At a busy airport, Bob and Sam collide. And their two brains save the day…
BOB: (running, out of breath) “Aha! That’s my plane!”
SAM: “I’m sorry, sir. The gate is closed.”
BOB: (pushing forward) “Nonsense! I’ve gotta be in Peoria by 3:00! Don’t be a jerk!”
(Sam’s brain: (telepathically to Bob’s brain) Ouch! What am I supposed to do with that? I’m no jerk.)
(Bob’s brain: Well, when I’m stressed, I automatically default to this strategy: stress fuels aggression…because aggression relieves stress. So, pushing, being loud, and calling you a jerk, feels good…it takes the edge off…and it seems productive…at the moment, of course. I’m a little nervous about the long run.)
(Sam’s brain: You should be! Because I default to that stress strategy, too...here goes…)
SAM: (raising a hand) “NO, you’re the jerk, sir! Step BACK! This…gate…is…CLOSED!”
(Bob’s brain: Oof! This isn’t working—I’m still stressed and no closer to Peoria. Let me switch from automatic to mindful…I’m gonna try three slow breaths…then choose thoughtfully…Can we try again?)
(Sam’s brain: It depends. What’ve you got?)
BOB: (stepping back, exhaling) “I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have said that. You’re not a jerk. Can you please help me get to Peoria? I’m worried I’ll miss a big job interview.”
(Sam’s brain: Much better! And, by the way, sharing your emotions and interests like that connects me to you…I understand worry…I’ve had important meetings…I feel your pain…I’m inspired to help…watch this...)
SAM: “Okay, I get it. Let me call the captain. Maybe she’ll bend the rules for us today.”
P.S.: Sam gets Bob to Peoria…Bob lands the job…and the “muscle” in Bob’s brain that wrenches him from automatic to mindful thinking gets a little stronger.
P.P.S.: I’m taking my brain to the gym now.