Archive for the ‘People’ Category

Quotes That Support the Need for Brain Training

February 15th, 2013 Kevin No comments

Here are a few favorite quotes from authors and researchers whose work supports the need for brain training. I open with a joke that involves, of course, talking lab rats.

Two Rats Walk Into A Lab

Two rats walk into a lab and one says to the other: “You know, I’ve got that guy wearing the white coat over there really well trained.” His buddy, amused, asks: “Oh yeah, how’s that?” The first says to his mate: “Watch this. Every time I push this buzzer here, [a brief pause occurs] … here he comes with my snack, just like that! Life is so simple.”

If Only Life Were So Simple

Everyone who’s struggled with weight gain, depressive thoughts, or unexplainable behavior like emotional outbursts, in other words most of us, knows life is not simple.

What Got You Here Won’t Get You There

Life experiences train our brains a certain way and after a while, that training sticks. After that it can be very hard to change. But one day, something can happen that will change your brain for the better and help you guide it to where you want to go. Scientists like those quoted below are beginning to share the problem of our brains on autopilot and hint at some solutions. And so, we don’t have to be pushing buttons or getting our buttons pushed: we can choose another way. Specifically, we can get the treats we want in life when we take more control over how our brains work.

In that spirit, here are some quotes that support the need for brain training. Enjoy!

The Quotes

Control Matters

Everything we experience – joy or pain, interest or boredom – is represented in the mind as information. If we are able to control this information, we can decide what our lives will be like. — M. Csikzsentmihalyi, Flow, p. 6

Choice Of What We Control Matters Most

S. Covey referring to Victor Frankl, “Between what happened to him, or the stimulus, and his response to it, was his freedom or power to choose that response.” — S. Covey, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, p. 69

We Do Not Control Most Of What We Do

The first thing we learn from studying our own circuitry is a simple lesson: most of what we do and think and feel is not under our conscious control. … Our brains run mostly on autopilot, and the conscious mind has little access to the giant and mysterious factory that runs below it. — D. Egilman, Incognito, p. 4-5

The brain, like the rest of our bodies, acts on its own before we become consciously aware of its actions. “Free will” may involve more of a veto power prior to action/inaction than the other way around. — M. Gazzaniga, The Ethical Brain, p. 93

Others See Our Lack Of Control Before We Do

As Donald Hebb… pointed out, outside observers are often more accurate in characterizing emotional feelings than the experiencing subject. … Hebb noted that when observers agree and the subject disagrees about an emotional state, the conclusion of the observers is often a more reliable predictor of future behavior. — J. LeDoux, Synaptic Self, p. 202

And We Tend To Overrate And Overestimate Our Abilities

In social psychology experiments, people consistently overrate their own skill, honesty, generosity, and autonomy. They overestimate their contribution to a joint effort, chalk up their successes to skill and their failures to luck, and always feel that the other side has gotten the better deal in a compromise. — S. Pinker, The Blank Slate, p. 265

Control Increases When We Learn To Take Charge Of What We Focus Upon

Remember that it’s an attention economy in the brain: where we put our focus determines the wiring that we create. — D. Rock, Quiet Leadership, p. 127

Mindful Intention Requires A Lot Of Energy

An easy way to stress people out is to make them do too much at once. Planning, decision-making, and other aspects of mental life suffer when the executive [brain] is overloaded. — J. LeDoux, Synaptic Self, p. 179

Threats Can Ruin Everything

When we encounter a threat, we tend to be so focused on our own anxiety that we’re not good for much else. Everything except our own needs goes out the window: someone in emotional distress is not likely to care about, or even notice, the needs of anyone else. — S. Begley, Train Your Mind, Change Your Brain, p. 193

Paying Attention Triggers Lots Of Related Networks

Even when we “merely” think about an object, we tend to reconstruct memories not just of a shape or color but also of the perceptual engagement the object required and of the accompanying emotional reactions, regardless of how slight. — A. Damasio, The Feeling of What Happens, p. 148

Memory Is Selective And Reconstructive

[Memory is] a reconstruction of facts and experiences on the basis of the way they were stored, not as they actually occurred. And it is a reconstruction by a brain that is different from the one that formed the memory. — J. LeDoux, Synaptic Self, p. 97

Control Requires Us To Shift Energy From One Area In The Brain To Another

[Work in LeDoux's lab] suggests that the prefrontal cortex and amygdala are reciprocally related. That is, in order for the amygdala to respond to fear reactions, the prefrontal region has to be shut down. By the same logic, when the prefrontal region is active, the amygdala would be inhibited, making it harder to express fear. — J. LeDoux, Synaptic Self, p. 217

