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7 Information Flow

7 Information Flow

“Life is a song, sing it. Life is a struggle, accept it.”

Mother Teresa

Our nervous system runs a traffic controller. The myth about a person only using a certain percentage of their brain is a half-truth. The nervous system has metabolic limits, and specific neural activity is activated for various required needs. The mind is switchable to multiple modes of functioning, and everyone is capable of using their entire brain.

The queue of information

Our mind has a deep hunger to process all of the information that it absorbs from the world around us. That information might be negative or positive, but nonetheless our mind seeks to understand. As Bloom’s Taxonomy demonstrates, our mind starts with remembering, progresses to understanding, then to application, analysis, evaluation, and then creative thought. Excitement is a state of mind that teeters on the edge between elation and terror. When the mind is in a state of high excitement, our bodies are supercharged for action. The fight/flight/freeze portion of one’s mind is called upon to take charge of the situation and one is in a state of intense focus on the situation.

In this excited state, one will form the most permanent of memories. The information is recorded in the mind to be fully processed once the system is in a calm state. The excitement state involves the more fundamental functions of the human nerve system. When excited, one cannot process complex thought, the higher functions of the mind are temporarily disabled. The body is directing metabolic traffic to where it will be most effective during the excitement event. After the event has concluded, the higher functions of the brain come back on-line and the body relaxes.

Once back on-line the brain will attempt to process the information from the event. Until the information is fully processed by the mind it will sit in a queue. Processing information from excitement will require the full emotional capacity of the brain. The information from the state may bring about a euphoria of positive emotions, or a crucible of negative emotions, depending on the information. For example: say one is a forest ranger and is confronted by a bear in the wilderness. The bear charges aggressively, the nervous system shuts down cognition and cranks up adrenal flow, one reaches for the bear mace on their belt. Drawing the mace in the last possible moment, the ranger sprays the charging bear in the face.

The bear's sensory inputs are overloaded by the stinging chemicals of the mace, and the bear immediately retreats. The ranger is now safe again. Their body is still flooded with excess adrenaline and their mind with information about every aspect of the event. A tidal wave of feelings crashes through the mind. The feeling of terror, ‘that bear could have killed me!’ The feeling of elation, ‘I stopped the bear!’ The feeling of residual anger, ‘That’s right! Get out of here!’ The body shakes violently as the adrenaline and tension begin to subside. In the excitement one shouts and cheers, throws a stick or rock and paints the air blue with foul language while jumping up and down. The next day the ranger notices thick yellow wax as they clean their ears. The body has literally excreted the excess adrenal hormones from the event in the form of ear wax. The story of this bear encounter will be told for years to come by the ranger.

The mind of the ranger is preoccupied for days, perhaps even weeks unpacking every last detail of the event. Where did the bear come from? Were there other animals present? Did I stray off the beaten path? Will I encounter the bear again? Is this bear going to be a nuisance to park guests? Why did the bear charge me? Could I have done something differently? The list of questions that the mind wishes to process is the absorption of the total information produced from the event. Our mind is seeking to perfect the situation for possible future occurrences. The event was positive excitement teetering on the edge of elation and terror, the situation concludes with a big win, and elation occurs.

What of the opposite? What about terror?

The young woman is on her way home from a night out on the town. She says goodnight to her friends and is walking through town on her way back to her college dormitory. It’s dark as she cuts through the park. “Wait up!” a voice comes from behind. A young man from the bar who was making romantic advances calls to her. She had politely turned down his advances but he was persistent. She turns to see the man lightly jogging up to her from behind. She’s nervous, the gentleman came on really strong earlier and she was disturbed but surrounded by friends. “I just want to talk to you, '' he says.

“No thank you, I’m going home,” she says, turning to continue walking, becoming more excited. There is nobody around, the man grabs her around the throat with one arm, and produces a knife where she can see it with his other. “Scream and I’ll fucking kill you, run and your dead,” the man says. The woman’s mind disables all higher cognitive functions. Her body floods with adrenaline, unable to fight or flee she’s frozen and panicked. The man lets her go. “Now are you going to be a good girl and drop your pants for me, or am I going to have to hurt you?” the man says. Her hands shaking, she undoes her pants and pulls them down. “Now bend over! Make a noise, and you're dead!” She complies as the man reveals himself and forcefully enters her.

