A monthly column by social entrepreneur and A2B Transformation Group founder Vivienne Schultz.
Have you become a cat who carries dirty rats?
Did you know that it requires almost no higher brain function to find fault in something or someone? In fact, faultfinding is a sign that the fearful part of the mind is in control, causing the human to sideline his or her creative problem-solving capacity to instead fixate their whole being on a very small part of an issue.
We have seen so much of this over the past few years — and now, with a new president, there is ample scope for all the sharp-tongued critics to appear; those who are great at finger-pointing, without putting any innovative solutions on the table.
How sad that there are so many adults who remain so small-minded, and restricted! They remain occupied and stuck with small-picture problems to such an extent that they can’t access any of their higher brain’s capacity for innovation.
Instead, they become contaminated with that small picture, rendering them useless to the world as long as they remain in that state of being.
When humans enter this small-picture, faultfinding mode, they struggle to understand the context of a problem, and instead become obsessed to exaggerate the small picture at the cost of common sense and the cost in the bigger picture. They are simply driven by the primitive brain — the part of your neural hard drive that drives impulsive, compulsive and instinctive reactions.
When the primitive brain feels unsafe, it ignites fear, fight or flight responses. The result is a frail sense of self (egocentric), like a cat who managed to catch a rat (a fault) and needs to be acknowledged for their great deed.
Deeper assessment will often reveal that the fault-finder easily dwells on problems and lacks rich possibility-driven thinking when it comes to conversation-making.
The real question is whether or not pointing out faults can positively change anything. Criticism is only productive if followed through by solution-orientated action that is persevered with up to task completion point.
Intellectual snobbery is a negative energy that contaminates the world — it helps in no way! In fact, critics are not good for this earth at all.
I may sound harsh, but let me tell a story to explain.
I recently hosted fancy Christian accountant and his wife from a fancy suburb, along with their child who is on medication for obsessive compulsive behaviour at the A2B farm in Magaliesburg. We offer personal optimisation camps to help introduce humans to the concepts of occupational intelligence and responsiveness, and how these can help them develop whole-brain problem solving.
You need to understand that the camp is not offered in luxury accommodation. This only causes participants to sink into a comfort zone from whence it is easy not to change, but to posturise, pretend, and find reasons why change is not necessary. So every aspect of the training pushes participants out of their comfort zone.
Back to Mr Fancy Pants and his family. They arrived in a perfect car, with perfectly chosen branded clothing, yuppie hi-tech gadgets, perfectly packed outfits all colour-matched and stored in individual zip-loc bags in their branded suitcase.
They could expertly use all the Christian jargon in perfectly appropriate ways. Being anxious about their child who has serious problems, they felt deeply out of control, but hoping for a quick fix in spite of being eager to learn.
Their arrival was a challenge — the dog was excited to see them as they encountered the smells of a farm — the animal feedlot, the smell of living cows….
They had to share a room with humans from different cultures and income groups. They had to eat food that was prepped by themselves and share bathrooms. They were provided with activity challenges where they had to make do with insufficient toolkits and equipment.
Don’t get me wrong — the purpose is not to embarrass or dehumanise anybody. It is exactly the opposite — only when faced with challenges or problems where we do not feel in control, do we humans show our true colours. We show our knee-jerk reactions (and not our higher brain responses).
During debriefing, Mr and Mrs Fancypants admitted that their minds were totally hardwired to focus on the small picture. Get this: They counted a total of 3 000 — yes, three thousand! — criticisms (of which 70 were racially orientated, and others materialistic, or person-focused) between the two of them over one night and day.
With a shock they realised their brain had become totally hardwired and locked onto worldly matters. Their Christianity was a total bluff in their minds. The moment they were taken out of their economic and religious comfort zone, their negative energy contaminated the world.
Under normal circumstances, they said, their next step would have been to gossip across the fence with their neighbours. Like the cat with the rat, they had death on their tongues!
If this article is hitting the hammer on the nail for you, you are probably saying: It’s the only way my mind works — in small pictures, defaulting in seeing the problem and filling my lips with small picture talk — I can’t help myself. I inherited these DNA characteristics (My nature) or I was brought up to be perfect and right, and got punished on for my wrongs (nurture / parenting). Now I am hardwired and can’t change!
The nature vs nurture debate is as far from the truth as can be, especially for believers. And now behaviour science helps us to understand that what the Bible teaches is indeed true: Our brains are neuro-plastic. We can grow new neural pathways and change our behaviour. The Bible calls this the renewal of the mind and repentance.
If you want to stop being a critic, a disempowerer and perpetrator, you should realise there are no quick fixes. A life-long rewiring journey is required, but it is within reach.
The A2B Transformation Movement has developed a rewiring toolkit that brings a person faster into consciousness of self and daily helps you on your journey towards wholeness.
If you are tempted to finger-poimt or criticise, please refrain. Also, do not be a passive bystander. Propose active support and innovative ideas — and implement!
“The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena.” — Teddy Roosevelt
Vivienne Schultz — 082 6767219