fool yourself into thinking you can beat them head on, you can't.
If you know someone is being victimized by a bully, offer to help the victim, support them to notify the authorities, but make sure everything is documented. If they say no, stay vigilant, there will be a moment when they need you. If it is a child, don't hesitate, report their abuser.
If you are the spouse of an abuser - you cannot fix them, you cannot cure them. That is up to them and it will only happen when all other forms of support are withdrawn and they are forced to look themselves in the mirror. But don't expect a miracle, the violent, psychopathic bully rarely changes.
Society - stop rewarding bullies with high incomes, flashy cars and positions of power and stop holding them up as roll-models. Look for the signs, and address them. Provide real programs to help anyone with rage issues learn better skills. Make your organization's culture a NO-Bully zone.
The Justice System - stop treating domestic violence as a lesser crime, prosecute regardless of whether the victim files a complaint or not.
Set this as an example to our children that might isn't right, and manipulation isn't good. There are plenty of constructive, non-violent productive people who were born as psychopaths. They are the ones whose families realized there was something different about them early on, and managed them with insight, not denial.They are the ones that learned about their psychological profile and understood the future that faced them if they didn't learn different behaviors.
When we say one thing, but do another, our children notice and they tend to copy what we do, not what we say. So, if you have anger issues and tend toward violence, don't justify it because you were beaten in childhood. That doesn't make it okay. Get help, talk about it, and change. Create a support system to keep your family safe from you. Own up to the problem, and then you can own up to the solution.
As long as we promote, justify, reward and overlook the behavior of bullies (whether they are wife-beaters, child abusers or the workplace tyrant) they will continue to thrive, and we are all to blame.
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Bullying and its affect upon individuals and society has been in the news a lot this year. It's also been a hot topic on many of the interviews I've done around the world lately.
Interviewers are often surprised when I show little sympathy for the bully. I hear things like - but they are humans too - which of course is true. The issue is that serial bullies lack one important human trait - empathy. Perversely this seems to provide them with a social advantage when it comes to manipulating and traumatizing their victims and then getting away with it.
A recent study by the University of Warwick has recommended that anti-bullying policies must focus on all of society,because as long as bullies reap the life-long benefits of increased status and opportunity, bullies will thrive, while their victims suffer life-long negative health and social impacts.*
So, here is the unadulterated truth: society loves bullies. Yes, that's right, society selects bullies for promotion, leadership, wealth and position, and has done so for thousands of years. We love winners, and despite our moralistic preaching, will look to blame the victim, because we perceive them to be a loser in the competition of life.
Neil Tippett, lead author of the review, emphasized, "This hierarchy is familiar to us all from our own school days. In my view, so long as the rewards exist for bullies in the form of social status, it is difficult to make bullies to change their behaviours as there is little incentive for them to do so."*
We are fascinated by bullies, uncompromising winners and those who pursue success at all costs. The charismatic bully holds us in their thrall, convinces some of us to participate in acts of physical, emotional or psychological harm to others, and promises to share the rewards. This phenomenon contributed to the Global Financial Crisis, and resulted in those who tried to warn government and the financial sector of the impending crisis, being ostracized and victimized.
If the bully is rewarded early in life, they are unlikely to change their behavior for the better, or develop empathy, instead hard-wiring in the mind-maps for bullying and manipulation, becoming extreme narcissists. If they are one of the 3% of the human population who is a psychopath, then this bullying behavior can set them on a path that will most likely do immense harm to others. If the psychopath is bullied, then the results can be even worse. Research suggests that when a psychopath is bullied during childhood their lack of empathy can become pathological.
So what do we do?
As a society we need to stop rewarding bullies, from the playground, to the classroom, to the shop-floor to the board-room. We need to take complaints about bullying seriously, and swallow the short term bitter-pill of removing a bully from their position of power. If we observe a bully in action, submit a complaint and then remove yourself from the bully's sphere of influence. It is not your job to fix them, it is not your job to make them better, leave that to the professionals. Take your energy elsewhere and reclaim your life.
If we are serious about creating a bully-free playground, we need to stop rewarding the teenage and adult bully; we need to champion co-operation, consultation and collaboration and reward these behaviors instead.
Are we as a society prepared to walk-the-talk?
Elisabetta is the author of The Energy Code, The DNA of Bullying, The Infidel, Veritasand D'Arc, the Legend of Saint Joan.
More from Elisabetta
- Neil Tippett, BSc, and Dieter Wolke, PhD. Socioeconomic Status and Bullying: A Meta-Analysis. American Journal of Public Health, April 2014 DOI: 10.2105/AJPH.2014.301960
- University of Warwick. "Anti-bullying policy must focus on all of society." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 29 April 2014. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/04/140429125737.htm.
When the 'Jack The Ripper DNA' story hit the headlines today, I was interested and intrigued by the variety of responses; especially how people clung to their conspiracy theories despite evidence to the contrary. At the same time I was having an interesting conversation via The Energy Code Facebook Fan Page about the nature of ideology and dogma.
It got me thinking about how many of us have 'sacred cow' beliefs that we will defend bitterly, sometimes violently, and how the tyranny of truth has held back advances in science, the arts and philosophy throughout the ages, mainly via religion's repression of thought and freedom of expression.
Before anyone gets offended here, I would like to add that academic and scientific edifices are just as capable of repressing ideas that challenge the accepted wisdom of the age, although historically, science has been more ready to adapt than religion; with change measured in decades for science versus centuries for religion.
I believe that our attraction to holding on to cherished beliefs has a lot to do with the way our brains create mind-maps for familiar activities. Mindmaps are life-hacks, they allow us to reduce the amount of effort required to think and do. Once we have performed a task, or acquired knowledge, or taken on a belief, it is easier to rely on the existing mindmap than to edit or replace it. Think of mindmaps as being paths of least resistance, a lot like a pathway through deep snow. Once we have trod a path through the snow, it is easier to retrace our steps, making that path more obvious, and requiring less effort. The more we walk along the same path, the easier and easier it gets.