She’s not romantically excited whatsoever. Her vagina burns as he rubs himself with her. The man finishes pulling up his pants. “Good job whore, I will see you around, and if you tell anyone about this, no one is going to find your body.” He pushes her over and runs away. Her body is still frozen for several moments, she can’t scream, she can’t move, she can’t tell anyone. Her mind is unable to relax and begin to process the information of the event. The terror of the event sits stuck unprocessed. She’s so afraid of being murdered that she doesn’t tell anyone, say anything, or do anything other than begin to avoid all of the places where the man might be.

The woman can recall the entire event with perfect clarity, but will not allow herself to discuss the meaning of the event lest she be murdered. All of the information of the event is now in her mind unprocessed, living in memory not advancing through her cognition to be understood and analyzed. Unprocessed emotional information living in memory is referred to as emotional trauma and is the root cause of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

Traffic Jam

During the period of intense excitement the memory is formed in the amygdala. The amygdala is responsible for fundamental survival behaviors. If an excitement event concludes in an escape overcoming the terror the information is transmitted from the amygdala into the hippocampus which stores the event in long term memory. If the excitement event was utterly terrifying and inescapable then the memory stays in the amygdala. Cortisol will build up around the hippocampus creating a barrier for information to prevent transmission from the amygdala into the hippocampus. Developmental trauma from negative cognition training will cause a large amount of cortisol to build up blocking anything exciting from discharging from the amygdala.

Any new excitements will first hit the amygdala and activate several older traumatic memories. The most benign of events will set off a trigger to the amygdala to get involved. Even if the excitement is a positive thing like someone wanting to help with a pet project, or a large client coming to one's business the amygdala will be triggered. The person will be in a triggered state even when the excitement is a good thing for them. This traffic jam sucks all the joy out of anything exciting whatsoever.

Jammed in from excitement a person gets frozen in place. The information has not been allowed to move through a full processing cycle to be understood, analyzed, evaluated, and then turned into action via creative thought. Like the woman in the case above, children are overcome with negative emotions in an excited state during the process of negative cognition. The trainer will say things like “don’t you go crying on me,” or “don’t be such a wimp,” or plainly “just stop it!”

The translation of all of those statements is no different than the words spoken in the previous case of the violent rape. The mind internalizes that if one continues to express a certain emotion, it will spell serious danger for one's individual safety. A person will fear getting in trouble for processing their emotional information. As the mind develops, it forms a layer of boundaries to block the processing of certain feelings to protect one from harm. These boundaries are the physical layer of cortisol blocking information flow from the amygdala to the hippocampus.

Processing negative emotions (fear, anger, shame, humiliation, sadness) will put a person in an emotionally vulnerable state. Being emotionally vulnerable with another is the keystone of any close relationship. Children grow up unable to express their negative emotional information and become adults afflicted with the same barriers. V and myself were in a romantic relationship for over a decade before we learned to be emotionally vulnerable with each other. Even so, when the process began of expressing years’ worth of built-up emotional information, it was a process of slowly opening one door of the cognitive temple at a time to the other.

The buildup of unprocessed information in a person’s mind, will disrupt the proper flow of information through the nervous system; it can even begin to disrupt other biological functions in the body. Once a person starts associating danger with the expression of certain emotions, they will often run from anything that causes those feelings. To avoid their feelings, a person will exhibit a huge manner of numbing behaviors. Drugs, alcohol, obsessive compulsion, chronic distraction, hoarding, avoiding conflict, escape into electronic entertainment, there are simply too many behaviors to list. Narcissism is a compulsive addiction to the attention of other people. A person afflicted with narcissism has an addictive need for the attention of others.

The pharmaceutical industry is happy to participate in numbing, providing a wide array of drugs served to numb. Anti-anxiety medications, focus enhancing medications, pain medications, all legally prescribed and served to the public. However, the use of these drugs is like patching bullet wounds in an active war zone. The invaders are still firing shots and the drug companies are stating that the bullets are the problem or the soldier firing the bullets is the problem, or the commanding officer is the problem, not the government that waged the war (negative cognition).

Numbing behaviors will persist until the root of the issue is dealt with. The queue of built up unprocessed emotional information must be processed by the brain to be cleared out. There is only so much space in the brain to hold information for processing. Like any computer we have a maximum capacity, and without clearing out one’s emotional buffer, cognition is impaired. One’s mind will resemble a skipping record, repeating the same patterns of behavior over and over again. Taking medication for anxiety and depression is like continuously applying triage to a bullet wound. Triage is good in a pinch, but it’s not an effective long-term solution.