Creating New Habits Can Enhance Our Control Over Our Life Goals

To improve people’s performance help find new ways to approach situations that leave existing habits and brain wiring where they are. Allow for the development and hard-wiring of new habits. — After D. Rock, in his book, Quiet Leadership

We Take Control Of Our Brains By Rephrasing, Redirecting, and Refocusing

To help people find solutions, help them rephrase what they desire rather than what they do not want, help redirect their attention from the past to the future, and discuss what is present rather than what is absent. — After B. O’Hanlon, Do One Thing Different

Wrapping Things Up

In multiple locations elsewhere in this blog, I support the work of these scientists by proposing practical solutions. The number one theme? Get involved. Get involved with how your brain works and try news things out. Wish to stop the inside chatter? Try calculating some simple math equations. Want to get to sleep, visualize all the animals in the zoo, favorite ones first. Have a sincere desire to stop feeling sad or angry about someone? Offer an imaginary loving hug to him or her with muscles of your arms, chest and face flexing in your mind’s eye. These and more brain-focused tactics can become the tools of the trade for you as you embark upon a journey to get along better with and guide your brain to a happy and successful future.


Kevin Leahy,

Brain Trainer, Knowledge Advocate, LLC, Austin, TX

Categories: Brain power, People Tags:

The Back 98™: Ego– Shrink Wrap for Our Selves

October 25th, 2011 Kevin No comments

“The Back 98″ is the name of this blog series. The name refers to parts of our brains that work with or without “us.” Some say 98% of our brains’ efforts are generally off limits to us, no one knows for sure. This series is about controlling more of our nonconscious brains if we choose.

Is my ego part of the Back 98?

It depends on what you call “ego.” Some people can control behaviors associated with their egos, many cannot. For those who cannot, ego behavior is part of the Back 98, and it can pack a wallop.

Are you saying that some egos are like shrink wrap?

Yes. Many egos are like shrink wrap: we see right through them and they can get in the way of proper operation. Over time, people who reduce ego-related behaviors achieve much better performance.

What’s the point of this post?

For many, their egos simply get in their way. This post explores removing or dampening the effect of our egos. Do that and we can improve our relationships and increase our performance too.

What’s the link between the “ego” and claims that we do not use our brains much?

I define “ego” as that essence that seeks to protect our self image from physical and mental injury. By default, egos remain mostly stable throughout our lives, i.e., they don’t change much. Indeed, parts of the brain related to the ego are hard to change… even when we want to change them.

What parts of the brain relate to the ego?

Great question, and one that is hard to pin down exactly. Ego appears to derive from a couple of different areas. The anterior cingulate cortex, insula, and orbitofrontal prefrontal cortex, for example, translate into conscious attention much of the data generated below them by the limbic system and the brain stem. The amygdala, located in the limbic system, is responsible for the threat response that drives much of our “ego behavior.” The hippocampus and hypothalamus are also involved, as are regions of the parietal and temporal lobes that integrate much of our sensory experience that makes up our self image.  The parts of the brain associated with a dampening of those regions are located more to the very front of our brains, areas such as the medial prefrontal cortex and the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex. The ventrolateral prefrontal cortex is responsible for blocking some of our egos more pernicious behaviors, like wanting to sock someone in the stomach for hurting our feelings.

Does it matter if I know all of these parts of my brain you just named?

Not really; not for applying this blog in ways that can reduce ego-oriented behaviors for you.

You mention “shrink wrap”; what is that again?

“Shrink wrap” is the plastic material that protects things we buy in the store. We usually remove it when we get home because it gets in the way of the product’s best use.

Can you offer an example?

Sure, most CD cases have shrink wrap surrounding them, that is the clear plastic material that they come in. That wrap is called “shrink wrap” and it protects the product until purchase.

Do you believe we can consciously control our egos?

In a sense, yes, because we can rewire them. Our egos establish our “first natures,” which is the way we are without any changes. We can modify the ego’s wiring to create our “second natures.”

You mean, like this: “do something enough times and it becomes second nature?”

Yes, exactly.

We can create new brain patterns that change our egos for good?

Yes. And because it is hard work, we must consciously do so. When it comes to egos, it takes lots of gumption– that is, will, intent, and belief, to do whatever it takes to get what we want.

What is the “our selves” in your title, is that a type of self that lies behind our egos?

