On the 3 Fundamental Needs We All Have

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There has been a lot of science lately – e.g. Rick Hanson, PhD – behind the development of the three brains that human beings have. That’s right: Not one brain but three!

The oldest and least evolved part of the brain is the reptilian brain. It is responsible for the fight/flight/freeze response and is about survival.

The second evolved brain is the mammalian brain, which is all about touch and relationship.

The last part of the brain to evolve is related to our sense of who we are in the grand scheme of things. It is about the unique contribution only we can make.

What these three brains tell us is that all people have three fundamental needs that have to be addressed:

  1. Security
  2. Connection
  3. Meaning

How are we fulfilling these needs in our own lives and the lives of those around us?

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Developing the Habit

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One of the most powerful byproducts of recent breakthroughs in neuroscience and neuroplasticity is the idea that the brain is malleable and that the ability to re-shape the brain has implications for personal growth and the treatment of conditions long-held to be “diseases” or “disorders.” There has been an explosion in research and literature exploring the connection between the brain and contemplative meditation, its connections to performance and effectiveness, and its relationship to positive thinking and happiness.

I predict that the idea that we will look back on as being the one that opened the door to a whole new level in human potential is the concept that the neurons that fire together wire together. In other words, the brain can actually be re-trained and re-conditioned to support new and more positive habits.

What that means for the world of leadership development is exactly the entire premise of this blog: Leadership is not the inborn trait of a lucky few but rather a habit that can be learned, practiced, and cultivated. Put another way, leadership is a habit we can develop. And even more powerfully, the brain can be trained with the leadership habit.

What would your world look like if you developed your leadership habit?