Now we may discover there is a shorter route to get to where we want to go, but it is through virgin snow, so it is going to require a lot more effort to go that way at first. Here's the caveat, however, once we have walked the new path a couple of times, it too will become ingrained and be the path of least resistance, as well as more efficient.
So next time someone presents you with evidence that challenges a cherished belief or way of doing things, don't just resist it out of habit. Sit back, take a moment and assess if this new information is useful, and then allow yourself to update your mindmaps to accommodate it. The first few times might feel like trudging through foot-deep snow, but believe me, pretty soon you will be be glad you made the effort to escape the tyranny of a familiar truth.
Elisabetta is the author of The Energy Code, The Infidel, Veritas, and D'Arc the Legend of Saint Joan.
Visit her website
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To celebrate the launch of The Energy Code, today's blog shares an excerpt about the very important concept of energetic health; a concept that relates to our internal well-being as well as how we interact with the world at large.
Elisabetta 25th of August 2014
If we think of our bodies, cells and relationships as buckets of energy
that we can have conscious awareness of, we start to be able to better
manage our health. And by this, I am not referring solely to physical
health. The latest scientific discoveries imply that the physical, mental,
emotional and even metaphysical are intertwined via the DNA feedback
loop, and cannot be understood in isolation.
One area of our life links to another, so I use the term Energetic Health
to represent the sum-total of the health of these systems. Using the 7 Key
Principles I outline in The Energy Code, we can manage the Energetic Health of our
cells, and organs, with a flow on effect to the health of our body, mind
This doesn’t stop at the individual. Because of the DNA’s ability to
broadcast its health into the environment, each of us affects the Energetic
Health of everyone we interact with. So managing our own Energetic
Health, by implication, helps us to manage the health of our close
relationships; whether at home, at work or at play.
The alternative to Energetic Health is Energetic Disease - a state that
leaves us vulnerable to the over or under methylating (silencing) of our
genes, toxic overload of our organs and cells, mind-blocks rather than
healthy, flexible mind-maps, and negative feedback loops between our
peptide receptors and information/emotion molecules. Perpetuated over
time, this leads to a state of chronic fatigue or unwellness, eventually
resulting in acute illness. It is clear we are all born with the
mechanisms to self-heal; we are in fact a self-healing organism, with all
the mechanisms and back-up systems to promote health.
For some, the decline into disease, whether it be classed as mental or
physical illness (I believe the distinction is a misnomer, as the mind is
the body), leads rapidly to an under functioning in many areas of life;
for others, it leads to acute illness and death. For a great many, the path
is slowed by watching the actions of those around us and changing our
behavior to mimic theirs. If we adopt the habits of the energetically
healthy, we can return to wellness bit-by-bit.
If you think of our body’s ability to store physical and mental energy as
akin to a battery that is recharged through rest, diet, exercise and healthy
thought patterns, then just like a battery, we can be drained - in our case -
by poor diet, lack of exercise, not enough rest, and negative thought patterns.
Just like a car battery can be used to jump start another car battery that has run flat,
so the human energy system can be drained by those around us.
All too often, we charge ourselves up by stealing energy, often
learning these techniques at quite a young age. The energy theft required
is unsustainable as one-by-one those we have stolen from succumb to
illness or leave for self-preservation. Bullying is a common example that
drains the victim and temporarily tops up the bully. Countless studies
have shown that both the bully and the victim have increased incidence
of mental illness, depression and incarceration as young adults. The bully
has learned this behavior by observing adults or older children and
then mimicking it. You can often see this playing out in family groups
where a dominant, aggressive parent will berate and bully their spouse,
draining them of energy, who may then use passive-aggressive techniques
to gain pity and sympathy, from friends or family draining them in turn.
Children observe this and learn to adopt either:
♦ A passive aggressive, ‘poor-me’ style, demanding sympathy and assistance without any serious
intention to change their situation
♦ An aloof, detached style, requiring others to spend a lot of time and energy trying to
connect with them
♦ An interrogating, critical style, seeking to undermine others through criticism, sapping
♦ Or the more aggressive and overt, dominator style that seeks to overpower and intimidate
I class all energy theft as a form of predation, and the thinking that
goes with it as ‘the predator’, because regardless of whether the technique
is covert or overt, it involves the theft and devouring of someone else’s
energy - their life-force.
In extreme cases, this is obvious - the work place psychopath, the
sociopath and narcissist have developed successful techniques for stealing
energy from others in a conscious, planned way, literally draining the
reserves of those around them. Do not be fooled however, we all do it to
some degree if we are not taking care of our system’s energy needs through
Entertainment and media, especially, reinforce these patterns by
feeding the dominant thought patterns of this predatory mind-set,
through fuelling our fears, anxieties and insecurities, prompting division
over gender, race or beliefs and draining society and the individuals
within it of energy. Ill-gotten gains are never sweet, however, and the
predatory path of energy management leads to more despair, insecurity
and ill health, leading us to consume more of the earth’s resources, trying
desperately to re-charge our batteries.
Clearly the predatory path is not sustainable and it is at the root of
many of society’s ills. It is the voice in your head telling you ‘I’m not
good enough’ that fuels jealousy, greed, anxiety, violence and addictions.
It sets in motion chemical feedback loops within the body/mind that
may persist for years, reinforcing and deepening our unhappiness, until
we believe that voice is us, forgetting that it is something we learned and
adopted. It is a false mind that prevents us from activating our natural
predisposition to living in harmony with each other, our environment
Fortunately, we can free ourselves from this negative energy pattern, by following
some common-sense steps that free our body-mind to be healthy and energized, allowing
us to be the best we can be, and make the most of our time on this precious planet.*
To discover the 7 Keys to Energetic Health go to:
The Energy Code by Elisabetta L. Faenza
*Faenza, Elisabetta L., The Energy Code,Motivational Press, New York, 2014, pp88-89
In this age of ubiquitous social media opportunities, more businesses are trying to leverage the medium to create sales, influence behaviour and develop loyalty. Most fail, spending lots of money and time trying to be 'liked' and then trying to work out how to translate these 'likes' into sales - what is known in the industry as 'monetising.'
