In your brain, each space is a synapse – a thought possibility – that shapes your moment-to-moment reality.

Sometimes we see our brains as solid – bulging blobs of tofu crammed with neurons. Then we remember they’re not solid at all: they are crammed – with spaces (100 trillion spaces, plus or minus). So when you think of your brain, picture it as a spacious universe – not a dense chunk of tofu.

Each space is a synapse – a thought possibility – that shapes your moment-to-moment reality. Without these spaces, you’d be unable to sip that coffee, answer that text or hatch that innovation. It’s no stretch to say, “No space = no thought.”

No space = no thought

Space matters. Capacity is vital.

Spacious brains outperform dense brains. (Overcrowding and multitasking impairs brain function.)

Even a millisecond of space can make the difference – and save you from being impulsive.

Milliseconds matter

Here’s an example. There’s a region of your brain called the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) that straddles your rational and emotional centers. A strengthened ACC acts like a clutching mechanism – intelligently integrating your feelings with your thoughts.

Imagine life pokes you with an unsavory stimulus, such as an email slur to your character. Your emotion (anger) flares. Your reaction is instant: a blistering missive. That’s the sign of a weakened ACC: stimulus/response with no space between.

An ACC in fine form creates space between the stimulus and the response – a micro-window of possibility that provides you with alternatives. You read the email – anger still flares but the ACC creates space, emotion is modulated by a bit of thought, you sense a window of opportunity and discover a smarter option.

Try This

There is one activity that strengthens your ACC better than any other: meditation. And, if you’re like me and have repeatedly tried meditation and failed (“just keep returning to the breath” didn’t work for you), then you owe it to yourself to check out Ziva Meditation, the easiest and simplest form of meditation I’ve ever seen. I love it.

Ziva’s creator Emily Fletcher blends 3 Ms (mindfulness, meditation and manifesting).

Here’s my simple take on her practice:

  1. Get comfortable. Begin to notice what’s happening around you. Enjoy some deep breaths as you become mindful and ground yourself in the present moment by noticing sounds, smells and the sensations of your body. (2 mins.)
  2. When you feel present, picture the word one as a butterfly in your hands. Let it go, let it flutter about in your mind. As you silently say the word one, you are meditating, letting it land wherever it likes. If other thoughts come – enjoy them – then return to the word one. (4 mins.)
  3. Manifest. Pick an aspiration or dream that really matters to you. Use the power of your mind’s eye to imagine your dream as if it is a current reality. (2 mins.)

Strengthening your ACC to create more options is an example of how space invites possibility and possibility shapes reality at the micro level. In the next blog in this series we’ll switch from the micro/interior of the brain to the macro/exterior of society to see how the space-possibility-reality trifecta can reshape a fractured culture and country.

Read more in the Create Space, Invite Possibility, Shape Reality series:

Create the possibility field to energize your work (and life)

Is your work culture fractured? Create space for stories to be told and acknowledged

How to turn your luck around for the reality you want

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