My wife is quite a” student” of neurobiology and is frequently commenting on the implications of what we are learning about the brain and TED*.  (For more on this topic, see the Dr. Sharon Stanley’s videos, “How Victimhood Affect the Brain” and “Begin the Healing”.)

One of the latest books that Donna has read is David Rock’s easy-to-read Your Brain at Work.  One chapter she particularly pointed out is entitled “Derailed by Drama.”

In this chapter, Rock writes of importance of the limbic system, which he says “tracks your emotional relationship to thoughts, objects, people and events.  It determines how you feel about the world, moment to moment.  It drives your behavior, often quite unconsciously.”

In The Power of TED* the emotion that fuels the Victim Orientation is anxiety (or fear), while a Creator Orientation is passion-driven.  In the Victim Orientation, our intention is to get rid of – or move away from – the problems we face and, more importantly the anxiety that we feel.  When living and working from a Creator Orientation, our intention is to move toward and bring into being our envisioned outcomes.

Clients and workshop participants often report how much “easier” it is to just react to problems than it is to stay focused and persevere in creating outcomes.

David Rock describes why.

“The limbic system fires up far more intensely when it perceives a danger compared to when it senses a reward (from getting closer to an outcome).  The arousal from a (real or perceived) danger also comes on faster, lasts longer, and is harder to budge… The toward emotions are more subtle, more easily displaced, and harder to build on than the away emotions.  This also explains why upward spirals, where positive emotions beget more positive emotions, are less common than downward spirals…  Human being walk toward, but run away.”

This is a reminder that, in neurobiological fact, making shift happen from Victim to Creator – both in terms of the orientations and the roles in TED* (*The Empowerment Dynamic) – is “simple, but not easy.”  The way toward living more consistently as a Creator takes walking forward a baby step at a time.