There are many offers around to buy likes, whether through your Social Media provider in the form of advertising or some third party, but this strategy ends up having the opposite effect; reducing your impact as well as the quality and relevance of your followers to your brand. Buying 'likeability' simply doesn't work, you have to earn likeability organically because it is the glue that attracts and keeps your followers, converting them into customers.
I read an article recently by Arel Moodie in Forbes Magazine about likeability as a key factor of influence:
"We do business with people we know, like and trust. If people don’t like you, they won’t buy from you. If you sell something someone else sells, why should a customer buy it from you rather than them?"
"Increasing your likability is one of the best ways to separate yourself from the herd. Likability is accessible to everyone. Like anything else, it can be learned. If you offer a good product or service and people like you, your competition won’t be able to touch you."(Arel Moodie is the best selling author of The Art of Likeability).In our research we have identified the key components to rank highly in the social media realm, building likeability and sales. The research confirmed that successful communication in the digital realm has much in common with traditional print media; a picture paints a thousand words, snappy, relevant content is crucial, and a great headline trumps all.
Interesting, original and highly relevant images make you stand out, however - and this is a big one - they must be linked to content that is valuable to your target market. A headline of 3-4 words, with a high quality image that has an imbedded link featuring the first paragraph of an article or blog, seems to get the most impressions, views and likes; utilising the way algorithms prioritise posts on social media platforms.
So to build likeability, influence and sales via social media, you need to be able to access high quality, proprietary, original images, and have a great copywriter providing the headlines and the content. For most small organisations that's not something they can manage in house, because those skills are developed over a lifetime. It's kind of like suddenly having to become your own magazine or newspaper editorial team with copywriters, graphic designers and photographers on staff.
So what can you do?
This is where outsourcing comes in, but here is the caveat - and it's a big one. The team managing your social media must know you, must understand who you are, what makes you special, why you do what you do, and they must be able to write outstanding copy. Farming this out to some offshore team at the cheapest possible price will get you the same result as buying likes - nowhere!
So for true likeability that is in alignment with the who, what, when, where and why of your brand you need specialists who can do more than SEO and social media integration. You need a team who have expertise in:
- Brand Development and Consultation (understanding who you are)
- Communication Mentoring
- Social Media Strategy
- Strategic Content Creation
- High Quality, Proprietary Image Creation
- Ghost Blogging and
- Social Media Propagation
Here's a sneak peak from my next book in The Energy Code series - The Charisma Code...
Charisma and the Science of Influence
Have you ever wondered why some people exert more influence than others or are more likeable? We often describe people or organisations that grab and keep our attention and influence our behaviour as charismatic or likeable.Charisma, however is more than just popularity and more than an ability to influence or lead.Charisma is an ancient term, derived from the Greek word charis meaning 'divine gift of grace.' In this sense 'gift of grace' means a skill or ability given to a mortal by the gods for the benefit of the world. This gift was given in order to fulfill an extraordinary destiny or to change the course of history. While in modern times we associate charisma with beauty and persuasiveness, there is a lot more to it than that. Some people demonstrate aspects of charisma either natural or learned, while some fake charisma, creating a cult of personality to increase their celebrity or political power. I would argue these do not represent true charisma, which is something much more profound.In its original sense a charmed or charismatic person was said to have the following attributes:1. A special gift or talent2. An ability to inspire others through their passion for life or a higher purpose3. Audacity in the face of adversity - the ability to break through and lead by example4. Grace and benevolence - putting a greater purpose ahead of their own needs, sacrificing their own comfort or well being for others.5. Attractiveness - not just physical, a beauty of the mind, spirit or character, likeabilityCharisma should not be confused with manufactured popularity or a cult of personality that uses propaganda in order to increase or maintain power. There is one attribute of charisma that helps us to tell the difference between the real thing and a fake. That quality is grace or benevolence.Of course advertising or propaganda can be used to create the impression that someone is charitable, kind, compassionate and giving, but it cannot be faked in person.So can charisma be learned?Charismatic behaviors can be modeled and mimicked. We can become better communicators, develop our abilities or talents through hard work, make ourselves more attractive, but only life experience will determine whether we become more graceful, compassionate and wise individuals. This is the difference between leaders who seek to have power over others, and those who find themselves in a position of influence to change the world for the better.Teams with a greater purpose outperform others. They retain their highest performing team members and report a greater sense of personal satisfaction and team loyalty. This leads to ongoing business improvement, further innovation and talent retention, which all contribute to market leadership.Communicating likeability is crucial.Alignment and authenticity are crucial. Faking likeability is a short-term solution, as is using public relations to 'look' like a good corporate citizen, because in the information age, sooner or later the faker is found out. Not every brand or individual will change the planet, but if we can connect to a deep passion or purpose, perhaps we can us our influence to advance one small area of our world for the better.
Lipton is a Cellular Biologist and former Professor at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine. After some 20 years as a pre-eminent biologist, pioneering the cloning of cells, Lipton realised that the cell tuned itself to its environment, and it was the environment, not our DNA that determined our evolution. He realised that the environment provides the cues that a cell uses to determine which codes to switch on or off. Even more startling, Lipton provides proof that cells actually assemble new DNA in response to environmental conditions.
Perhaps, most startling of all, Lipton shows that cells borrow DNA from other species, and that the human body is actually a community of differentiated cells, working and cooperating with foreign species - like the bugs in our gut - to do more than survive.
All of this goes hand in hand with what quantum biologists are discovering about the way DNA codes are affected by emotions, behaviour and environmental conditions.
What Lipton adds to the debate is that every cell in our body is listening to our thoughts, feeling our emotions and responding to the thoughts and emotions of others. Like ripples in a pond, the DNA within our cells organises itself according to the needs of the cell and then broadcasts this response into the environment.
