Academy for Wayward Authors: Rewiring the Mind From Default Modes to Dynamic Thinking

Mind matters

Could it be that your mind is just an overdeveloped instinct?

Could your thoughts and feelings be symptomatic of a dysfunctional default mode network?

I’m going to share some illusions and experiments that show that our perceptions, the “seeing” in “seeing is believing,” should be taken with a grain of salt.

Let’s begin with Dr. Gazzaniga and the split-brain experiments he writes about in The Consciousness Instinct: Unraveling the Mystery of How the Brain Makes the Mind.

Since the 1960s, Gazzaniga has been a leading researcher in the phenomena of subjects surviving a severed corpus callosum. There have been cases where the treatment for severe seizures was to sever the connection between the right and left brain, creating a pool of subjects to study.

Along with reducing or eliminating seizures, the surgery breaks the visual connection between the right and left brain and severs visual and motor function. The effects are typically not seen because the brain has a wonderful way of filtering and mashing the information we get into our perception.

Gazzaniga created an experiment in which they isolated the visual field for the left and right eye and then flashed words.

When the word face was shown on the right side, and the subject was asked to say what they saw, the subject would say the word face. When the word face was displayed on the left side and the subject was asked what they saw, they would say they saw nothing. However, their hand would quickly draw a face when asked to draw what was on the left side. All of this is driven by the unconscious parts of our brains.

Of two minds experiments with split-brain patients

If you want to see this test in action, here is a video of the experiment.

Another pioneer in the field is Antonio Damasio. He came up with the somatic marker hypothesis, which states that decision-making is a mind-body interaction and that you can have a “gut feeling” about a decision. This theory was validated in the famous Iowa Gambling Task, in which researchers measured sweat gland stimulation to identify when someone was “getting a hunch.” You can get a good explanation of the task by watching this video.

One more example before we dig in—

Go and watch this video.

This illusion gets right to the point of the fallacy that “seeing is believing.” Our vision, the sense we rely on most, is very unreliable.

Without movement, we lose the ability to define shape or distance. When there is no movement by our eye (micro-movements called saccades) the object will disappear from our vision.

The brain is doing the best it can.

The issue is that it’s easily fooled and makes serious decisions for you without your consultation. Once it decides something, it will use that default mode network to drive behavior it believes will promote a predictable outcome. Your brain loves predictability even if the status quo is miserable because it knows you are surviving the misery.

Why risk change a chance it could become more miserable?

We all know people in our lives that love to be the victim. Why?

The brain likes it.

All this is to say that even if you are happy and well-adjusted, your brain could likely use reconditioning. You’ve grown accustomed to the programming of your default mode network and could be like those split-brain patients unable to escape that programming.

What if you detach from that default mode network and rewire it to a higher state.

If you’re like me, then for the bulk of your time on Earth, you haven’t been treating your brain too well and largely have been driven by the DMN.

That’s the past.

Now we are going to use neuroplasticity to upgrade our brains.

Neuroplasticity is defined as the ability of the nervous system to change its activity in response to intrinsic or extrinsic stimuli by reorganizing its structure, functions, or connections.

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The brain can reroute when damaged and always reorganizes and creates new associations based on your experiences and learning.

You can see from the split-brain experiment that the patient seems to function normally with a split-brain. It is only when put under conditions that the brain gets short-circuited that it loses the ability to use verbal or motor skills.

The brain is a fantastic predictive engine that can take a ton of crappy information and distill it to help you predict what to do next so that you won’t die.

This goes from putting one foot in front of another in a dimly lit room to negotiating your position in a social hierarchy. Both are instinctually important to you but in very different ways.

All this information given so far is to build my case that Academy graduates will have to transform their identities in ways never seen before in publishing.

As an integral part of your business, you’ll need to change to get the results we seek.

With continued use of the FitMind app to get separation from your DMN, then consciously and unconsciously reprogramming your brain through neuroplasticity, you’ll become that vision you have of the ideal author.

You will be the first class to reengineer themselves and their publishing business for the next iteration of publishing.

When you are released into the market with focus and discipline, running a company designed to serve fans and generate funds, you will quickly get the forces of cumulative advantage working for you. Those applying old-school book-selling tactics will become fossils of an age past.

As you go through next week, note how much of what you do is driven by DMN-induced habit. Ask yourself why you do it.

It’s okay if you don’t know much about what we do on autopilot. Research shows that 85% of the thoughts you’ll have today are the same as those you had yesterday.

If you expect your business to change, you have to stop being a mindless puppet of your default mode network and do the work to design yourself for what your business needs in its CEO and creator.

Homework

Play the mental game all this week where you think about what that seven-figure author you’ll be would do in your current situation.

How would that person use the next twenty-four hours to improve themselves or their business?

Read: Embracing Chaos and Uncertain Outcomes in Your Author Journey