Time to use the other 90% of your brain

Last time, your humble correspondent revealed the awesome power of the Octagon of Opportunity. If you missed this not particularly life-changing lesson, you can go back and read it here. Needless to say, you should now be marginally further ahead in your quest to become genuine task master™ like your hero.


Of course, this raises the big question: What next?


Well, as any motivational speaker will tell you, the book is basically a piece of merchandise. The real money is made with the three-day seminar.


A good seminar is basically the secular version of an evangelical revival meeting – albeit without the choir.


During the seminar, you will hear first-hand from a speaker who was a nobody until she or he turned their life around by discovering six simple steps – and then began shilling said steps at motivational seminars for more than $300 per head.


Forget years of hard work, study and determination. You too can turn your life around by following some simple steps.


And these simple steps almost inevitably follow on from a shocking revelation. Well, shocking to anyone who hasn’t been to such a talkfest before, because it is almost inevitably raised by every motivational speaker: We only use 10% of our brains.


Of course, you’ll never find a neuroscientist on stage when this claim is made. There is no peer reviewed clinical study that proves that the six simple steps can get you using 43% of your brain, or whatever. And for good reason.


Here’s an article in Scientific American by Dr Barry L. Beyerstein of the Brain Behavior Laboratory at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver. And here are some similar comments by Barry Gordon at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in Baltimore.


The message is simple. There is no vast vacant tundra inside your head comprising 90% of your brain that can be easily tapped with six simple steps. It’s a fairy-tale that just isn’t true, no matter how beautiful it sounds – like a political campaign pledge.


Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but if you want to make yourself smarter, you’re going to put in the time reading books and studying.


So what do you do if you ever find yourself in a seminar where some windbag starts talking about tapping the true potential of the subconscious mind?


Simple. Put that brain of yours to some good use.


Bring along a pack of business cards. Enjoy the finger food and champagne. Then, during the intermissions, keep an ear out for anyone who truly feels inspired by the speech – and give them your card.


After all, there’s a sucker born every minute. And if they buy into the six steps, just wait until they hear about how your snake oil will cure all their ailments – and it comes with free steak knives!


Get it done – with the other 90% of your brain!


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