Now the ramifications of this growing body of science are astounding. There is a revolution occurring in the world of the evolutionary sciences. Darwin is no longer pre-eminent with his 19th century doctrine of survival of the fittest, and the determinism of the genes. Darwin's contemporary, and the first to publish a theory of evolution - Lamarc - was long pilloried for his belief that cells are more than factories at the whim of flight or fight responses. His thesis that an organism evolves through co-operation is at long last being considered by modern science. In the battle for hearts and minds in the scientific community where nature seemed to triumph over nurture, the tide has turned. Nurture now seems to be the determining factor in what gets expressed by genes.
What all evolutionary scientists, cell biologists and geneticists agree upon, however, and what is often not conveyed to the general public, is that our genes are how we store and transmit the memory of our experiences from one generation to another. Our DNA is a portable library, one where new books are being written, old books re-read, and others edite
So what does this mean for you and I?
It means that we are not at the mercy of our genetics: that unless we suffer from one of a small handful of genetic conditions like aplastic anaemia, our genetic make-up is far more mutable than previously publicised. The environment we live in, the experiences we have and the choices we make about our environment, behaviour and thoughts determine what gets switched on or off, or indeed constructed in our DNA.
As someone who was born with a potentially fatal genetic condition, I have experienced the power of choice in my life. The choices I have made around healthy food, to exercise regularly, avoid alcohol and tobacco, pharmaceuticals and recreational-drugs has helped me to beat the odds. However, the decision to manage my thoughts and emotions has been even more profound.
By focusing on positive outcomes and committing my energy, intent and actions to the steps that will make these outcomes a reality, I know I have changed my destiny. I did not perish at three years of age, from bowel disease, although I was diagnosed with it. I did not die at 12 as a result of the four strokes I suffered. I was not in a wheel chair at fourteen or dead before adulthood. I am now nearly 50 years old, the mother of four healthy children with a full and productive life. I have outlived my mother, who died at 44 of breast cancer.
In short I have made the best of a bad lot. What the future brings is anybody's guess. What I do know is that I have choices, and I will continue to exercise my ability to choose as long as I draw breath. I will continue to thank the collection of 50 trillion or so smart cells that make up my being, and send them supportive, healthy messages through the physical, emotional and mental choices I make; and I will acknowledge the messages they send to me, and interpret them in context, choosing the most appropriate response.
For me, the quest to understand our biology and how our DNA, environment, behaviour and emotions interact is extremely personal. However, you don't need a genetic condition for this to matter. It is in the interest of all of us on this planet to ask ourselves a simple question each day.
"What have I cast my vote for today? Through the choices I have made did I vote for health and a productive, useful life, or did I vote for something else?"
This is what I have asked myself every day since I was twelve years old and a doctor gave me a death sentence. Through my choices, I believe I proved him wrong. Thanks to scientists like Lipton, I can begin to understand why.
This article is an excerpt from The Energy Code, by Elisabetta L. Faenza, published by Motivational Press for release late 2014.
[i] Lipton, Dr. Bruce, H., The Biology of Belief, Hay House, NY,
Spirit Science and MetaphysicsThe discovery of gravity waves recently has got the scientific community buzzing as the ramifications of this discovery are debated.Gravity waves were predicted by Einstein in 1916 as a biproduct of the general theory of relativity and the sudden inflation of the universe that occurred after the big bang. Gravity waves are ripples in the curvature of space-time, but have, until very recently, been undetectable. Their recent detection gives credence to physicists who have posited that inflation theory underpins the existence of countless, inflating, simultaneous universes, each with their own unique physical laws.Discussed below is a book entitled "Biocentrism: How Life and Consciousness Are the Keys to Understanding the Nature of the Universe," by Dr. Robert Lanza. Dr. Lanza takes the theory of relativity and applies it to human consciousness and the nature of the universe. Lanza posits that our experience of this universe resides within our own perception - our own electromagnetic shell, so to speak, and that when we die, we are released from that shell and our consciousness moves into another universe, existing on another frequency in a world much like our own.Some quantum biologists have entered the debate of late suggesting that the microtubules in our brains process quanta of information and upon our death, lose integrity and release this information into the universe, where it is not destroyed but continues to exist in the form of electromagnetic energy.While Lanza has come to his cosmological view through a study of astronomy, quantum physics and cosmology, his conclusions sound strikingly familiar. The ancient teachings of shamanism, and mysticism describe multiple universes experienced through the layers of our individual energy fields. Furthermore, many traditions describe the near death experience as something akin to uploading your life experience to the cosmic consciousness (sometimes described as the eagle's beak) and the importance of personal energy to consciousness after death.Lanza's theory is known as biocentrism, which sounds strikingly like the work of Teilhard de Chardin, co-discoverer of Peking Man, and conciever of the Omega Point. Teilhard believed that the universe is a consciousness that is ever evolving, perfecting itself through the experience of everything within it:So everything old is new again - both literally and metaphorically. It seems that modern science is re-discovering through technology and theoretical physics what many ancient philosophers conceived through revelation, and by so doing, sorting the wheat from the chaff.I am ever grateful to be living through this amazing time of discovery and debate...Enjoy...
A book titled “Biocentrism: How Life and Consciousness Are the Keys to Understanding the Nature of the Universe“ has stirred up the Internet, because it contained a notion that life does not end when the body dies, and it can last forever. The author of this publication, scientist Dr. Robert Lanza who was voted the 3rd most important scientist alive by the NY Times, has no doubts that this is possible.
Beyond time and spaceLanza is an expert in regenerative medicine and scientific director of Advanced Cell Technology Company. Before he has been known for his extensive research which dealt with stem cells, he was also famous for several successful experiments on cloning endangered animal species.
But not so long ago, the scientist became involved with physics, quantum mechanics and astrophysics. This explosive mixture has given birth to the new theory of biocentrism, which the professor has been preaching ever since. Biocentrism teaches that life and consciousness are fundamental to the universe. It is consciousness that creates the material universe, not the other way around.