My maternal grandfather died from lung cancer when I was 14 years old. I loved my Papa deeply, as did my whole family. Papa was the hinge-pin of the family and held everyone together. After Papa’s death I didn’t shed a tear, furthermore, that side of my family began to rapidly drift apart. It took me 21 years to express my deeply entrenched feelings of grief and sadness for the loss of my Papa and family breakup. The events decades ago hit my already overloaded buffer at 14 and stopped there. When I began to process my buffer of sadness in 2018 it looked as if I had gone mad. It took me a full year to express all of the sadness I had built up from my past. I was not depressed, I was sad. I was barely functional, but capable of getting through my days.

Though I had processed the built up sadness in my memory banks; I had not processed the emotional trauma from negative cognition training and it sat in my nervous system eroding my sanity. My behavior became increasingly erratic and risky. Without proper regulation of emotion I would simply numb myself with cannabis and pretend that everything was fine.

An excessive number of unprocessed memories can resemble a malfunctioning dam of emotion. Unable to drain out the information they spill over the top, or it sprays out from cracks, or the dam breaks and they obliterate their environment with feelings committing violence against themselves, others, or both.

Case Study – Casey

Because Casey lived in the Nyborg shop for a few months, I was able to observe more of his behavior than usual. About every six weeks, Casey would be observed lying flat on his back with tears in his eyes. Staring out into space, Casey would remain like this for hours at a time. One day I asked Casey what was the matter sitting next to him in is paralyzed trance. Casey’s response was, “it’s just…” and then silence for several minutes.

I had heard that Casey had an estranged daughter across the country, who’s mother wanted no contact with Casey. I asked Casey if he was feeling sad. “it’s just…” and then silence for several minutes again. Upon suggestion that Casey get up and move his body to generate some endorphins he did so. His eyes still welled up with tears, Casey was completely silent. Pushing on Casey a little bit, I asked him if he was feeling sad about being separated from his daughter. Stating that I would feel sad about that too. Casey looked at me sharply, and said, “don’t fucking talk to me,” and promptly stormed off.

Several weeks later, Casey and Susan began dating for a brief period. After about 2 months of dating, Susan broke up with Casey about 3 weeks after she was washed out of the experiment. Once again Casey was in a trance lying on his back with tears in his eyes. Unable to motivate himself, unable to move from his couch in the Nyborg shop. One evening the rest of the team was working late on a crucial project. We would listen to music on large speakers in the shop while we worked and for that evening Ferra was in-charge of music.

Ferra’s music choice was bluesy slow-paced music with a relatively sad theme to it. After about 30 minutes of this, Casey yelled from across the shop, “God! Do we have to fucking listen to this depressing shit!” Unable to properly emote the sadness he felt, Casey would lash out at others and at himself. Whenever Casey put on music for the 24 months of his involvement with Nyborg, the emotional theme was almost always anger.

Casey would not allow himself to express his sadness properly, and had built up a massive amount of sadness over the 30+ years of his life thus far. All of the unexpressed sadness meant that whenever a new sad feeling would come up for processing, his brain function would grind to a near halt. Periodically Ferra would put on music from Disney movies and Casey would flip out the second it came through the speakers. Unable to connect with his inner-child self, Casey could not handle emotional variety. Casey furthermore spent a lot of time drinking with his ‘friends’ at the bar whom which he referred to as a bunch of ‘drunk-fucks’. When I suggested that Casey had a drinking problem as well, he laughed at me for the thought. Even though Casey was drunk every day, he was unable to reflect about his own behavior due to his full-emotional queue.

Fear-pairing

When traumatic emotions are experienced, the overarching emotion is fear and terror. Whatever feeling the individual was feeling before the traumatic event will become connected with fear as well. The pre-event emotion is then associated by the mind as a fear-trigger emotion. Like Pavlov’s dog, a nervous system is creating associations to protect a person from threats. Because the events of the trauma are so vividly recorded by the mind’s state of heightened awareness, the association is created in a single event.

When the nervous system has a backup of unprocessed emotion; individual emotions felt in the moment can cause massively strong reactions. One’s emotional reactions will appear as if they are cross-wired. With an overloaded buffer of sadness and fear, an individual can lash out emotionally in anger when a new sadness or fear is felt. One overloaded with anger and fear, will often regress into sadness and depression when a new fear or sadness is felt. One will learn to avoid feelings that are associated with their overloaded buffers.

