Hard-wiring, 101: Who’s idea is this, anyway?

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Have you ever noticed resistance to accepting or sometimes even just hearing an idea from another person? Maybe you’re sitting in a meeting and people are exchanging ideas around the table. There are usually a few who will be the most insistent about their own ideas, and a few others who will not seem to have much to contribute. That’s because we’re all hard-wired to have sort of a sliding scale of how much of our own fingerprints we need to see on an idea in order to best accept it.

Now, speaking as someone at one extreme end of the scale (I like to see lots of my own fingerprints, full disclosure), my unchecked instinct response is to like my own ideas the best. I also like a lot of autonomy—freedom to just figure it out and do it my own way. And all the ways I keep that in check are learned responses to my natural hard-wiring.

Those on the opposite end of the scale may appear to have no opinion, but that’s rarely true. More often, they want to know all the options and possibilities in order to go with the BEST idea. It doesn’t need their fingerprints for them to accept it.

And everyone else is somewhere on that spectrum in between.

Important note: hard-wiring reveals tendencies and more like our default settings, especially in new situations. It does NOT reveal personality, behavior choices, experience, or anything else that life teaches us. This is just the stuff that nature hard-wires into the neural pathways of our brains. (What?!)

Awareness of our hard-wired tendencies is the best way to gain more control over how we show up to other people.

Here is something simple you can try next time you’re in a situation where there’s an exchange of ideas.

  • First, pay attention to your natural inclination. What’s your gut telling you to do?
  • Second, gauge whether that gut instinct will help you or hurt you in that moment.
  • And finally, adjust accordingly.

And now I’ll model one way I keep my hard-wiring in check through intentional behavior…

If you decide to try this out, we’d love to know how it goes, so leave us a comment and share your experience!

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