Lanza points to the structure of the universe itself, and that the laws, forces, and constants of the universe appear to be fine-tuned for life, implying intelligence existed prior to matter. He also claims that space and time are not objects or things, but rather tools of our animal understanding. Lanza says that we carry space and time around with us “like turtles with shells.” meaning that when the shell comes off (space and time), we still exist.
The theory implies that death of consciousness simply does not exist. It only exists as a thought because people identify themselves with their body. They believe that the body is going to perish, sooner or later, thinking their consciousness will disappear too. If the body generates consciousness, then consciousness dies when the body dies.
But if the body receives consciousness in the same way that a cable box receives satellite signals, then of course consciousness does not end at the death of the physical vehicle. In fact, consciousness exists outside of constraints of time and space. It is able to be anywhere: in the human body and outside of it. In other words, it is non-local in the same sense that quantum objects are non-local.
Lanza also believes that multiple universes can exist simultaneously. In one universe, the body can be dead. And in another it continues to exist, absorbing consciousness which migrated into this universe. This means that a dead person while traveling through the same tunnel ends up not in hell or in heaven, but in a similar world he or she once inhabited, but this time alive. And so on, infinitely. It’s almost like a cosmic Russian doll afterlife effect.
Multiple worldsThis hope-instilling, but extremely controversial theory by Lanza has many unwitting supporters, not just mere mortals who want to live forever, but also some well-known scientists. These are the physicists and astrophysicists who tend to agree with existence of parallel worlds and who suggest the possibility of multiple universes. Multiverse (multi-universe) is a so-called scientific concept, which they defend. They believe that no physical laws exist which would prohibit the existence of parallel worlds.
The first one was a science fiction writer H.G. Wells who proclaimed in 1895 in his story “The Door in the Wall”. And after 62 years, this idea was developed by Dr. Hugh Everett in his graduate thesis at the Princeton University. It basically posits that at any given moment the universe divides into countless similar instances. And the next moment, these “newborn” universes split in a similar fashion. In some of these worlds you may be present: reading this article in one universe, or watching TV in another.
The triggering factor for these multiplyingworlds is our actions, explained Everett. If we make some choices, instantly one universe splits into two with different versions of outcomes.
In the 1980s, Andrei Linde, scientist from the Lebedev’s Institute of physics, developed the theory of multiple universes. He is now a professor at Stanford University. Linde explained: Space consists of many inflating spheres, which give rise to similar spheres, and those, in turn, produce spheres in even greater numbers, and so on to infinity. In the universe, they are spaced apart. They are not aware of each other’s existence. But they represent parts of the same physical universe.
The fact that our universe is not alone is supported by data received from the Planck space telescope. Using the data, scientists have created the most accurate map of the microwave background, the so-called cosmic relic background radiation, which has remained since the inception of our universe. They also found that the universe has a lot of dark recesses represented by some holes and extensive gaps.
Theoretical physicist Laura Mersini-Houghton from the North Carolina University with her colleagues argue: the anomalies of the microwave background exist due to the fact that our universe is influenced by other universes existing nearby. And holes and gaps are a direct result of attacks on us by neighboring universes.
SoulSo, there is abundance of places or other universes where our soul could migrate after death, according to the theory of neo-biocentrism. But does the soul exist? Is there any scientific theory of consciousness that could accommodate such a claim? According to Dr. Stuart Hameroff, a near-death experience happens when the quantum information that inhabits the nervous system leaves the body and dissipates into the universe. Contrary to materialistic accounts of consciousness, Dr. Hameroff offers an alternative explanation of consciousness that can perhaps appeal to both the rational scientific mind and personal intuitions.
Consciousness resides, according to Stuart and British physicist Sir Roger Penrose, in the microtubules of the brain cells, which are the primary sites of quantum processing. Upon death, this information is released from your body, meaning that your consciousness goes with it. They have argued that our experience of consciousness is the result of quantum gravity effects in these microtubules, a theory which they dubbed orchestrated objective reduction (Orch-OR).
Consciousness, or at least proto-consciousness is theorized by them to be a fundamental property of the universe, present even at the first moment of the universe during the Big Bang. “In one such scheme proto-conscious experience is a basic property of physical reality accessible to a quantum process associated with brain activity.”
Our souls are in fact constructed from the very fabric of the universe – and may have existed since the beginning of time. Our brains are just receivers and amplifiers for the proto-consciousness that is intrinsic to the fabric of space-time. So is there really a part of your consciousness that is non-material and will live on after the death of your physical body?
Dr Hameroff told the Science Channel’s Through the Wormhole documentary: “Let’s say the heart stops beating, the blood stops flowing, the microtubules lose their quantum state. The quantum information within the microtubules is not destroyed, it can’t be destroyed, it just distributes and dissipates to the universe at large”. Robert Lanza would add here that not only does it exist in the universe, it exists perhaps in another universe.
You’ve probably heard the term ‘muscle memory’ before.
Well it turns out your muscles literally have a memory, along with every other cell in your body.
The same researchers that discovered that our DNA processes light and sound waves have discovered that each cell in our body has three Gigabytes of memory storage.
They believe that what we have termed the ‘subconscious mind’ is actually the function of the DNA in every cell of our bodies.
This memory holds our inherited and learned behavior patterns, memories, experiences, beliefs and skills.
It’s like a massive database of information that makes us, well us... it makes each of us unique.
Now it is estimated we each have 70 trillion cells in our body, so with three Gigabytes of memory per cell that equates to some 210 thousand, trillion Gigabytes or 210 Zettabytes of memory per human.
That’s 210 with 21 zeros after it, worth of memory storage in your body.
In 2013 the world’s computers were estimated to have reached 4 Zettabytes of combined storage capacity, less than one fiftieth of the storage capacity of a single human being’s DNA.
And what is even more amazing is that just like a computer, we are able to switch the biological codes on and off and re-program the behavioral software within this DNA database.
The ladder of our DNA Double Helix holds enormous storage capacity
Recently scientists have discovered that the every piece of DNA code is read by the cell in multiple ways, doubling or even quadrupling the amount of information that can be simultaneously encoded.