Great question and one that awaits your own discovery. Research suggests the ego-less self may be far more productive, loving, and energetic than the one that the ego protects.

My ego catches me by surprise a lot; so is it part of the Back 98, or not?

It depends. Triggers, or hot buttons, tip us off that the ego is in the “shields up, fire the torpedoes” mode. That is Back 98 stuff. We can change our ego response and it takes lots of practice to do so.

Why bother if it takes so much practice?

Because over time, new wiring in your brain will transform your “first nature,” which is a fight or flight and ego-filled response, to a more desirable “second nature,” one of your choosing.

Alright, can you go over again what you mean by ego?

“Ego” relates to our notion of self. It refers to the set of behaviors we use to contrast how we view ourselves compared to others. It includes the idea of personality, or who we think we are.

We are who we are, right?

Maybe, yet we are always subject to change. Also, it turns out our personalities are not stable. We have proof of this when we act differently on a first date, or, when a policeman pulls us over.

What are you suggesting we do with these see-through egos? Take them off?

We all have the right to remove our egos (or at least calm them down). Our egos have served their purpose. By adulthood, if we are not careful, they can get in the way of our best performances.

I thought I needed to have my ego present and accounted for to do my best work?

You are not alone in your thinking. Commonly, people think the ego is necessary to perform well. That is simply not what the research suggests. During peak performance the ego takes a holiday.

Are you saying we do our best work when our ego is not even present?

Yes. That is exactly right, our best performances happen without the ego being present at all.

Do you have research to back that?

There is a long line of research dealing with this from the 1970s. Investigate the concept of “flow,” as identified first by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi. He studied top performers and discovered that during their best performances, their sense of self seemed to reduce, if not go away entirely.

So why do we seem to need our egos to get through challenging performances?

Beats me. All I know is what the research shows: if you have your ego present as you perform something, there is a high chance you are not peak performing at that time.

What do you recommend for removing the ego?

First, figure out your definition of ego.

Second, consider how it helps you.

Third, consider how it gets in your way.

Fourth, do a cost/benefit analysis: should it stay, or should it go? Ask others for help on this one.

Only if you are convinced it should go, or at least, be modified, then go to the next step.

Fifth, if you desire, begin to reduce your ego. Here’s some ideas on how to do just that:

1) meditate: Rick Hanson has some wonderful insights on reducing ego with meditation;

2) love: adopt a specific approach to love, e.g., Jesus Christ offered great insights as did Buddha;

3) share: sharing will bond you to others and expands your intimate circle of trust;

4) question: challenge assumptions by questioning more, do it with a sense of wonder and joy;

5) wait: be patient so that the forward-most part of your brain has time to assess things properly.

That’s it?

That’s a great start. I wish you the best of luck,

Kevin Leahy, founder

Knowledge Advocate, LLC

Categories: Brain power, People, Thoughts Tags:

Is a brain in love more vulnerable to harm? Of course.

October 14th, 2011 Kevin No comments

Brain researchers are confirming something that makes sense.

When we intentionally love some thing or some one, we encourage more glucose to travel to the brain areas associated with love. When we do that, there is less energy available in the areas that help protect us from immediate harm, whether that harm is physical like a punch, or mental, like an insult. In other words, in love our brains’ design makes us more vulnerable to attack.

Does that mean when I am in love I reduce my chance of protecting myself?

In a sense, yes. Love is a risk, we have all heard that. From a brain perspective, when we actively love, our intent to love takes energy away from the areas of our brains that help protect us.

Which areas are those, which brain areas protect us from harm?

Some that come to mind include the amygdala and hypothalamus, the insula, and the anterior cingulate cortex. These parts, which are close to the front center of our brains, help protect us.

Do you mean those areas are responsible for our ego?

They can be. As ego is commonly defined, it is a way of being that relies on a massive network of cells throughout our whole brains. These areas help define who we are in relation to others.

And you are saying in love, the definition of ourselves changes?

It can. In love, the ego seems to dissolve, or at least dampen, the need for separation, contrast, or distinguishing things. In love, the brain connects things and accepts a profound “togetherness.”

So now what? What’s the point of this post?

This post makes clear that we have the right to make a conscious decision to love at every moment and accept that when we do that, we will pull energy away from our brain’s protection system.

Does that make sense?

It can, depending on how you value the long term benefits of love. Love, once built, lasts far longer than the momentary urge to protect, repel, and disconnect. It is your choice.

Anything else?

Not for now. Thank you for being here and have a great day.

