Pilates for the brain

By Tracey Swanepoel

‘For as he thinks within himself, so he is.’ Proverbs 23:7

When I was 18 I injured my back almost irreparably and had to have a spinal fusion: the result I was told, of an imbalance in the development of my back muscles, after 10 years of intensive tennis.

Many years later I discovered Pilates, a form of exercise that is defined by the pursuit of balance among all muscle groups, the development of core strength and flexibility so that the body can function as optimally as it was designed to do. There’s no doubt that if I knew then what I know now, I wouldn’t be walking around with 3 titanium pins in my back.

pilates-for-the-brain-largeReflecting on this got me thinking…. about the way we think: Important stuff; because what we think determines what we do. What we do on an on-going basis (our habits) eventually hardwires our character, which ultimately shapes our destiny. If we want different results – we have to not only think different (a la Apple) but also think differently. Thinking is our greatest value creation tool. Great businesses such as Apple, Facebook, Google and the like, started with a thought, an insight, and a glimpse of what could be. So the question is: How is our thinking? I would argue that much like the right side of my back – our brains are well developed when it comes to analytical, rational, reductive reasoning (left brain thinking patterns). We know so much, and for that which we don’t know.. there’s Google!.

So what? What do we do with all this information? How do we simplify it and make new connections, how do we use it to generate new insights, and ideas? New products? To conceive the businesses of the future? To make the leap that no one else has yet made?

It may seem that a radical swing to the right side of the brain (traditionally associated with emotional intelligence, creativity imagination, integration and synthesis) is required. Not necessarily. Yes, in the short term to wake the sleeping giant we may need extra focus on this area…but ultimately we need to aim for core brain strength: that place where logic and inspiration overlap; where smart thinking and creativity intersect; where “aha” moments originate from. It’s the place I call THINKspiration.

This article was previously published here.

About Tracey SwanepoelTracey Swanepoel

Tracey is the founder and CEO of THINKspiration, a specialist consultancy which is dedicated to getting corporate strategy understood by distilling it into a compelling story that all employees know, understand and want to deliver (for more about THINKspiration please visit www. thinkspiration.co.za). Tracey lectures extensively on strategic alignment, strategy implementation using storytelling, and employee engagement. She is a regularly published columnist on these issues. Guided by deeply rooted Christian principles, Tracey is passionate about inspiring all people to reach their potential and fulfill their God-given purpose in this world!

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