The Debate Debacle!
The Neuroscience of The Presidential DEBATE
Regardless of what side of the political world you’re on, I think most people watching The Presidential Debate were in utter shock. As a former classroom teacher (for over two decades) I can tell you I would have NEVER allowed any of my students to talk to one another the way our two candidates did on Tuesday night.
But…. why did it go so horribly wrong?
Did neuroscience play a role in the insanity of the debate meltdown? The answer to that question is a resounding YES! If you think of communication like a water hose, you can better understand how your brain works. In order for the water (or communication) to flow, the hose must have a clear path to travel. However, if one side of the hose has a kink in it, or something is stopping the flow….the pressure builds up on the other side until it bursts.
This is precisely what happened during the debate. Communication (at least the civilized kind) was blocked and as the pressure built up, it exploded. The same is true for you and I.
When we’re talking to someone who says something that hits a nerve; it instantly ignites a “mental trigger” in our brain putting us in a DEFENSIVE state. The moment we become defensive, our brain goes into protection mode and is no longer thinking rationally or logically.
In this defensive state, your brain cannot differentiate whether it’s PROTECTING you from a rattlesnake or PROTECTING you from the words of someone who hurt your pride.
So, let’s take a closer look at the debate fiasco….. because mental DEFENSIVENESS is exactly what happened. After the initial greeting pleasantries of each candidate, you could see how the very first question TRIGGERED feelings that put them in a defensive state. And, once they both went there…. they never returned to a rational, reasoning brain state. Hence, the nightmare that followed.
What does this debate have to with you and me?
1. Remember what those two men looked like during the debate and ask yourself if that’s ever what you want people to think about you. There are many ways to get your point across. But the moment you put someone into a defensive state…. THEY’RE NO LONGER LISTENING.
2. The next time you feel yourself getting defensive. Take a PURPOSEFUL PAUSE, breathe deeply, count to 5, and think of something you love. The whole process will take you less than 30 seconds. But, it’s long enough to send your brain into a new pattern (other than defensive).
Because once you get there, you’re no longer THINKING. Defensiveness is all about protection, not wisdom!
Start today and become aware of how people behave once they get defensive. It’s never pretty and it’s often down right embarrassing!