Chapter One

Fishing For Brains

The other (not so silly) metaphor to change how we use our brains

(An excerpt from Chapter One)

Very (very!) simply put, humans all come equipped with two different brains. What we’ll call the Red Brain comprises two parts – the reptilian brain (the basal ganglia) and the paleo-mammalian brain (the limbic system, including the amygdala). These parts of our brain are specialized at keeping us alive in one of two ways: hunting, fighting, and killing; or running, hiding, and avoiding being killed. And boy is the Red Brain ever good at this!

The other brain we all have we can call the Blue Brain. This is the prefrontal cortex, the so-called “higher brain”, the rational, self-aware, thinking brain. Basically, it is the Blue Brain that allows us to be conscious, rational, and intelligent problem-solvers. The Red Brain simply helps keep us alive and safe.

Hunting – engaging our Red Brain with the other party’s Red Brain – can threaten or damage the relationship. When operating in our Red Brain, we always see the other person as a threat to be addressed, not a partner to work with.

On the other hand, when the Blue Brain is in charge, we become curious, interested, and engaged. We naturally start asking questions instead of telling. And the reverse of this is also true – when we choose to solve a problem the BrainFishing way by asking questions instead of telling, we automatically engage the Blue Brain, both ours and theirs. It works in both directions.

The stark difference between hunting and BrainFishing ultimately rests on intention. On what, deep down, you are trying to do or to accomplish. If you go into the interaction with a true “catch and release” mindset, with the intention that you will actively work toward a solution or agreement that listens to and respects the other person, that benefits both parties, then BrainFishing is the sport for you.

BrainFishing will succeed short term and long term in almost every interaction or relationship you have.