Negative cognition training builds a bridge between negative experiences and frustration. The emotional state of frustration will spark the mind's desire to process all of its unprocessed information. The amount of energy required to do this is more than the mind can handle, and the result is a state of paralysis. Much like opening a way too large file on a computer, the whole machine can grind to a halt. Frustration can cause the entire cognitive process to freeze and often the result is a numbing behavior. Numbing behaviors avoid frustration by avoiding the problems one needs to solve. When left unprocessed the unsolved problems will stack up as well. Unsolved problems transform into out-of-control behavior, extreme risk-taking, over-consumption, addiction, outbursts of anger, paralyzing fear, depression, and more.

One’s problems don’t go away unsolved; they often grow bigger. To wade through the frustrations, one has to focus on one frustration at a time to limit processing energy. With each frustration small manageable steps are required to move forward. It helps to have a coach to assist with this processing, and help one establish momentum. It is highly advisable that the coach be a certified trauma therapist. Don’t be afraid to cycle through trauma therapists either. Not all are created equally, but there are many professionals out there and you can find the right one for you.

Frustration Triage

The feeling of frustration is a sort of cacophony of negative emotions. Positive cognition training will reveal a great deal about the configuration of a person’s mind when they become frustrated. Once in a frustrated state, a person needs to be able to state their frustration out loud, and then follow it up with some form of cognitive behavioral therapy. An avid practitioner of this procedure was Albert Einstein.

Einstein was fully committed to his personal goal of understanding the laws of nature mathematically. His personal commitment enabled him to pursue his passion relentlessly. Einstein slaved away at his passion, and every time he became overwhelmed with frustration, he would put down his work, and go play his violin. Playing a musical instrument is a form of cognitive behavioral therapy. Just like touching one’s nose with the right and left pointer finger tips in sequence repeatedly.

The key to Albert Einstein’s successes was the frustration triage he applied. During the pursuit of that which is not known, frustration is an inevitable emotional experience. Frustration is most definitely an emotion experienced during negative cognition training. When a person becomes frustrated the door in their mind is kicked open to all of their traumatic frustrations. Negative cognition trauma is most often experienced from misguided attempts to train a person in childhood. A frustrated adult will be pulled back into their child self, as if returning to the scene of the crime.

Positive rehabilitation from this state involves developing a strong sense of compassion for the inner-child. An exercise that can substantially aid self-compassion is to look at a picture of yourself at about the age of five. While looking at the picture, tell them that you will always be there for them no matter what. Sufferers of negative cognition training will often find this exercise very emotionally disturbing. Those with severe trauma will even avoid the exercise entirely, making a reason why they won’t do it. The first time I performed this exercise I began crying profusely to my surprise. My partner V wouldn’t do the exercise until months after she began therapy.

Albert Einstein was known for his childish quirks. Preserving the sense of wonder that one feels as a child is crucial to creating highly original works. Managing feelings of frustration is key to moving forward through one’s own emotions and processing information. Frustration triage is further enhanced by the practice of gratitude. Statements said out loud such as “I’m grateful for this frustration, it is helping me learn;” can dramatically improve one’s personal relationship with frustration. Entertaining cognitive behavioral exercises involving the whole-body, release endorphins that further improve the emotional experience.

Performed repeatedly, the mind will develop a very positive relationship with the feeling of frustration. The relationship will eventually become so strong that one will ultimately long for the feeling of frustration. Longing for frustration is the foundation of endless joy. Pain does not matter when the brain has a constant craving for frustration to overcome. When pain becomes irrelevant, anything is possible.

Makes me Feel

Negative cognition training over an extended period of time causes a two-way dysfunction referred to as codependency. This is where a person will try to control the emotional response of another. Instead of focusing on one’s own mental state, one who has been repeatedly ‘punished’ by someone of authority who is angry; will begin to strategize their actions in a way to cause the other person to not become angry. If someone is expressing an emotion while dealing out negative cognitive training then that emotion gets flagged in the mind of the abused in the danger zone.

Not only does a person begin to control their behavior in ways to keep authority figures happy; but one can also develop the expectation for others to make them happy. This is an accountability disaster. Expecting others to make you happy is expecting others to do the impossible. A person’s happiness is something that can only come from their own behavior. We will certainly feel a sense of joy when having a great experience with another person, but that joy is as fleeting as the experience. The experience ends, and joy from it will fade into a happy memory of the past. Happiness in the present is sustainable only through a balanced lifestyle.

