Scott Schwefel, CEO of Discover Yourself, presents on Your Personality and Your Brain at TEDxBrookings. Here is the full transcript of the TEDx Talk.
Listen to the MP3 Audio here: Your personality and your brain by Scott Schwefel at TEDxBrookings
Thank you. Thank you, Scott, thank you, Amanda, for that flight that we had and the authentic conversation.
I’m here to talk with you about the brain science of communication, as it relates to business on fire. Igniting your business, igniting your business for growth. Igniting you, in what you do in your business.
What I want you to think about for a minute is, what does it take to do that? What will it take you to ignite your business? And to me, it’s the science of communication, but really it’s the science of self-awareness. How aware are you of what you’re capable of doing? How well do you know yourself, how well do you know other people? It’s about what you pay attention to.
So, what I want you to think about just for a second is a question you’ve answered a million times in your life: who are you? In business, you probably talk about your role: “I’m a painter,” “I’m a consultant,” “I’m a fireman.” Right? You might talk about a personal role: father, mother, sister. I’d like you to answer a little bit differently, and to help you, I’ll answer it a little bit differently.
I’d like to answer, it if I can, with an alliterative adjective. A what? Alliterative adjective is just an adjective that starts with the same sound as your first name. My name is Scott. My adjective would be “smiling.” Smiling Scott. It could be standing Scott, it could be speaking Scott. You might be frustrated Frank, tired Tom or, because of the time, hungry Henrietta. Whatever it is, I’d like you to come up with it quickly and share it with people on your right and left. A one-word adjective that starts with the same sound as your first name and describes you right now. Come up with it quickly and share it. Go ahead.
Okay, if you didn’t come up with it, you can still work on it and come up with it over lunch in those authentic conversations that you have. But the reason I asked you to do it is probably something you didn’t do yesterday or last week or last month. It’s not a way that you typically answer the question, which means you had to think about it. You actually had to use your conscious brain to come alive, come aware, and come up with something new, versus just a traditional or a typical answer that you gave.
But what it leans into is, who do you think you really are? It’s about self-perception. How well do you know yourself? And how well do you come across to other people and is it the same? I want you to think about when you first became aware, self-aware, this morning. Probably for many of you, looking in the mirror, brushing your teeth, you started to think about: who am I and how am I going to show up today? Who am I going to be today as I interact with other people? I wonder what impact I’ll have on them. Take a look at my slide however.
Sometimes we look in the mirror and the image we see of ourselves is not what the rest of the world sees. If I were to ask you again in terms of just self-awareness, do I identify more with the kitten in this image, or do you identify more with the lion in this image? Where are my kittens in the group? Let me see. You just identify more with the kitten. Where are my lions in the group? Wow. Look at the difference. Okay? How do kittens vote? Meow. Right? No one wants to be the first or only kitten. It’s not funny. Lions are right there. It’s a difference in personality.
What I want you to start to pay attention to is, what are those unique differences in terms of personality for you? What’s this word, by the way? No, really, everyone: what is this word?
And what does the cow drink?
So, here’s the thing, okay? Here’s the thing. There are two parts of our brain and my job is to slice yours in half today, and help you realize that a big part of communication is driven by your subconscious. It’s the part of your brain that loves to give you answers, it just gave you the answer ‘milk’. But it was the wrong answer, wasn’t it? That’s what your subconscious brain does frequently when you interact with other people. It makes assumptions, and they’re wrong, and you roll with it.
What I want you to do instead, like you just thought about the alliterative adjective, is I want you to turn your brains on. I want you to be conscious of yourself, more conscious of who you are, and the impact that you’re having on other people. Right? A focus on awareness. Who are you really? How do you really show up and interact with other people? And it’s got to start with knowing yourselves, and then knowing the other person.
Once you know who you are and how you’re wired, you need to be consciously aware of what Carl Jung called “the otherness of the other.” Because if you’re not, until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life, and you will call it fate. Everyone of us has millions of patterns in our subconscious brain that determine how we interact with other people. And if we don’t challenge them through consciousness, stuff just happens to us, and we think it just happens over and over again, and it’s fate, we don’t have control of it, but you do have control.
Your conscious brain gives you the ability to change your outcomes based on changing patterns in your subconscious brain. How do we do that? We have a new thought. We have a new idea. We authentically steal ideas and pull them together. It’s a — as Reece said, it’s in your toolkit right now. You have the ability to have a new thought at any time about anything in your life you’d like to be different, and switching your brain on and having that thought creates a new pattern for you to hang on to.
But it starts with knowing you and knowing others. So, how have we done that over the years? How have people done that? Heraclitus came up with a model 25 hundred years ago. It was very actively practiced in modern medicine at the time, but for over 2000 years, we tried to define people by type, by category. It’s a way of knowing yourself and it’s a framework.
So what we’re talking about here is with this conscious awareness, having a framework with which you know yourself, how you show up and who you are, so that you can communicate and relate to others. That’s what it’s for, that’s the power of it. So that’s one model. There are so many others in the world especially in terms of business, and igniting your business, or lighting your business on fire, helping people to be more self-aware.
How many of you have been through some of the models that are listed here? Millions and millions of people, most of you as well. The power of these models is helping you figure out “Who am I? How am I wired? How do I communicate?” Because that’s how I judge everybody else in my world. If I’m seven feet tall, you’re all short. I walk into work every day and wonder why I work with so many short people. Right? It’s not about you being broken, it’s about me needing a higher level of self-awareness.