I recently had an episode of Labyrinthitis. The symptoms included the world spinning really quickly every time I opened my eyes or moved from lying down on my left side. Because this was extremely unpleasant, I laid still and did my best not to move my head at all. While in this prone position my entire focus was on remaining still, and I noticed things that were normally outside of my awareness. I could feel blood (I assume) pumping around my head, smells became stronger, and most noticeably of all, my hearing improved dramatically.
The Doctor confirmed that this was normal. She called it hyper-sensitivity. To me it was like a superpower! Like many people of my age, I am having to get used to an amount of hearing loss, but here I was, able to hear like a guard dog.
I couldn’t understand (I still don’t, to be honest) how my hearing could improve so much. It was like speaker volume being turned up from its usual setting to something 30% higher. Like a vehicle which can go at 100mph, but is limited to 65.
And that got me thinking. (Later, when the world stopped spinning). How we have our ‘normal’ settings, and that we are unaware that we could be so much more effective.
My specialism is communication. And as you read that last sentence and this one, your brain will make connections to your existing knowledge of communication. You may be reminded of things like open and closed questions, active listening techniques, body language, tone of voice, personality types, or something else you have learned in this field.
Because our minds automatically make connections to what we already know, what is quite unlikely is that your brain will be triggered into thinking of ‘what’s possible’ in the field of communication.
In sports, we can take a look at how they were played in the past, and compare to how they are played now and see that in many of them, massive improvements have taken place. Look at gymnastics from 30 years ago, look at high jump before Dick Fosbury introduced his ‘flop’ or the skills that today’s footballers or cricketers have at their disposal. Many of these were completely unimaginable only a few years ago by people at the top of their sport.
Sport is a useful comparison because is it observable and measurable. What happens inside our heads is less so. But are you prepared to accept that there could be ways that we communicate, both with ourselves and others that could improve our performance?
Albert Einstein said: “Logic will get you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere”
What’s possible in this field is really exciting. Neuroscience is expanding our knowledge of how the brain works, and it’s almost a full-time job to keep up with all the latest discoveries. An area that I am focusing on is how our communication can be a gateway for improvements in three key areas:
Clarity. We see what we see. If you’ve ever had the experience not seeing something that was in plain sight, or only noticing something when you slow down and focus on what you are looking at, you will be aware that only a limited amount of what our eyes absorb do we consciously ‘see’.
When I ask a client a question like: What kind of work would you like to be doing in 2 year’s time, I normally get an answer, but it’s not specific. It’s vague, doesn’t have a lot of energy around it, and the words seem to tail off. If I ask a different question, like: What kind of relationship are you looking to create with your new partner, or what is the culture you want to create in your team? I get answers with a similar quality.
Yet using different communication methods, we can access levels of clarity not experienced before. It’s as if this information is just below the surface of our awareness, and is happy to show itself in the right conditions. It leads to a rise in energy and positive emotions.
In much the same way that we don’t notice certain things in plain view, most of us cannot see where we are not clear, but with the right tools you can discover a clarity within you, that you didn’t know you had.
This clarity can lead to two further improvements: creativity and collaboration.
As we see more, we can see connections between things that lead to new ideas, and we can work with others in a way not possible before. We create a culture, both within us, and around us, that fires our imagination in ways that didn’t seem possible previously. We connect with people with respect, with curiosity, and with care that allows a collective increase in clarity and creativity.
Clarity, creativity and collaboration – each enhancing each other. Now that’s what I call a Superpower!