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  • Writer's pictureTrisha Lord

Ease - the third component of the Thinking Environment

The third component of a thinking environment is actually a product of the first to when people know that they're going to be listened to with genuine interest, and they know that they're not going to get interrupted.

Knowing that you won't be interrupted is a world of difference from just happening to get lucky and not be interrupted.

So when you know that people are going to listen to you with genuine interest and not interrupt you, and when you know that you're going to get a turn, a lot of what makes us uneasy, starts to leave the system, and be replaced with this beautiful component, the third component of a thinking environment, which is the component of ease.

In the thinking environment, we define the components of ease as freedom from internal rush, and urgency, and remember - I've talked about this already - the components are a way of being, a way of treating each other.

So the way we present the component of ease for people, is that we slow down, and we actively connect with an internal experience of having time. When we do that, what we communicate externally to the person that we're listening to is: "I have time for you. I'm not in a hurry, I want to know what you think."

You'll remember I talked in the component of equality, about keeping agreements and boundaries. So the really interesting thing about the component of ease is that - if you don't have to have a lot of time - in order to present the component of ease, you can be clear with the person that you've got five minutes or ten minutes, and you can create the boundary of the time that you have.

Then within that time that you have, you can settle back and communicate with your whole body with your eyes and with your face: "I'm here, I'm with you. I'm not distracted, there's nowhere else I'd rather be." and be at ease with that person so that they can also be at ease with themselves.

This is absolutely vital for the quality of thinking that we do. We know now from neuroscience, that when you put someone under pressure, when you create an environment of chaos of crisis management, of unrealistic deadlines in unrealistic timeframes that cannot be produced, that the conditions that you produce in that person's brain are the hormones of adrenaline and cortisol.

The conditions that you produce for that person will trigger that person's amygdala and produce what they call in neuroscience, an "amygdala hijack", and under those conditions, that person literally cannot think for themselves.

The only kind of thinking that they will have available to them under those conditions are the four F's fight, flight, freeze, or if it's really bad fate, what they won't be able to access is their prefrontal cortex, which is where all the thinking that we want from people is housed: their imagination, their creativity, their capacity to solve problems, their ability to be strategic, to think into the future, and to come up with their finest, most creative, freshest, most intelligent thinking.

None of that is available to people unless we create the conditions which enable people to be at ease.

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