The Default Mode Network and human downtime

By Creative thinking, Learning, Longevity, Psychology, Spirituality, Success No Comments

You have around 100 billion brain cells (neurons). Each of these neurons has about 7,000 inter-neuronal connections. Estimates differ for adults, but your brain has about 250 trillion connections.

The Default Mode Network (DMN) comprises a network of interacting parts of the human brain. When you not working and not ‘doing’, the DMN lights up.

I have meditated since I was in my 20s. I find that it makes me calmer. It helps me to find new ideas which would not have materialised during my busy life (we have four children, one house, one garden and I am self employed, amongst other things).

I have found that mediation connects me to a different way of thinking – as opposed to the frenetic ‘beta brainwave state’ that drives the business world and much of Western civilisation*. When you are in beta, your logical left brain is active as well as your critical abilities.

Technology (which I love) is often to blame, for all of this ‘busyness’. Who invented email? Who invented smartphones? Who invented social media? Many of us spend a considerable proportion of our time staring at screens of different sizes, trying to keep on top of it all.

Would it be a better world if we all slowed down a bit?

By the way, the DMN is active when you are planning for the future. Imagining a positive, interesting and engaging future is time well spent.

The Dalai Lama once said that the busier he gets, the longer he spends meditating. (Have you noticed how much he laughs?)

Tony Buzan sparked my interest in the human brain. My office was across the corridor from his, for five years. I learned a great deal from Tony and he included one of my Mind Maps within one of his books.

* Interviewer: “What do you think of Western civilisation?”
Mahhatma Gandhi: “I think it would be a good idea.”

Nigel Temple is a creative thinking trainer / public speaker.


Leonardo da Vinci and the case for curiosity

By Creative thinking, Learning, Longevity, Psychology, Spirituality, Success No Comments

leonardo-da-vinci-vitruvian-manDo you like asking questions? In a meeting, are you known as someone who asks lots of questions? Or are you content to sit and listen?

I am often surprised by the questions that people ask me. Sometimes, I am concerned that they don’t ask enough of them.

Leonardo da Vinci lived by seven principles:

Curiosity: continually ask questions and have a thirst for knowledge.

Demonstration: show me how it works; test your knowledge.

Sensation: be aware of your senses.

Smoke: embrace uncertainty.

Art and science: whole brain thinking.

The body: mens sana in corpore sano  (a sound mind in a sound body).

Connection: everything is connected to everything else.

In the 21st century, it seems to me that da Vinci’s principles have never been more relevant.

“I awoke, only to find out that the rest of the world was still asleep.” ~ Leonardo da Vinci

Image courtesy of Wikipedia / Gallerie dell’Accademia Venice. Photograph by Luc Viatour /


Running towards success

By Longevity, Psychology, Success No Comments

In my mind I am a runner (!)

Yesterday, I went out for a run. Well, OK, a jog. Or, more accurately, a fast walk with brief bursts of jogging. I haven’t been for a run in a long time. Yes, I know that exercise is good for me. Luckily, having a house provides me with countless opportunities for exercise. Going out for a jog made me think about habits. As I find myself saying to my clients: “Knowing a thing and doing that thing are two different things entirely.”

There are many things that are good for us, both from a health and a business point of view. Why don’t we do them all? For example, with regards to growing your business, good habits include continual learning, creative thinking, creating more brand awareness, building your network, writing frequently and responding to sales leads as rapidly as possible.

What breaks a good habit? A change in circumstances. Work overload. Sudden success. A health setback. Mood swings. Life in general. (This could be a long list, couldn’t it?)

I really can’t remember why I stopped running. Mind you, as I am a workaholic with a wife, four (grown up) children, a house and my own business, I imagine that it was general ‘bizziness’.

Running your own business is easier if you are in good shape. Although my legs feel like jelly today, I will be going for another run tomorrow.

As you know, the benefits of keeping fit include sleeping better, weight control and an alert mind. What’s not to like? Besides jogging, what other forms of aerobic exercise could I take up, in your view? With regards to habits and starting or re-starting the good ones, what springs to mind in your case?

Written by marketing consultant, trainer, speaker and author Nigel Temple.
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Staying in the positive

By Longevity, Psychology No Comments

If you studied a large group of people for several years, you would find that their temperaments fell across a normal distribution curve. On the left of the curve lies perpetual unhappiness. On the right side of the curve is a life of continual joy. Most of us fall somewhere in the middle of these two extremes.

There are times when, for no particular reason we feel down. At other times, the sun shines into our lives again. The thing to notice is to what extent external circumstances are driving these physical changes within you. After all, Monday morning comes around once a week. Sometimes it rains. Today it is raining but I feel great – because I have chosen to spend my professional life doing something that I enjoy.

There is a natural rhythm to life. Some days can be challenging. During other days, the whole world can seem to be working against you.

“A smile is your greatest social asset.” ~ Zig Ziglar

“Whether you think you can or can’t – you’re right.” ~ Henry Ford

“Whenever a negative thought concerning your personal power comes to mind, deliberately voice a positive thought to cancel it out.” ~ Norman Vincent Peale

Being positive can benefit your health, attract more people into your life (mostly positive thinkers) and keep you cheerful. I am pretty sure that it helps you to live a longer (and of course happier) life. The alternative, for me, would be difficult to live with.

As you know, regular exercise, a good diet and sufficient time to wind down all help. Work wise, find something you love to do and then find a way of making money doing it (it took me a long time to realise that I love to teach and for many years I have been a marketing trainer).

As a business person, I find that it helps me with my sales and marketing activities (who wants to buy from an unhappy person?)