Did You Know Your Brain Has a Wi-Fi Function? (UHD Part 1)
If you think about it, the brain is very much like a computer. It receives information, processes it, spits out calculations, and sometimes simply needs to be rebooted. Depending on your age, you could be exactly what “syntax error” means. We each have our own ways of hitting our brain’s CTRL-ALT-DEL button. Fortunately, mine is yoga and not a hammer to the blue screen.
Regardless, we really only know how one brain works, and that’s our own. When we hear people say “you can only trust yourself,” this is what they mean. Only you know how you really feel about things. You are the only one who hears the voice inside of your head that challenges, questions, and tries to convince you of things. Only you can describe the debates and battles that go on inside of you.
Good childhoods or downright crappy ones, big families or hardly one at all, it doesn’t really matter. These are the conditions and circumstances we have no choice but deal with. We either marry the perfect person, get the killer job, or we are twice divorced and still trying to find the right mate and career. We all have some level of conditions and circumstances to deal with and we do exactly that, we deal with it.
Practice Makes Permanent, But Some Things Are Just Not Possible
Malcom Gladwell in his best seller Outliers, talked about the “10,000 hour rule.” The take-away is that if you spend 10,000 hours doing anything, you tend to get pretty good at it. For those who study the brain, no matter how many thousands of hours they spend doing this, they will never know what it is like to be inside anyone else’s head but their own. With that said, let’s consider how you can be two people at the same time. Even a vampire who has lived for 500 years cannot be both an active participant and a sideline observer of the same conversation, at the same time.
If you want to prove this to yourself, and I highly recommend it, try the following experiment.
Buy a recording device. Record a handful of events where you are one of the active participants but there are multiple people involved. Listen to it later — you will be surprised at how much you pick up that you missed. That includes your own choice of words, how you would have perceived it if you were the other person and the things you should have said but didn’t.
This experiment will show you exactly how this type of multitasking is not possible. Incidentally, this is one of the very few things in this world that I put into the category of “certainties.” You just cannot play both roles at the same time with any degree of proficiency.
Your WiFi Function Has Always Been There, You Just Never Realized It
Throughout your entire life you have been experiencing something profound without realizing it. Before I describe it, I want to ask you to do something for me. Take a moment and think back to everyone you have ever known, met, or even sat near, even if only once. Flip through as many as you can, as if you are shuffling a deck of cards face up — only these cards are people, and not the ace of spades.
In that short shuffling back in time you likely imagined a handful of images of people, Some of who you have probably already forgotten while continuing to read this. That is ok. I just wanted you to scan back into your life for a moment. What you will realize is that many of the people you recalled are somewhat faceless. You only recall general characteristics of them, or, the details of surroundings of the encounter.
Now I want you to think about as many of the best presentations you have ever observed.
Okay, so, what do you recall about any of them?
This is a bit of a trick question because the average person recalls a few specific things that were said, but they mostly remember how they felt during the presentation. Would you agree?
Now back to this WiFi thing that has apparently been happening to you this whole time without realizing it. When it happens, it does have a distinct feeling that is unique to each person. It is safe to say it is a like a spark of energy — the kind of spark that happens when you are least expecting it. Especially on the days it is just too “peoply” outside and we purposely want to avoid everyone. Yet this “Wi-Fi thing” still happens. It happens when someone else’s brain is so much on the same wavelength as your own that it feels like you are reading each other’s thoughts (and in many ways you are).
When you are least expecting it, have you ever randomly bumped into your brain’s doppelgänger?
However it happens, it just happens. Before you know it, you and this other person are proverbially scaling a building using resonating thought. The two of you are so much on the same page and mental wavelength that you either finish each other’s thoughts or say the same things at the same time, with almost the exact same choice of words.
We have all had this happen. We remember these people, each and every one of them. They are stored in our long-term memories. What’s particularly strong is the feeling we had at the time. They have a page in our virtual Rolodexes. Hours passed by that felt like minutes, and the surrounding environment in that moment, we simply ‘grayed out’ to avoid distraction.