Kevin Leahy, founder

Knowledge Advocate, LLC

Categories: Brain power, People, Thoughts Tags:

Got gumption?

September 19th, 2011 Kevin No comments

Gumption is a Scotch-Irish word that appeared first in the 1700s. There is no specific word origin mentioned. “Gumption” in context: “He’ll make it through this tough time because he’s got so much gumption.”

What does it mean?

It means many things to many people. In business, it means doing whatever it takes to get the job done.

I mean, what’s the real definition?

Well, there are a variety of definitions. They have to do with a person’s fortitude, courage, and certainty for what they are doing. Initiative, resourcefulness, enterprise, these words give you the idea.

So, what is this post about?

This post is about gumption. I believe gumption is critical in today’s business environment. If we’ve “got gumption,” wonderful things will happen for company profits, people, mission and purpose.

Any tips for how to get it?

Yes. There is a formula that helps build gumption. Here’s the formula: with an open mind and generous heart add equal parts of (1) belief, (2) will power, and (3) intention.

Can you give an example of the formula?

Sure. If I hear about a new skill that helps improve my work performance, I will have gumption to learn that skill when I believe the practice will help me improve the skill, have the will power to do the practice, and have the intention to practice the skill as instructed to achieve the maximum benefit.

That’s it?

Well. There is lots more, and that is good for now. See where gumption shows up in your work life and when it is lacking, help folks learn the formula. Good luck!

Kevin Leahy, founder

Knowledge Advocate, LLC

Categories: People, Thoughts Tags:

Remind –> Reframe –> Rewind — A Formula That Will Change How You Talk

August 28th, 2011 Kevin No comments

What is this post about?

This post is about change. Specifically, it is about “in the moment” change.

What’s “in the moment” change?

That’s the kind of change that happens when you are in the middle of a conversation and you decide “in the moment” to rewind and change what you are saying.

Can you say some more?

“In the moment” change happens when we decide to think or feel differently in the middle of saying something. We say one thing and then we decide to say something else. We remind, reframe, and rewind.

I still don’t get it; do you have an example of “in the moment” change?

Sure. Here is a conversation that benefits from the formula:

John: hey Tim, got a minute?

Time: sure, what’s up?

John: we are off target and you better [John pauses as he reminds himself of the formula]

Step one: John reminds himself of a better word choice than “you”

Step two: he reframes his approach and decides to use “we” instead of “you”

Step three: he rewinds his words and rephrases what he was going to say

John: we are off target and we can fix things. Will you help me as we get a better handle on this?

Tim: [thinking John changed his words, did he really change his mind?] what do you have in mind?

John: well, I think I may have some gaps in my thinking. Will you help me fill them in?

Tim: Okay.

John: how are you sensing where we are?

Tim: thanks for asking. For starters, I feel we can…

And so it goes. This remind, reframe, and rewind formula really works. It will get you better results. Remember to combine the rewind with sincere body language that matches your new approach and intention. That will clear up doubt that the other person may have about your sincerity. Keep at the formula and you’ll get better with practice. And, people will appreciate you more for it. Good luck!

Can you summarize the point of this post please?

We all have the right to change how we approach our conversations, even in the middle of them. This three step formula helps:

(1) remind yourself of what you really want;

(2) reframe how to get there; and

(3) rewind what you said to better align the conversation with your reframed approach.

That’s it?

Yes. Let me know how it goes,

Kevin Leahy, founder

Knowledge Advocate, LLC

Categories: People Tags:

Inner speech, inner voice, and self talk: what do they all have in common?

August 27th, 2011 Kevin No comments

Before we get started, just what are inner speech, inner voice, and self talk?

These terms all refer to the same thing: that is, how we “talk” to ourselves within the privacy of our own heads. We use this kind of talk to script our stories, ask ourselves questions, answer things, and the like.

What do these terms have in common with one another?

Well, we don’t talk much about any of them. In fact, we hardly mention inner speech and inner voice at all.

What are you saying?

Well, when was the last time you told someone that you talk to yourself? Ever? Despite using inner speech daily, almost no one mentions it. We just don’t broadcast to others that we talk to ourselves.

I barely know I am doing it! Say some more?

Exactly, this talk happens so naturally that we barely know that we are doing it at all.

Do you have some examples of self talk?

Sure. We ask ourselves things like: “Will I get the promotion?” Or we say: “I am not good enough,” or maybe, “I am the best.” Or, we answer a question to ourselves: “Well at least it wasn’t my fault.”

When we think (or say) these things we are using inner speech/inner voice/self talk?

