Your Brain on Business 2: The Commentary Inside Your Head

Your Brain on Business 2: The Commentary Inside Your Head

Commentaries and Future Logs

Hello, and welcome back to ‘Your Brain on Business’. This is part two, ‘The Commentary Inside Your Head’. In the first session, we talked about the RAS and how it selectively shows you things that are important to you. And I gave the example of a car. Today we’re going to explore this in a little bit deeper and more meaningful way, because it also impacts how you experience life, in business, and whatnot.

Not only does the brain show you things, the RAS tune, give your attention to different things that are quote, important to you, but it also runs a little commentary. And we’ll talk more about commentaries and future logs.

How Commentary Influences Perception

But let’s start with just a little innocuous scene. And this is actually a story from a few quite a few years ago, when I was visiting a manufacturing plant. And on a plant tour, they were looking at the potential of hiring me as a consultant, I was looking at the potential of having them as a client, and we go out in the plant.

And there are two gentlemen talking by a machine. And based on what you think about and what you believe, and the commentary that goes on your head, you can see different things. Of course, we both saw two people talking.

The RAS Looks to Confirm Beliefs

What was interesting is that my host, saw the two people talking, and the brain, his ego, presented them with a commentary: ‘Look, they’re goofing off,’ because it was pretty clear in the initial session, when we were in the office before the plant tour, that he had a fundamental belief that his employees were basically screwing him.

And so his brain knew this. And his RAS was looking for opportunities to demonstrate that that was true. And here we had two guys who should have been working, and “they were goofing off”.

And so we went up to, and much to my horror, he started off with I don’t pay you guys to stand around and talk. Now. That’s not a good way to start a conversation. And it horrified me, because my RAS is tuned a little bit differently than his RAS, and the story, my brain was telling me what I saw these two workers was, ‘hmm, I wonder what problem they’re working on’. Right?

Commentary Has Consequences

Think about the implications of this. If you have a narrative in your head that says, ‘all my employees are out to screw me,’ then you’re going to get the commentary that says, ‘look, there’s an example there goofing off,’ if you have a commentary going on in your head or belief system, that people are fundamentally good, and they’re working, you know, they’re doing their best. Then the commentary is ‘I wonder what problem they’re working on.’ And so we confronted these two guys.

They went back to work, I went into the office and eventually was able to escape from this fella. And I asked to go back out on the shop floor, and I found one of them. And I asked them about our little interaction. And he was a little bit hesitant to share with me at first but eventually said, Well, yeah, actually, we were talking about a quality defect in the product we were producing. That’s interesting.

Did you solve it? Hell, no. We just went back to work because we’re not paid to talk. And so the damage was done. Damage was done to the business because defective parts were getting out. Damage was done to these employees’ morale, and all because our commentaries and our world belief’s center as which sets up the commentary that reinforces what we think we’re seeing.

Control Your Brain’s Commentary to Control Outcomes

Alright, my name is Rick Phelps. I am an action coach with ActionCoach, business coaching. My email is, and I can be reached at 216-533-1387. Have a safe and prosperous week

Rick Phelps coaches business owners and their leadership teams to create and sustain cultures and systems with the goal of providing spectacular results.

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