This is the Wi-Fi process I am talking about. I refer to it as ‘Synapsing.’ It seems fitting to use this specific word because there is only one other definition of the word ‘synapse’ — the process of how your brain communicates with the body as it interacts with the physical external world, by creating electrical signals from pumping sodium and potassium ions back and forth across a gap between cell membranes (called the synapse.) It is our body’s circuitry. Synapsing, as used here, is the Wi-Fi version that does the same thing, albeit between people.
There are 4 stages of Synapsing:
I call it the “Pre” Synapse because it is like striking the flint to start a fire that by the time lit, it immediately goes out again. This weak pyro act actually begins at the grade school levels. We just didn’t realize it at the time. As adults, it doesn’t happen every day or even every week. But it happens, nonetheless. You feel it, but it doesn’t go beyond the initial encounter. If it does, it is no longer a Pre-Synapse.
Pre-Synapsing maintains several unique conditions that distinguish it from general acquaintances. It’s tempting to categorize someone as being a Pre-Synapse because you enjoyed the encounter with them. It is important to separate people we meet that are intriguing or with whom the conversation was pleasant from an actual Pre-Synapse. To help you make this distinction, there is a list of the requirements for an encounter to be a Pre-Synapse.
1. It only happens between you and one other person.
2. It is only one occurrence. If it continues it turns into a Level 1 Synapse.
3. IT IS EFFORTLESS.
4. IT IS INVIGORATING.
5. It does not need to be a face-to-face encounter. For example, it can occur with someone during a phone conversation or video conference.
6. It happens between both people involved. In other words, it is mutual.
7. The “feeling” from an alignment of mental wavelength — so to speak — almost always happens early in the engagement with the other person. In other words, it doesn’t creep up halfway through the encounter.
8. The experience is saved to both individual’s long-term memory.
9. It can be between any ages or genders.
I want to point out that it is easy to confuse Pre-Synapsing with “liking” someone, such as a physical attraction, admiration, or simply being impressed or fascinated. We have all been in situations where we probably felt like we were experiencing a Pre-Synapse, but the other person really wasn’t reciprocating. They may have wanted us to feel that way, perhaps to make a sale, get something from us or take advantage or manipulate us in some way. This will happen even when you have the lens to see it. It’s ok, and remember, perception is a reality. Secondary reflection reveals the real clues (remember the recording device experiment?). There are many people out there who feed off of the process of manufacturing the feelings of a Pre-Synapse to get what they want from you.
Pre-synapsing is the stage that happens before a Level 1 Synapse can materialize. Unfortunately, we experience far more Pre-Synapses in our life than Level 1 Synapses. This is sad because it is like all these flint rocks striking together and tossing fire-starting sparks onto the surrounding kindling and we flippantly pour our cappuccinos on it no sooner than it starts to burn. You know while checking our phones for what just pinged us and realizing how late we are for something. We appreciate the invigorating chat, but now we have real stuff to do. We exit the more or less therapeutic moment as though it was some random happenstance of fairy-tale-like co-discussion on the problems in the world. We exit because the real world doesn’t understand what just happened or the power of the points the two of you just effortlessly built. Sound about right?
If, and I mean a big gigantic “if,” we took even a fraction of the Pre-Synapses in our lives to a Level 1 Synapse, the world would be a very different place. And, our own lives would be greatly enhanced and enriched because of it.
The Level 1 Synapse
The Level 1 Synapse is simply connecting the wires of the potential energy that exists from a Pre-Synapse. It is letting that fire stay lit for a little bit longer. Whereas a Pre-Synapse is a one-time mutual synaptic connection, the Level 1 Synapse continues to grow and evolve through a multitude of occasions. It seems to me, and more so today than ever before, that the Level 1 Synapses that materialize don’t stay that way for as long as they used to. It is as though we are just too consumed and busy to realize how special the Synapsing moments in our lives truly are. It is just easier to numb ourselves with modern conveniences and shuttling our kids to everything under the sun. Fortunately, I suppose, a well-blossomed Level 1 Synapse forms a powerful bond that can lay dormant for years and will reignite like not a week was missed. (Think about the ones you can ignite right now that have been sitting dormant while your life’s distractions have been controlling you.)