This appears to be the reason humans don’t need nearly as many DNA codes as was previously believed to be necessary to account for our complexity.
It’s the infinite potential of DNA’s interaction with our experiences that makes us so complex.
You can learn more about how DNA and environment interact in Elisabetta's upcoming book - The Energy Code, published by Motivational Press.
Elisabetta's other books include The Energy Bucket, The Infidel and the soon to be released Veritas.
Learn more about Elisabetta and her work at:
When I began studying human performance back in the early ‘80s I was full of questions. There was in fact very little published literature on the impact of the environment on DNA, our cells and the brain, and how these influence the way we develop behaviors.
The classical literature in the field treated the brain as a black box (to borrow an analogy from my good friend Dr. Dan Diamond). We had evidence of people’s response to the environment in the form of the things they did, and we could ask them about how they felt about their experiences. Behavioral scientists could even predict certain behaviors based upon reflex and the theory of conditioned response. But we had little idea how behaviors linked together neurologically, how habits were formed, or how we could unlearn an old behavior and adopt a new one. These things were literally hidden from view inside a black box that some believed we would never be able to peer into.
Whenever researchers proposed a theory or created a new therapy to treat behavioral problems they were often guessing, and hoping that these methodologies would help people, and make a positive difference to their lives. As a result psychology, psychiatry and neuroscience were not considered ‘hard sciences’ because much of the theory was untestable.
All the while, biologists, quantum physicists, psychologists, psychiatrists and neuroscientists, assisted by breakthroughs in the technology of peering into the black box, were gathering two types of evidence:
1. Evidence that the brain’s functions are localized and fixed and therefore would one day be able to be predicted, and controlled.
2. Evidence of anomalies to the accepted map of brain localization that signaled the brain might be plastic - highly changeable and not fixed, and that our approach to the brain and behavior was built on a false premise.
Today, some thirty years later, science has accepted the view that the brain is plastic, and that behaviours and memories are not stored in fixed locations. The evidence is overwhelming.
This new science is starting to be taught in universities all over the world, although it will be years before high-school biology textbooks reflect it. And in the ‘real’ world where people work and live together, we behave as if the older theory is still intact. We count humans as a cost rather than an exceptional resource, and change as something to be feared and survived rather than embraced.
In our interactions with each other in our homes and workplaces, in our hospitals and communities, many of us labor under the illusion that once injured, the brain cannot heal itself, and that ‘old dogs cannot be taught new tricks.’
My own experiences and obsession to understand the deeper biological underpinnings of behavior has of course influenced my practical work as a hypnotherapist and personal effectiveness expert.
In working to improve the performance of groups and individuals in the workplace, I was aided by my knowledge of the mind, and assisted by productivity and time-management tools.
Over and again I would be asked by managers to help them teach Stephen Covey’s ‘Seven Habits of Highly Effective People’ to their teams, or embed the ideas in the latest Time Management Blockbuster into the workweek. Books like David Allen’s ‘Get Things Done’ or Tim Ferris’ ‘4 Hour Work Week,’ contain helpful strategies to more effectively manage the things we do in the limited time available to us.
These strategies cannot and should not be undervalued. They provide useful tips to getting more done in less time.
However, unless we address the workings of the ‘black box’ of the mind, all we are ever doing is tinkering around the edges of productivity. While it is important to know how to handle the ‘stuff’ of our lives - the stuff that happens to us, the stuff we experience around us, and the stuff we do - our habits do not change through intellectual realization alone.
The reason for this is that habits are laid down over time and by repetition. Any new habit has to compete for resources within the brain and is competing with well-resourced, highly entrenched older habits. This is why, for most of us, habit change is a difficult process filled with fits, starts and reversals. It’s why our old, bad habits reassert themselves so prominently when we are under pressure and most in need of newer, better ones, and why we resist change in any area of our lives.
It is when our jobs are on the line, our company is in trouble or budgets are squeezed that we should be able to rise to the challenge and demonstrate highly productive behaviors. In my experience, working with sales teams around the world, the opposite is usually the case.
Eleven years ago I met Matt Church, the founder of the ‘Thought Leaders’ community, and he encouraged me to turn my passion for understanding the ‘black box’ of the mind into a practical guide for individuals and managers. ‘The Energy Code’ is the end result of that process.
My purpose then in writing this book is to provide a practical guide for the layman: extending the influence of complex multi-disciplinary fields like epigenetics, neuroscience, quantum biology and concepts like brain plasticity into our homes and workplaces and into our schools and hospitals, so we do not miss the opportunity to revolutionize the way we work together, the way we heal after trauma and build resilience into our personalities.
The Energy Code is a very practical book designed to help people to understand how the mind works and how three things determine behavior:
1. Our genetics,
2. Our environment, and
3. Our energetic health
It is my sincere wish that you, the reader, embrace the ideas and concepts in this book and question them, test them and prove them for yourself. If out of that comes a positive change in the way you interact with your family, work colleagues and community, my purpose will have been met.
The Energy Code is published by Motivational Press and due for release in the Northern Hemisphere summer of 2014.
What is Charisma
Have you ever wondered why some people exert more influence than others, or why some people seem to be forgiven anything?
Charisma is more than just popularity and more than an ability to influence or lead. People have been successful without it, while many apparently charismatic people lead rocky lives, squandering opportunity and all that adoration. So what is real charisma?
Charisma is an ancient term, derived from the Greek word charis meaning 'divine gift of grace.' In this sense 'gift of grace' means a skill or ability given to a mortal by the gods for the benefit of the world. This gift was said to be given in order to fulfill an extraordinary destiny or to change the course of history in the Greek tradition of interfering and warring gods.
While in modern times we associate charisma with beauty and persuasiveness, there is a lot more to it than that. Some people demonstrate aspects of charisma either natural or learned, while some fake charisma creating a cult of personality to increase their celebrity or political power. But I would argue these do not represent true charisma, which is something much more profound.