You bet.

I never ever talk about this talk; I don’t want people to think I’m a mental case, you know?

I don’t know, but I do know that our self talk is critical for our mental health. When our ability to talk to ourselves stops, that is when our ability to relate to life goes way down or worse, away, if it’s really bad.

You claim we need our inner speech to think and live in a healthy way?

That’s right. Google “Jill Bolte Taylor” and learn how a stroke knocked out her ability to talk to herself. With no inner speech she lost track of things and could not think well. Her book, My Stroke of Insight, is a brilliant exploration into how she survived her stroke and recovered her inner voice. Here is a great video about her story too:

Can you summarize the point of this post for me?

Yes: inner speech is critical to how we think. We deserve to become more aware of self talk and spend time improving how we do it. It makes good sense to talk well to our brains and to work hard to get better at it.

Any other suggestions… how should I talk to my brain?

That’s a long answer. I teach a course on commanding your inner speech. You learn to use inner speech to communicate with, manage, and lead your brain. Happy to tell you more about it.

How can I contact you?

Use this email:

Thank you for your attention,

Kevin Leahy

Knowledge Advocate, LLC

Categories: Brain power, Consulting, People, Thoughts Tags:

Motivation or Participation?

August 4th, 2011 Kevin No comments

The universe is talking. When it does that for me, I listen. Here is what it’s saying:

Focus more on participation and less on motivation.


I know. It seems so unsexy, participation. Followers participate. Leaders, now they motivate!

Not only that, but motivational speakers are awesome!

Yes they are. Very entertaining too. Motivation, it seems, has joined the ranks of theater.

Wait a minute, motivation is the real deal! Motivational speakers teach me stuff, right?

Well, maybe. Motivation’s goal is participation. The doing, it turns out, is the hard part. Go do that.

Exactly. Attending another motivational speech helps me! Fun, entertaining! It works!

Maybe so. Try a participation speaker next time rather than a motivation speaker; feel the difference.


Motivation, without more depth, emotion, and awareness, falls flat. Participation, just doing it, that anchors our actions, increases our motivation, and lets us achieve our goals. Nike got it right. Just do it.

So no more motivational speakers?

Entertainment is great. If you are lucky, it might help you remember what you really want. Then, you will participate. So if you go to get motivated, go to “get participated” too. Just do it (thank you Nike).

Where do I find a participation speaker?

Ask around. Find out who speaks and actually brings about participation that leads to action. And go listen to those folks talk. They have good things to say and will help us do things. Get participated!

What was this post about anyway?

This post challenges the common belief that we need more motivation. This post and the universe suggest to me our core need is to participate. Let’s do more of it and motivation is bound to show up!

Good luck!

Kevin Leahy, founder

Knowledge Advocate, LLC

Categories: People, Thoughts Tags:

Leadership tips

June 9th, 2011 Kevin No comments

Knowledge Advocate’s Top Ten Leadership Tips

#1: get a deck of index cards and write your favorite leadership hints on them. Review the deck weekly.

#2: adopt a leadership model and use it. Try out the model in the book, Primal Leadership. The authors present six types of leader. Well-balanced leaders rotate the type of leadership they use to fit the occasion.

#3: ask for help. Learn what help you seek by making your vision and needs clear first to yourself and then to those who are willing to follow you. They will help you far more when you clarify your needs and vision.

#4: know that all “reasoning” is argument. That means you, like most everyone else, will suffer from faulty reasoning from time to time. The remedy? Seek the wisdom of your crowd daily. We are smarter together.

#5: meet the needs of those who follow you. First, learn what their needs are by paying close attention and asking lots of questions. Then, meet those needs. Because expressing needs is hard work, help them do it.

#6: help people create new habits. New habits are the amazing and humane solution to constant change.

#7: help folks do things “no matter what it takes” by encouraging their true emotional commitment. Lead them to strong and sound emotional resolve. Trust, rapport, and confidence are good starters.

#8: each of us has an A-player inside. Changing people is hard work so change conditions instead. Change the environment and discover that the A-players you never dreamed of having are already there for you.

#9: from business chaos comes order. Nature teaches this truth. So when things get chaotic, accept the challenge and look hard to see the order. Use your big picture gifts. Own the moment and take charge.

#10: be generous. Offer continuous and uninterrupted energy of gratitude, appreciation, and thanks. Share these things directly and emotionally with those people who are kind enough to follow your lead.

Leadership is serious business. This is a solid list to reflect upon as you continue to honor your followers with your sincere effort, hard work, and clear vision. Help them help you.