The types of people we typically form Level 1 Synapses with can be varied. You certainly have them now and you do not realize it. It could be a relative like an uncle or cousin, one of your parents, an in-law, neighbor, schoolmate, teacher, coworker, etc. That person would, of course, need to agree and feel the same way about you. The truest test would be how you each answer questions related to topics of joint interest. It can be even more revealing how strong the Synapse is by asking questions outside of the kinds of things the two individuals usually talk about.
Synapsing at the most basic descriptive level is about having a similar, if not the identical “brain operating system.” And with that comes a similarity in hearing the question being asked and framing responses. THAT is where you will always find the spark of the Synapse. Your brains are similar in how they prefer to organize the external environment, absorb the information provided and process it to form opinions and judgments against it.
Like I did with the Pre-Synapse, I have conditions that must be met for it to be considered a Level 1 Synapse.
Level 1 Synapse Requirements:
1. Meets all the requirements of a Pre-Synapse, but has progressed further than a single occurrence.
2. You treat them differently than everyone else. For example, they might be the ones you always give a hug when you see them. Whether noticeable from the outside looking in or not, you greet them differently than anyone else.
3. You have a strong recollection of the details of the previous synaptic encounter you had with them regardless of how long ago it occurred.
4. Time seems to stand still when hours have passed without realizing it.
5. There is not a goal, task or problem being solved. When there is one, it becomes a Level 2 Synapse.
6. The relationship has enriched your personal life.
7. You answer questions nearly the same. This can be topic-related or questions about one another.
8. Long periods of time without contact do not have a negative impact on the quality of the Synapse.
9. Social friendship is not necessary. We can (and do) build Synapses with people whose personal lives we know very little about.
10. It has been Time and Situation tested.
Once you separate friends and acquaintances from those who you believe meet the requirements of a Level 1 Synapse, the next step is to determine if it has been ‘time and situation’ tested. That is if the other person agrees it’s a Level 1 Synapse and both can pass the “know each other” litmus test. The next question is how well has it been “pressure tested”? You will know if the two of you share similar/the same brain hardware when it is being challenged. For example, how you would each handle a challenge test like one of these new Escape Rooms where you race against the clock to find the clues to escape?
Synapses are not benign to dissolution. The same things that can end a non-synaptic relationship can end a synaptic one. We all have degrees of preferences and expectations that we hold onto others and there are times the other person may cross that line or vice-versa. We are all subject to varying degrees of influence that could have a negative effect on the Synapse, such as a spouse or significant other. Therefore, now is a good time to introduce and describe the Negative Synapse.
The Negative Synapse
Before you can fully grasp ‘Synapsing’ it is important to understand what Negative Synapsing means and how we actively avoid these situations.
A Negative Synapse, in its most simple form, is the inability to exchange ideas, information, and energy between two individuals. Negative Synapsing can manifest itself in every aspect of our lives: professional, social, academic, and even within our own family. The Negative Synapse also has its own unique “feeling.” The Negative Synapses are those individuals we want to avoid, even if we cannot always articulate why. There is just something about them that repels us and we find the encounters exhausting.
For example, you may have been asked at some point in your life to complete a work or school assignment that required what seemed like twice as much effort to produce an average product, because of the partners you were assigned. It wasn’t due to a lack of effort. In fact, you may have put in more effort than you normally would, but the ultimate result never exceeded the relative average. These experiences, similar to Pre-Synapses, make it into our long-term memories. Tagged again with uniquely associative details. Arguably, we have even stronger memories of the Negative Synapses we have experienced in our lives.
You have experienced Negative Synapsing in a social situation. Perhaps, a painstaking, drawn-out conversation with somebody that you happily escaped. You might have even made a personal vow to be better prepared next time, with an escape plan. You may find yourself at recallable times passively listening; pretending to be engaged and trying to not be obvious as you look at the time or for someone else to enter the discussion. This situation does not require that the individual is already known. Negative Synapses happen as instantly as Pre-Synapses.