In its original sense a charmed or charismatic person was said to have the following attributes:
A special gift or talent that sets them apart or makes them superhuman
An ability to inspire others through their passion for life or a higher purpose
Audacity or courage in the face of adversity - the ability to break through and lead by example
Grace and benevolence - to put their talent, calling or greater purpose ahead of their own needs and sacrifice their own comfort or well-being for others.
Attractiveness - though not necessarily just physical beauty but perhaps a beauty of the mind, spirit or emotions
Charisma should not be confused with manufactured popularity or a cult of personality that uses propaganda to create the false image of charisma in order to increase or maintain power. Hitler, Lennin and Mao were students of history who used the ancient symbols of charismatic leaders to gain charisma by association. In the studies below it is revealed that these symbols are deeply imbedded in our psyche and in the past could be used to manipulate individuals or an entire populace.
In my historical research it is clear that there is one attribute of charisma that helps us to tell the difference between the real thing and a fake.
That quality is grace or benevolence.
Of course propaganda or publicity can be used to create the impression that someone is charitable, kind, compassionate and giving, but it cannot be faked in person. People who pursue power, celebrity or leadership as an end in itself are not truly charismatic and will always put their own needs before others. They may however exhibit some of the characteristics of charisma, and these may lead them to success in their chosen field.
So can charisma be learned? It has been proven that the behaviours of charismatic people can be modeled and mimicked. We can become better communicators, we can develop our abilities or talents through hard work, we can do lots to make ourselves more attractive, but only life experience will determine whether we become more graceful, compassionate and wise individuals. This is the difference between leaders who seek to have power over others, and those who find themselves in a position of influence who change the world for the better, often at their own cost.
In another study, cited below, it is also shown that we can foster these characteristics in the workplace, building charismatic teams to drive innovation and profits. In the companies I have studied that use these team building systems there is a startling difference between teams with a greater purpose - charitable or community based, and those teams who were solely profit driven. Those with a purpose beyond money retained their highest performing team members and report a greater sense of personal satisfaction and team loyalty. This leads to ongoing business improvement, further innovation and talent retention, which all feed into the profit equation.
I think the important thing to recognise is that publicity and propaganda can only create a short term charismatic effect. These are the techniques of choice for the frauds and tyrants of the world. Individuals and businesses whose mission is to have a positive influence on the world need a different approach based on the attributes of charisma. So perhaps rather than trying to fake charisma we could instead be learning and emulating these characteristics.
So if you seek to have more influence and charisma ask yourself:
1. Do I have a talent or gift that others need?
2. Do I inspire others with my passion for life and my calling?
3. Do I stand up for others and what I believe in, or do I stand by while injustices are committed?
4. Am I compassionate and giving rather than just thinking about what's in it for me?
5. Are others attracted to me for more than my appearance - perhaps by my kindness, vivacity, intelligence, tenacity, courage or insight?
If you honestly answered YES to more than three of these characteristics it is likely you are perceived to have Charisma, but to be truly, charismatic you need all of these qualities.
If you are a business can you answer these questions in the affirmative? If you do then is your brand in alignment with this?
At the end of the day, alignment and authenticity are crucial. Faking charisma is a short term solution, as is using public relations to 'look' like a good corporate citizen, because in this age of ubiquitous information sooner or later the faker is found out.
Not every brand or individual will change the planet, but if we can connect to a deep passion or purpose perhaps we can advance one small area of our world for the better.
This is where mentoring can help. Work with someone to help you discover your purpose and then build your career or brand from the inside out, while learning the skills to become a center of positive influence.
Even if you don't wish to be more influential, understanding charisma and influence can ensure you don't get taken in by a fraud or led astray by an influential authority figure at home or at work.
LisPosted on 28 July 2011JFK, Martin Luther King Jr., Winston Churchill, Mother Teresa. You probably think the only thing they have in common is that they are all now deceased. Guess again.
When they were alive, each of them seemed to have some sort of aura to them, which many considered to be the gift of charisma.
In fact, the word charisma comes from Greek and means “divine gift of grace.” Traditionally, charisma is viewed as an inherent quality, you either have it or you don’t. But is this allure really just a reward to the chosen few?
Well, according to an article in Psychology Today, charisma is not in fact a magical or mysterious quality. While some seem to have a naturally charismatic personality, for the rest of us this trait can, in fact, be developed and trained. So, yes, if you are more like a Ben Stein than a Steve Jobs, there’s still hope for you my friend.
You might be wondering how charisma can help you as a manager. I’ll explain, but first a history lesson. Nearly a century ago, German sociologist Max Weber divided authority into three types: traditional, bureaucratic, and the charismatic. In his studies, Weber place a particularly strong focus on charismatic leaders and stated those type of leaders inspire loyalty and devotion of their followers.
Think about the examples at the beginning of this column– all those leaders displayed a personal magnetism that helped draw people to them and made people want to work with them. And they continue to inspire us to this day.
As a manager, you have to motivate people to take action, and to accomplish this is to present your strategy in a compelling way in order to inspire others.
Even if you don’t naturally possess a charismatic personality, there are small steps you can take to help maximize your success:
Increase your visibility.
Charismatic leaders tend to make themselves seen and heard. They make an effort to motivate people, whether by listening and responding to them, or by working alongside them. These leaders use enthusiasm to encourage people and get them moving toward important goals.
Think about ways you can leverage this strength throughout the organization, including coaching and being a role model for others. Keep the adage, “Actions speak louder than words” in mind. Actions should always be consistent with what you say you believe.
Learn to be persuasive.
Leaders with this characteristic present their strategy in a clear, easily understood manner. Try to negotiate through difficult situations and arrive at mutual agreements in a skillful way, and learn to negotiate and persuasively state your opinion. If that sounds easier said than done, take a class or workshop on mediation techniques to help you learn to negotiate win-win solutions to problems.
