Did You Know You Have Two Brains? Body & Brain: Part 1

October 1, 2015 ~ Written by: W.B. “Bud” Kirchner
Screen Shot 2016-05-18 at 12.27.07 PM“There is more wisdom in your body than in your deepest philosophies.” – Friedrich Nietzsche

Okay, let’s use this to set the stage for following three posts which continue to reflect our Business Brain Model℠ and its premise that it serves as context of how to leverage what is routinely being learned in the realm of neuroscience and psychology (and yet often ignored in business) to enhance the understanding of yourself and others.

I have (typically) taken the liberty of branching off into other areas such as performance and plasticity as long as I can rationalize their benefits to the business builders and managers that are my audience. Exercising this liberty again, I am going to share some fascinating information on the link between the brain and the body – including: how they interact, how they ‘communicate’ and how they influence our health and our internal and external interactions.

Live longer, think better!  What’s not to appreciate?

two_brainsBusiness often centers around issues with numerous, simultaneously moving pieces (Given the references to millions of microbes this is literal and figurative!) and this series of posts fit this description. As we often do with issues such as strategic planning, I plan to start by mapping out the “big picture” then I will chop it up into a few “bite size pieces.” Then at the individual post level we will get “down into the weeds.” Three different metaphors in one paragraph – not bad if I do say so myself!

The revelation of this series is that not all that is important is happening above the shoulders but in fact much (if not most) of this is happening in regions well south of the brain and being “managed” by millions of little critters.

That’s right! Vast numbers of companies (in fact all of them – yes, including yours) are being run under this chain of command: microbiota → gut → body → brain. Who would have guessed?!? Who wouldn’t want to know more?!?

Punch to the Gut: Brain and Body One in the Same?

“The brain is a classic example of a complex adaptive system that evolves within the even more complex adaptive system that is our body.” ~ John Hagel III

As we progress, I will try to (A) create the case that there is no real distinction between the brain and the body; and while I am pushing the envelope (B) the gut is part of the brain and it exerts an unimaginable influence on who we are and how we relate to the world around us.

Why does this matter to the business builder or manager? Here are a few examples to capture your interest in the following posts. Incidentally, some of the context for these points appears in previous postings.

  • Why do we universally use words such as “gut feeling” and “gut check” as credible rationale for a decision?
  • You can change behavior and affect multiple diseases by manipulating microbiota in the gut.
  • In the presence of stress we lose our ability to assess risk. In fact, we take risk when we shouldn’t and avoid it when we should be taking it – how counterproductive is that?
  • We know we can improve our outlook and attitude with exercise.
  • Our posture can have an impact on our confidence.

We can’t explain phenomena such as above by the obvious brain alone – thus we segue into the body/brain and ultimately to what many people call the second brain and the ten million microbes that drive it and finally, the way they communicate.

People Riding the Brain Wave

For the purposes of the following series, I have relied heavily on the work of the following. Again, per usual I have done my best to translate the interesting facts into a business context and where possible into personal experience and try to propose some ways to use them to increase business performance etc.

“Any man could, if he were so inclined, be the sculptor of his own brain.” ~ Santiago Ramón y Cajal

Consider this: Should you be threatened by the thought of a second brain? Should you feel challenged to understand it? Don’t you want to show up for your next meeting leveraging two brains rather than one?

About the Author: W.B. “Bud” Kirchner is a serial entrepreneur and philanthropist with more than 50 years of business success. He is not a scientist or an academic but he does have a diversified exposure to neuroscience, psychology and related cognitive sciences. Generally speaking, the ideas he expresses here are business-angled expansions of other people’s ideas, so when possible, he will link to the original reference.