Lasting joy comes from the pursuit of a higher purpose. A personal reason for being is the only thing capable of generating lasting joy for a person. That’s why addictive behavior can never fill one’s cup of happiness. Being regularly intoxicated or engorged in a compulsive activity doesn’t make a person happy; it only makes one forget how sad and empty they feel. Without a self-chosen reason for being, a person cannot willfully inflict long term suffering upon themselves. To achieve any long-term goal requires self-sacrifice on a routine basis.

When a person has been programmed with the idea that others need to manage their feelings, they become highly susceptible to manipulation as well. If one is feeding on happiness from a person’s right hand, that person can very easily pick-pocketing with their left. Every single member of the Nyborg test group had a propensity for attempting to manage our emotional states. When I would feel frustrated from a mistake, the group members would already be preparing themselves for my reaction. When I didn’t lash out at project members for my feelings, some would begin to attempt to take over and tell me what to do or feel. Adept attention manipulators like Ferra fed me so many positive emotional experiences I was blind to the destruction she was causing inside of Nyborg.

Negative cognition training on a person while one is angry will only train that person to fear the anger and frustration of their authority figures. A person grows up to be a ‘yes-man’ even though being able to say no is crucial when the risks are high, or something doesn’t add up on paper. Entire multimillion-dollar projects are yessed regularly inside of companies and countries that go absolutely nowhere. Meanwhile billion-dollar opportunities pass by without being pursued because the resources are already committed.

Never good enough

Unprocessed emotional information about frustrations will start to create negative beliefs about oneself. Negative beliefs are often expressed out loud in conversations and they normally sound like:

“I’m not smart like that”

“I don’t math”

“I can’t technology”

“I’m not smart like you”

“You’re a genius”

“I’m not pretty”

“I’m not good at sports”

“I’m bad with money”

On and on and on and on. Negative beliefs transform into self-fulfilling prophecies, as each negative belief is an absolute statement. Absolute statements fix a person in place, and stating them out loud even reinforces the belief. All of these negative beliefs will add up to the general idea that one is never going to be ‘good’ enough. The never good enough belief is then reinforced by a culture of comparing people to each other.

Sales ads and entertainment media create rankings of human beings on a continuous basis. They are published at the grocery store in the checkout lines, pop ups on one’s phone and websites. On average a person will see 3000 advertisements per day. Make no mistake, news headlines are advertisements too.

“Top 20 hottest celebrities”

“Top 30 under 30”

“Best seller”

Even things like the number of followers on Instagram or connections on LinkedIn. These messages combined with a daunting stack of problems, will leave a person feeling hopelessly behind. It’s no surprise that social media is coming under fire for reducing self-esteem. But it is not truly social media’s fault, because a person is ultimately responsible for their own feelings. If you look at social media and come away with negative feelings there are two possible solutions. Either don’t look at social media, or change the things that you follow on your social media feed.

From 2017 to 2020 on Instagram I followed a few hundred different Instagram accounts and every single one was something I wanted more of in my life. Watching these feeds was more or less depressing… engaging… but depressing, a constant reminder of something I wanted but didn’t have. In January 2020 I deleted 100% of the accounts that I followed and restarted. Only following accounts that would give me positive emotional experiences, things I didn’t necessarily desire, but things that inspire me.

In order to possibly become ‘good enough’ a person will look to others to tell them they are. However, even if one’s friends provide positive encouragement that one is in fact good enough, it won’t have any long term stay power. In order to overcome the feeling of not being good enough, a person must practice self-validation. Self-validation is simply providing oneself with an open door for growth. Transforming a fear of not being good enough into a statement of training.

“I’m not a real musician” transformed into “I’m constantly pursuing musical skills”

“I’m bad with money” transformed into “I’m evolving my financial skills”

“I’m not smart like that” transformed into “I’m learning but haven’t reached expert level yet”

“I have my own failings and faults” transformed into “like everyone else, I’m not perfect”

Each and every person has their own completely unique life. Though many patterns of similarity emerge, everyone is different in their own way. A person doesn’t need to be like anyone else or compare to anyone else. The individual experience of living is one that can only be experienced by yourself. One simply cannot experience another’s life. Self-validation enables one to follow their path without tying their minds up with the concerns and thoughts of others.

