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Hope January 14, 2011

Posted by wooddickinson in 7 Habits, Change, executive coaching, Hope, Life Coach, Neurobiology.
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I’m writing a new workshop that’s primary task will be teaching Hope. I know that it seems natural for people to be just hopeful or not but that isn’t really the case. As it turns out science has been able to displace malformed ideas and misunderstood concepts about why we do what we do. Hope falls into that category.

If the idea that genetic determinism has much impact on our daily actions and decides major overall traits such as intelligence, then eugenics would have proved to have been a successful experiment. As we know all eugenics did for us was pave the way for the Holocaust of WW II.  I say that but must also mention eugenic experiments were also tried here in the USA before WW II through the sterilization of certain groups of individuals mostly those perceived as under privileged and unintelligent. To learn more about this blot on US history read the book War Against the Weak: Eugenics and America’s Campaign to Create a Master Race by Edwin Black.

Genes determine the shape of a jaw or the color of the eyes and may indicate some possibility for future illness but it does not make us who we are. Environmental determinism plays a much larger role in two ways. First the physical location where people live brings with it environmental factors people have to adapt to. Climate, geography and even political realities set up a situation that will bring on certain actions by the people impacted. Eskimos have distinct differences from Arabs and a large part of that difference is caused by environmental conditions.

The second type of environmental determinism includes the smaller family unit. As a child grows patterns are set in a neurobiological way that may cause the child to live out certain choices when she grows to adulthood that may be positive or negative. This is especially true for what happens to a child during its first 18 months of life.

So if environmental determinism creates a negative impact we are told building a proactive nature will eventually cause change in our way of life that creates a positive impact. I don’t think so. Like a smoker, the quitting of smoking is a very difficult things. Seemingly impossible for some. Why? The nicotine addiction is over in two weeks but the wires in the brain are still there telling the smoker to have a cigarette now. What has to happen is the cutting of the wires in the brain that drive smoking and putting in new wires for non-smoking. This is a very painful and difficult task.

We call it a smoking habit and like any other habit we have wiring in our brain that reinforces our actions. Wearing a nicotine patch doesn’t solve the problem. I think you’ll find that in smoking there isn’t enough proactivity in the world to help a person stop. I know. I’ve been there.

Dr. Norman Dodge suggest in The Brain That Changes Itself that that the process of rewiring our brain is not only possible but can be controlled. Only through this effort can a habit be changed. How this relates to hope is coming…

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