If inattentional blindness is not seeing, automatic “NO” is seeing but rejecting without exploring. Automatic ‘NO’s are often triggered by assumptions, not real data.
Why do we unconsciously reject options?
- There is a biological link between anxiety and reduction of creativity
- Amygdala—‘fight or flight’
- Prefrontal cortex—higher reasoning
- We perceive danger, and in that perception we try to move away. That’s the ‘automatic no’. Threats trigger the ‘away’ response
Triggers for the automatic ‘NO’
- #1 trigger—Anxiety. When we’re anxious we become risk-averse. This shuts down higher reasoning.
- #2 trigger—Unmet expectations—disappointment. Neurochemical response affects dopamine levels.
a. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that helps control the brain’s reward and pleasure centers. Dopamine also helps regulate movement and emotional responses, and it enables us not only to see rewards, but to take action to move toward them.
b. When we expect something and don’t get it, our dopamine drops and triggers the ‘away’ response.
c. Thinking ‘this isn’t going to work’ is disappointment in advance—it shuts us down to opportunity.
Core truth about our brain: Threats trigger ‘away’, good things trigger ‘toward’—threat vs. reward. When we’re moving away, we don’t see opportunity.
How to identify if you’re in automatic ‘NO’?
Observe your emotional state—it’s an emotional response when your mind shuts down.
- Prefrontal cortex or ‘higher self’
- Ability to have a conversation with ourselves—‘what’s going on inside me?’ ‘why am I saying no?’
How do you observe your emotional state? Relax!
- This gives you access to your prefrontal cortex so more ideas can come to you
- Mental relaxation—talking to people
- Physical relaxation (biology)—breathing, working out, bath or shower, massage
Move towards, not away.
- Gather data
- Expectation here—discarding data “No that must be wrong” “That’s not how it works”
- Test out ideas
- Make the call—SAY YES INSTEAD OF ‘NO’!
Coaching Action Steps
Click on this link to download the Opportunity Action Guide for more tips and exercises on creating opportunity.