Accountability and Duty

With a full emotional buffer, and co-dependent programming, it becomes difficult for an individual to maintain accountability for their behavior, hold others accountable, and carry out crucial duties. Never is this cognitive dysfunction clearer, than when a major accident occurs. In 1986 the United States was preparing to launch the space shuttle Challenger on a historical mission. The craft was carrying a high school teacher into space to demonstrate to the American public that anyone can be an astronaut. Christa McAuliffe was to be the first school teacher in space for President Ronald Regan’s school teacher in space project.

Selected from over 11,000 applicants, Christa’s class was beaming with pride to see the teacher they loved fly into the great beyond. Wrapped around televisions, millions of Americans including Christa’s class watched in excitement as the countdown proceeded. 3…2…1…Liftoff of the Spacecraft Challenger! The shuttle soared high into the atmosphere, but something wasn’t quite right. 73 seconds into flight a crucial seal on the shuttle’s engines failed, and the spacecraft exploded in a ball of fire consuming the lives of the all 7 crew. All while Christa’s students watched in horror.

The Challenger disaster was a cognitive failure first, and a technical failure second. Prior to the launch, NASA contractor Thiokol warned NASA leadership that the record low temperatures experienced the day of the launch from Cape Canaveral would most definitely interfere with the proper functioning of the craft, and the results would be catastrophic. NASA’s Lawrence Mulloy responded to Thiokol with “My God, Thiokol! When do you want me to launch?! Next April?!” NASA was responding to the aggressive goal set by President Regan who would be highly disappointed over a launch delay.

What do you think Lawrence Mulloy was feeling when he made his statement back to Thiokol? The answer is fear. Fear of disappointing ‘daddy’ AKA the President. Through negative cognition training a human learns to manage the feelings of their parents. “I don’t want to upset the president”, is a terrible reason to ignore definitive evidence of a potential disaster.

Instead of disappointing POTUS from a launch delay, 7 astronauts and a billion-dollar spacecraft were lost in plain view of the entire world. Do you think that President Regan would have been happy about the delay? Of course not. Do you think president Regan was infuriated by the behavior of NASA leadership? Most definitely. When it comes to fulfilling moral duty, one must not be afraid to make others unhappy. Damn the feelings of others, you have a job to do.

At Swagelok I got a slap on the wrist a couple of times for violating company policy by whistle blowing for Swagelok customer’s engineering mistakes. Both times it happened, my respect for the organization degraded. Letting people know of imminent danger is the moral duty of every human being, it's hard-wired in our social brains. If one cannot draw upon their aggressive feelings to fulfill moral duty, then others can pay the ultimate price for that cognitive failure. If I would have received a bonus for my actions, who knows, I might still be growing Swagelok’s business by millions every year.

In the Navy, we were trained to fulfill our duty despite how anyone might feel about it. Once during the 3rd phase of my schooling I was assigned to the electrical division. While on assignment I was given the job of safety watch during an electrical maintenance operation. The job involved keeping personnel from going through a hatch, if they did, one of the crew would be electrocuted. A higher-ranking individual with a sharp attitude marched up on me while I was standing at the hatch to proceed through. I told them I could not let them through that I was on safety watch. They stood there for a moment and fumed in my face like an angry child, and then, walked away. If I would have tried to manage their feelings of frustration, the death by electrocution of my crewmate would have been on my hands.

When it comes to duty and accountability the frustrations of others do not matter, let them be frustrated.

Take time with things

Lawrence Mulloy was frustrated that delaying shuttle launch would have cost millions upon millions of taxpayer dollars, delayed the political goals of the President, and completely wrecked the entire mission schedule. It is not as if the delay would have cost nothing. Delay means consuming more money to achieve the same end goal. In business, delays can be the difference between fortune and bankruptcy. Delays are painful and frustrating for everyone engaged with the mission. Children under negative cognition training are regularly disciplined for delays. It is very common for a child to not have enough time to solve a problem, and they upset their parents with poor academic performance.

One day I came into my house to hear my daughter crying in her bedroom. Attempting to sit next to her and put an arm around her she withdrew away from me quickly into a corner. When I asked her what was wrong, she told me “I’m the absolute worst person in the world!” Through sobs she said, “I’ll never be able to do it, I’m terrible!” This was clearly a very strong shame reaction as indicated by the feeling of self-hatred. Saying to her “I can see you are feeling a lot of shame right now. Shame is a painful feeling; I’ve been there before myself. Why do you feel ashamed?” My daughter answered back, “Because Mom told me to clean my room but I can’t do it! I don’t know what to do! I’ll never be able to do it!”

