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Why We Choose Safety over Excellence (and How to Reprogram)

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The field of neuroscience, which is the foundation of Comaford’s work, has exploded into the mainstream lately. No wonder. Scientists have reams of evidence that show our brains are remarkably moldable, and therefore our long-established neural pathways aren’t our destiny. We can break the mental patterns that harm our relationships, make us miserable, and hold us back.

In the past this has all been theory, but lately we’ve seen some exciting practical applications emerge. Comaford takes the best of these tactics and applies them to the worst behaviors business has to offer—behaviors that squelch productivity and profitability.

In other words, short-tempered leaders can stop blowing up at employees. Confrontation avoiders can step out of hiding. Procrastinators can finally buckle down. Good performers can become great performers. Dysfunctional teams can become powerhouse teams. Best of all, we can retrain our brains and shift our behavior quickly. In a fast-paced global economy, that matters.

Comaford simplifies the human brain into three key parts. The first two, the reptilian and mammalian brains, she collectively calls the “critter brain.” This part of the brain cares only about safety and survival. It prompts us to choose fight/flight/freeze behaviors that keep us from standing out, being put in danger, or feeling discomfort.

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