Building brain friendly community

What do worker bees, living in Hulbert St.
Fremantle and cancer survivors at a group meeting have in common?

They are all connected by community.

At the TEDx Perth event last Saturday, Mat Welch, Shani Graham and Professor David Joske were some of the great speakers
who talked about connection, happiness and wellbeing.

Mat spoke about the lives of honeybees and
how their inter-relatedness is essential to the success of bee society. Shani
shared her personal story about how she instigated sustainable community in the
street in which she lives, and how social connectivity has since spread rapidly
like the ripples on a pond.

David shared some of the lessons he has learned
from his patients who have cancer, and his desire to see humanity restored to a
much higher level in the practice of medicine.

The premise in these talks and in many of the
others on that day was simple:

As humans we are wired to socially connect
with others.

Social cognitive neuroscience. Yes, it’s a
mouthful and will definitely impress your friends when you introduce it into
your next conversation. There are some amazing people who work in this area of
brain research, and my one all time favourite social cognitive neuroscientist
on the planet, is one Professor Matthew Lieberman.

Matt Lieberman has a gift. Not only is he an
extremely intelligent person with an amazing brain, he has devoted over 15
years into the study of social cognitive neuroscience.

I have had the pleasure of hearing Matt speak
and I wanted to share with you his TEDx talk where he talks about our social
brain and it’s associated superpowers.




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He has also just published a book called
Social: Why our brains are wired to connect.

People matter. Our ability to connect with
each other matters.

It’s why in all of our relationships, knowing
how to successfully engage with others, relate to others, empathise with others
allows us to be compassionate, collaborative and community focused.

Mother Theresa once said, “Loneliness is
the greatest of human suffering”.

Social pain, whether it is a broken heart, being
on the receiving end of cyber-bullying or being overlooked for a promotion, is real pain and pain that is often deeper
and longer lasting than physical pain. We ignore it at our peril.

Where businesses and organisations struggle
with increasing levels of disengagement or lack of motivation, the solution
lies less in offering financial incentives and bonuses and far more in ensuring
a person feels respected, valued and part of the team.

Knowing how
to reduce social pain, so as to enhance relationships, effective
communication and leadership is not only desirable, it is eminently possible.

Your plastic brain is capable of rewiring itself
in response to our ever-changing environment. The Brain Change program examines
our social brain, why we find change so difficult and how to incorporate social
intelligence to promote a higher level of contribution, wellbeing and

Which would you rather have?

An extra $100 in your pocket or feeling
acknowledged and respected for the work and effort you have put into a particular


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