Magnetic leaders know what they want and how to get it in order to achieve goals. Using pressure to meet goals is an important tactical skill that should be used to communicate urgency, importance, and accountability. But keep in mind that this skill, if over-used or over-relied upon, can be an inhibitor to effectiveness, so learn when it is appropriate to push the boundaries. Consider that each person responds to different types of motivators, and learn to tailor your strategy to the needs of your team members.
Remember that charisma helps build confidence. And if you’re a confident leader, it will be passed on to your employees.
Measuring the Impact of CharismaCan we measure the impact of charisma?Can we really tell who will succeed in a business competition before we even hear their ideas? The answer may surprise you.
As it turns out, what counts most may not be what you say, but rather how you say it. There is a certain style of social interaction - one that our research group has identified quantitatively - that is highly predictive of success in a variety of situations.
One recent study in our research group focused on executives attending a 1-week intensive executive education class, where the final project in the class was pitching a business plan. We outfitted these executives with sociometers - specially designed digital badges to measure social signals such as tone of voice, proximity to others, energy level, and more. When the executives wore these sociometers at a mixer on the first evening of the week-long course, their social styles at the mixer were predictive of how well their teams' business plans would be perceived one week later at the end of the course.
What we found was that people with a certain social style - a kind of energetic but focused listener - acted as "charismatic connectors." The more charismatic connectors a given team had among its members, the better the team performance was judged during the business plan pitch. One important point to remember here is that it was not simply one charismatic individual, but rather a charismatic team, that pushed them toward success.
One reason these teams performed better may be simply that the members worked together better. We found very similar results in a separate study focused on brainstorming: the more of these energetic, focused listeners that were on a team, the better the quality of their brainstorming. In brainstorming sessions with teams whose social style was similar to these "charismatic connectors," the resulting quality of the talking was characterized by high levels of listening, more even-handed turn-taking, and high levels of engagement, trust, and cooperation.
These "charismatic connectors" are the ultimate team players - and the key to making a team successful. Their style is marked by a kind of energetic listening - but they are not the normal "extravert" or "life of the party" type. Rather, they appear to be interested and focused on everyone in the group and what they have to say. While this may all appear utterly obvious, the truth is that social science has had, up until now, very few ways to measure such behavior objectively and quantitatively and in real time. With new tools such as the sociometer, management science has the possibility of really becoming a science.
Dynamics Behind Magical Thinking and Charismatic Leadership RevealedScienceDaily (July 15, 2011) — Research by Columbia Business School's Michael Morris, Chavkin-Chang Professor of Leadership; Maia Young, assistant professor of Human Resources and Organization Behavior, UCLA Anderson School of Management and Vicki Scherwin, Assistant Professor, Management and Human Resources Management, California State University, Long Beach, suggests that we attribute certain leaders to be charismatic through "magical thinking." The paper, recently published in the Journal of Management, reveals how this deep-seated process in human cognition is involved in the attribution of charisma.The researchers wanted to explore why some managers become hailed as charismatic, visionary leaders, with consequences for employees' attitudes and actions toward them. A well-known example of this phenomenon is Steve Jobs; his mystique as a charismatic visionary has been earned in part by his spellbinding presentations of Apple products. Would audiences be as wowed by his informal, spontaneous pitches if they observed the ten hours of practice Jobs commits to every ten minute pitch? Would knowing his method make him seem less magical?
The study features three different experiments. The first tests whether ascriptions of mystique are associated with perceptions that the manager is visionary and will succeed in forecasting future business trends. The second examines whether managers who perform well in the absence of an obvious success-mechanism, such as extensive practice or technical skills, are more likely to be imputed mystique and judged more capable at tasks that require vision but not those that depend on administrative skill. In the third study, subjects judged two executives -- one succeeded through vision and the other succeeded through hard work. The results show that, compared to the hard-working executive, the visionary executive was judged to be more creative, curious, and charismatic.
The research results suggest that charisma is sometimes an illusion. While managers can establish a reputation as a transformational, charismatic leader in a number of valid ways, managers can also gain the mystique of charisma by veiling how they accomplish what they do, like a stage magician. Prof. Morris, who leads Columbia Business School's Program on Social Intelligence, elaborated on a point elucidated by this area of research, "Winning in business and political endeavors comes not only from performing well, but also from managing the interpretations that others make of your performance."
While the organization may benefit from the establishment of a new executive as a leader in the eyes of the followers, such theatrics can also be dangerous, as they limit the transfer of skills from this manager to others. Hence, the research findings suggest that firms should probe more deeply when recruiting executives on the basis of charisma.
Charismatic Leadership Can Be Measured, Learned, Study FindsScienceDaily (Feb. 8, 2011) — How do you measure charisma? That's the question UT professor Kenneth Levine seeks to answer.Much has been written in business management textbooks and self-help guides about the role that personal charisma plays in leadership. But according to a newly published study co-authored by Levine, a University of Tennessee, Knoxville, communications studies professor, until recently no one was able to describe and measure charisma in a systematic way.
Levine said the large amount of academic literature on charismatic leadership never defined what it means to actually communicate charismatically.
"There's this illusion that we know what charismatic communication means, but in the research I reviewed, no one had ever really looked at that," he said.
Levine and his co-authors, Robert Muenchen of the UT Statistical Consulting Center and Abby Brooks of Georgia Southern University, surveyed university students and asked them to define charisma and pinpoint the behaviors of people they thought were charismatic.
"Everyone has a leadership capacity in something," Levine said. "But we found that if you want people to perceive you as charismatic, you need to display attributes such as empathy, good listening skills, eye contact, enthusiasm, self-confidence and skillful speaking," he said. Those are the attributes social scientists can measure to more fully understand charismatic communication.
Levine says the most surprising result was that the students felt that charisma was not just something you are born with, but something you can learn. "We asked the question 'What is charisma?' and their answers tended to start with 'the ability to…' Well, abilities are believed to be acquired attributes rather than inbred traits, so a lot of people believe that charisma can be learned."
Levine says the research makes the case for incorporating these concepts to better measure the level of charisma of individual leaders.