Good luck!

Kevin Leahy, founder

Knowledge Advocate, LLC

Categories: Consulting, Learning, People Tags:

Leaders and managers can meet different employee needs

June 6th, 2011 Kevin No comments

What’s this post about?

This post compares leaders versus managers. I key in on the different needs that each position fulfills. Leaders and managers deserve to meet employee needs differently because of the different roles they fill.

Why the focus on employee needs?

Needs drive behaviors. When we meet them, our behaviors work for us; when needs go unmet, our behaviors can work against us. Great leaders and managers must meet the needs demanded of them.

Are there differences between leaders and managers?


What are they?

There are many ways to explain the differences, here’s one version:

Leaders vs.                              Managers

Show why                                   Answer how

Know what                                 Say when

Jump with passion                     Walk with intention

See the vision                             Hear the subtle differences

Smell the future                          Touch the today

How does this list relate to meeting employee needs?

Leading and managing are different. Each position can meet different employee needs too.

What employee needs can leaders meet that are different from the needs managers meet?

Leaders vs.                               Managers

Clarity                                          Well-being

Authority                                      Mastery

Purpose                                        Meaning

Confidence                                   Warmth

Belonging                                     Autonomy

Power                                           Growth

.                     and for both…

Security                                       Security

Recognition                                Recognition

Fun                                              Fun

Some of the needs listed are the same for leaders and managers; what’s up with that?

We all need security, recognition and fun. Leaders and managers that don’t get this are in big trouble.

You’re begging the question: shouldn’t leaders and managers meet all our needs?

Yes and no.

Say some more?

Consider the benefit of a confident leader versus a warm leader? Or a kind manager versus an authoritative manager? Sure one position can meet all of our needs at work, and that’s hard to do.

So I should focus on different needs leaders meet vs. the needs managers meet?


Then what do you want me to do with my focus?

At work today, meet the different needs of your employees depending on whether you are a leader or a manager. Figure out which needs you can meet due to your position… and go meet them.

Why should I meet the needs of my employees?

Simple: they will work better for you… here’s what happens to folks who get their needs met:

They have a better understanding of things and are okay with them;

The will forgive themselves for little foibles and big gaffs too;

They’ll get real real fast and be authentic, trusting, and trustworthy;

They will start to focus on solutions more than problems;

They’ll need less (as odd as that sounds filling needs reduces needs);

You will see them grow and develop faster;

They will be more enjoyable and they’ll enjoy more things too;

They will connect and relate better with their coworkers;

And as a bonus, you will get more creative and innovative employees.

That’s it, that’s the end of your post?


Have fun,

Kevin Leahy, founder

Knowledge Advocate, LLC

Categories: Consulting, People Tags:

Talk tool: set the frame of reference in a conversation

May 23rd, 2011 Kevin No comments

What’s a frame of reference?

It is a phrase that refers to what each person thinks or feels in a given moment. In other words, what is on the person’s mind is the reference being framed by him or her. People don’t always share the same frame!

Is it important to share the same frame of reference?

Yes, if you want to make common sense. Frames of reference guide conversations. Skilled communicators help frame references so each person gets “on the same page;” so each person shares the same reference.

What’s this post about?

This post claims that when we know what the frame of reference is and ask our questions or offer our answers with it in mind, then our talks fit in that frame better and we understand each other better too.

For example, it’s important for questioners to pay attention to frames of reference?

Yes. It’s essential.


Because all answers link in some way to frames of reference; when they are different, the answers can get confusing real quick. That’s because they often end up being answers to difference frames of reference.

How do you know that?

Experience and observation. People say things either with forethought or no thought; either way, what they say comes through in part from a stream of consciousness sponsored by the frame of reference.


So when asking questions do your colleagues a favor and make sure that you place the notion of the question in the right context, in other words, in the right frame of reference, so they can answer it well.

And if I don’t do that, then what?

Then there is a strong chance you will hear something that matches the frame of reference they had in their mind prior to your question, or, matches the frame that gets triggered by your question that is not the frame you had in mind when you asked the question in the first place.

So the point of this post is to pay attention to the frame of reference?


And we should aim our questions and answers to match it?


Anything else?

No. You’ll do great by attending to the frame of reference. Make sure you share the same one as your conversation partner and ask questions, form answers, and make statements with that frame in mind.

Good luck!

Kevin Leahy, Founder

Knowledge Advocate, LLC

Categories: People, Thoughts Tags: