We are hard-wired to be like the Fraggles.
But we are better off being like the the Doozers.
Be A Doozer Not A Fraggle
If you’ve ever watched the 80s tv show Fraggle Rock, you know the Fraggles and Doozers.
The colorful, fur tuft tipped tail Fraggles only have a 30-minute work week. They dedicated their time to carefree enjoyment and play. They don’t like to think or work.
The small green ant like Doozers spend all their time building things. They are dedicated to work and their profession as builders.
Here is the challenge: the lazy Fraggles love to eat the Doozers’ buildings. Why work when they can so easily just eat someone else’s hard work?
Thinking Is Work And Our Brains Prefer Not To Do It
According to psychologists C. K. Hesse and Randy Buckner, as well as author David DiSalvo, we are hard-wired to be lazy like the Fraggles. We prefer it. Our brains default to it. It feels safe.
But we are better off being like the Doozers.
Our brains don’t like to think. Thinking is work. Work uses up resources.
Our brains prefer to conserve our resources in case we end up in an unsafe, unpredictable, fear-of-the-unknown environment.
We are like the Fraggles. And our prehistoric brain reward system is tough to overcome.
However, we need to override our brain’s need for predictability to learn and remember. It is only when we work at learning something do we actually retain it.
The Magnetism Of Predictability And Autopilot
When our brain experiences something over and over again, the brain identifies the pattern. It is predictable. We know what is going to happen next. These types of experiences make our brain happy.
During these predictable experiences, our brains go on autopilot. They know the outcome from past experiences, so they allow our attention and focus to wander.
Researcher and neuroscientists Randy Buckner explains in “The Brain’s Default Network”
A web of neurons, dubbed the default network—spanning three brain regions (the medial prefrontal cortex, the posterior cingulated cortex, and the parietal cortex) are activated when our brain flips on autopilot.
We are no longer focused in what is in front of us. It becomes like noise in the background.
When the conference experience is very predictable, so much so that we know what is coming next and feel very safe, our brains lose focus. They switch to autopilot.
Predictable conference experiences lead to autopilot which leads to lost interest and lost focus. We are no longer present for the experience.
The challenge is we cannot learn if we have lost interest and are in autopilot.
Tell The Brain The Benefits Of Work (Thinking)
Our brains are willing to work. We are willing to be like the Doozers when we have a sense of direction, purpose and know the benefits of the outcome.
When we try learning something without knowledge of what’s in it for us, we end up with negative reactions. We become disillusioned and frustrated.
We are better off understanding that our need for predictability can lead us astray.
When we help the brain understand the benefits of work (thinking), change or the unpredictable, we can override our prehistoric brain.
Then true retention and learning can come.
How have you successfully trained your brain to do something differently? When should our need for predictability and tradition override other decisions.?