Patience is crucial when it comes to processing emotions. One must allow for long silences for expression. Had I jumped in, and started contradicting all of my daughters’ statements one by one as she made them, I would have been violating her cognitive temple. Her statements were not true of course, but, in her mind, they were true at that moment. Disagreement would have only pushed her farther away and violated her cognitive boundaries. Asking her what her mom had told her to do specifically; her answer was very generalized, “to just clean up”. I asked why her mom asked her to clean up. She said so she could paint the wall. Mom was taking care of our infant son and is frequently overwhelmed with competing needs for her attention.

Because of the competition for attention, it is highly likely that the communication was rushed, and needed to be a little more specific. I told my daughter that perhaps she could get a little more specific instructions from her mother, and it sounded like they were having a communication issue. The heavy sobbing began to immediately subside. I asked my daughter if she would like to come sit next to me and have a hug. She nodded and sat next to me and I put my arm around her. I told her that everything was going to be ok and that she didn’t need to feel shame because her and her mother are having a communication issue. My daughter said “oh, ok” just about the time mom came back into the room.

V asked “What’s going on?” and I replied that our daughter was overwhelmed with what to do and needed more specific instructions. “Oh, I see,” says V, “Of course I can help with that.” I left the room and gave them space to get it all worked out. The room was cleaned successfully, and upon completion generated positive feelings for my daughter. We will all need help from time to time, and it’s important to develop the skill of asking for it. Without positive support for soliciting help, a person will begin to refrain from asking for help when they really need it. Doing new things and practicing new behaviors requires guidance, and ample time to develop skills on one’s own.

Case Study – Ferra

Ferra, like so many others, began the project with a fear of doing math. Like mentioned earlier, her prime statement was “I don’t really do math”. I never lifted a finger to try to instruct Ferra in math. Math was not the issue; the issue was negative cognition training. As Ferra began to get a stride with positive cognition rehabilitation, she was confronted with math in her project. Ferra’s self-identified project would be a product that would require computer programming.

Without previous programming experience, and a fear of math, Ferra would have to overcome a couple of obstacles to make progress. Ferra was able to recall an extremely frustrating summer where her mother had her doing math problems for practice. But not just solving math problems, solving math problems on a time limit. Ferra’s cognition was negatively influenced by her fear of running out of time as well. She shed tears as she described the feelings of frustration with her mother’s appointed exercise. “I could have solved the problems if I just had enough time!” Ferra expressed through a sob.

I acknowledged Ferra’s frustration with the exercise. Being given a task to perform without sufficient resources to perform that task is incredibly frustrating. Once able to acknowledge her built up negative emotions, Ferra was once again free to do self-appointed math.

Had Ferra’s mother known that this exercise would cause an aversion to math that would impair her adult cognition, the exercise might have been done differently. Perhaps instead she would have timed Ferra’s math solutions without Ferra’s knowledge. The human mind can only handle practicing one skill at a time. Solving math is one skill, optimizing for time is another skill. Human beings need to be able to have ample time to focus on one thing, and one thing only. The belief that we are multi-taskers is only relevant for activities one has mastered and memorized.

Cognition studies over cell phone usage while driving a vehicle demonstrated that a person can drive a car and listen to a boring conversation without issue. When the participants practiced driving while simultaneously being asked math problems, and other things that required higher thought over a cell phone; the result was that they made a tremendous number of driving errors running over obstacles and could not steadily maintain a lane. The brain only can perform one complex function at a time. A meaningless conversation is ignored by the brain’s higher functions. One cannot expect themselves to process two problems at the exact same time. There is a limited number of neurons and metabolic energy to run the neurons.

It is a crucial skill to learn that the information flow through one’s nervous system is manageable to certain limits. Focus separates the masters from everyone else.

Summary:

  • Information recorded by the nervous system will cause cognitive dysfunction until it is processed.

  • Overloading with unprocessed emotions will cause neurological traffic jams.

  • The mind cannot multitask effectively due to metabolic limits.

  • Negative cognition training can cause significant issues in accountability.

  • Negative beliefs create a self-fulfilling prophecy.

  • Positive feedback loops with frustration can lead to masterful results.

  • Time limits on new cognitive learning tasks are an unreasonable idea.


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