Several years ago, Malcolm Gladwell, the author of The Tipping Point, penned a second wildly popular book entitled, Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking. To be frank, I purchased this book several months before I actually read it - picking it up and putting it down repeatedly until, one day, it literally dawned on me that now seemed the right moment to read Blink. I don't quite know what I was waiting for or whether I was just uninspired. I simply knew that until that fateful day arrived, I simply was not in the right frame of mind to sit down and digest its contents and, thereafter, put its lessons to good use.
''The 'low road' is circuitry that operates beneath our awareness, automatically and effortlessly, with immense speed. Most of what we do seems to be piloted by massive neural networks operating via the low road - particularly our emotional life. When we are captivated by an attractive face, or sense the sarcasm in a remark, we have the low road to thank.14 The 'high road,' in contrast, runs through neural systems that work more methodically and step by step, with deliberate effort. We are aware of the high road, and it gives us at least some control over our inner life, which the low road denies us. When we ponder ways to approach that attractive person, or search for an artful riposte to sarcasm, we take the high road. The low road can be seen as 'wet,' dripping with emotion, and the high road as relatively 'dry,' 'coolly rational.' The low road traffics in raw feelings, the high in a considered understanding of what is going on. The low road lets us immediately feel with someone else; the high road can think about what we feel. Ordinarily, they mesh seamlessly. Our social lives are governed by these two modes.''15The position referenced by Goleman above is actually supported by biological factors - with different parts of the brain supporting the two different roads, and the implications of such statement are fascinating. Possessing an awareness of these two forces within one's self, and such forces' impact upon your own interpersonal relations, gives one an extraordinary power. Recognizing these forces and how they interplay can give you a much more clear ability to truly see an interpersonal connection, assess it, understand it, control it, and have it result in a relationship that is beneficial to you and your career. Understanding what factors/emotions sit behind the choices we make has huge implications for our abilities to succeed going forward. It becomes less about random relationships - some working and some not - and more about an awareness of relationships - the whys and why nots.
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