Annie Murphy Paul: The Key To Superior Performance Lies In Thinking Outside The Brain

One of the recurring themes of our podcast series is the idea that society largely believes that all human cognition occurs in our brains & ignores the emerging science which proves human intelligence is distributed throughout our bodies – including even in our hearts. When we’re faced with a big problem or challenge, we’re urged to use our heads to figure out a solution – even though feelings that emanate from outside the brain can provide additional & valuable insight & lead us to achieving far more informed decisions.

As tapping into intelligence that transcends the brain proves to be a profoundly important skill in maneuvering & succeeding in life & leadership, this episode is intended to be a clinic for introducing you to methods of enhancing your own personal intelligence in ways you may never have known existed.

And it’s based on the work of our guest, acclaimed science writer, Annie Murphy Paul, whose new book, The Extended Mind: The Power of Thinking Outside The Brain” was just named by Amazon as one of the best books of 2021 so far. Daniel Pink, Adam Grant, Susan Cain & Malcolm Gladwell – as part of their “Next Big Idea Club” – have also named it one of their favorite books of the year.

We’re all used to hearing that the brain operates just like a computer – & we’ve all been told that the brain is like a muscle that gets stronger with rigorous use. But in recent years, IQ scores have actually stopped rising or have even dropped in several major countries. And brain stimulating exercises have shown mediocre results so far. The implication is that the brain in our heads may already be operating at or near optimal capacity. But what Paul’s research proves is that the mind doesn’t stop at the standard demarcations of skin & skull. And the truth is humanity has achieved its most impressive feats by thinking outside of the brain: by extending the brain’s power with resources borrowed from the body, other people & the material world.

Studies even show that top performers don’t really do it all in their heads; they achieve their superior results by integrating internal & external resources. What you’re about to hear is by no means a dry science class. Instead, it’s a discussion with a marvelous conversationalist who explains how you can use sensations in your body to make more sound decisions, how moving your body in certain ways will help you think more intelligently, & why our brains & bodies are designed to perform optimally outdoors.

When we intentionally cultivate the capacity to think outside the brain, a new world of possibility opens up – & we gain access to reserves of intuition, memory, attention & motivation that aren’t available to the naked brain. Thinking outside the brain isn’t a skill we’ve intentionally been taught at school or work, but it’s one that we all can acquire. And you’re about to learn how in ways I hope will deeply inspire you & elevate your performance in all aspects of your life.

By Mark C. Crowley

Mark C. Crowley is the author of Lead From The Heart: Transformational Leadership For The 21st Century which has been taught in 11 American universities. He is a global speaker, leadership consultant and thought leader on the topics of workplace culture and employee engagement.