Here are a few reasons I have seen Negative Synapses happen, however, what causes a person to be a Negative Synapse is very much a personal arena.
- Violation or crossing boundaries of a personal value, moral or citizen expectations.
- Extreme differences in brain function/wavelength (future blogs will dive into the brain hardware/software more deeply.)
- Seeing signs of narcissism, passive aggressiveness or dispassionate regard to others. Sensing the other as being deceitful, untrustworthy or as being “fake.”
- Feeling talked down to, bullied or someone who doesn’t appear genuine when listening.
The Level 2 Synapse
The Level 2 Synapse is in its simplest form a Level 1 Synapse that has decided to stop talking and do something! It is like putting the car in drive after you and the other person have been working on the engine, possibly for years. The Synapse itself can remain as effortless as the Pre- and Level 1 Synapse, especially in the beginning. The focused energy, connecting the wires of both brains is exhilarating to both individuals. How well the Level 2 Synapse affects the resulting goal depends on how well it overcomes the obstacles to a successful outcome.
Hopefully, you can think of examples of where this was you and someone who you feel meets the Level 1 Synapse requirements. We should all be able to recall at least one event in our lives that rings familiar with the Level 2 Synapse. It might not have been on purpose, meaning, it could have been a random encounter on the same team with a Pre-Synapse that quickly went from Level 1 to Level 2 because there was a goal to achieve.
Can you think of an example from your own past?
Good, I knew you would think of at least one. Now, what would you have done differently if you had realized the special connection you and the other person had? How would you have fueled the synaptic fire?
In sharing the framework of the “Synapsing” concept with others along the way of its development, it became clear that below the surface of one’s initial grasp it can get confusing as to what is the right ‘task’ or ‘goal’ that would energize a Level 1 Synapse towards a Level 2. What I will tell you is that it goes back to two people who answer questions the same. To pursue anything in life means getting others to support you, advocate on your behalf, remove barriers, or be an instrumental part of opening the path. With a Level 2 Synapse, you are the SAME PERSON IN TWO DIFFERENT PLACES at all times and doing all of these things. And the duo is ALWAYS on the same page. On the same page to the point, they only need to touch base when they have some nice pieces to the picture on the jigsaw puzzle box to share.
At this point, the difference between a Level 2 and Level 3 should be predictable.
The Level 3 Synapse
The duo turns into a network of 3 or more. It includes more Synapses but also what I call supporters to the Synaptic network. These are the people who simply believe what the Level 3 Synapses are doing and saying. These are the people who are emotionally committed and want to be a part of it.
History has been shaped and changed because of Level 3 Synapses. I will post future blogs that provide historical examples of the power of Level 3 Synapses but just think about something for a moment. Everyone wants to be inspired, do they not? When the conditions of the current state are caustic, a voice of change is inspiring. We see this as the difference between talking-down, slaving, bossing versus the leader amongst us, fearless, brave, etc. This is someone we want to believe in. When they are not one but several, such as a Level 3 Synapse, it can go from the flint sparking wet kindling to a raging forest fire rather quickly.
Synapsing is the single most effective means to overcoming resistance to change. This can be as simple as innovation within a company since innovation by definition is a hindsight term. It was not an innovation as someone’s ridiculous idea, was it? Only a Level 2 or 3 Synapse can overcome the opposition based on decision makers’ inability to see what the synapsed team sees. Or, it can be much more tectonic of course, such as the American Revolution and how Reagan ended the Cold War. In fact, every inflection in history can be seen through the Synapsing lens for how individuals overcame the odds that led to change.
I have been studying Synapsing and the potential it possesses for a long time. I see it when it happens and I see it rot on the vine of opportunity. I see its misguided path at times, knowing it is a futile waste of such organic power. It often leaves me feeling hollow inside and powerless to help. And it seems worse today than ever before. We are too distracted and overwhelmed in general, and we have endless sources to pacify and numb our gut’s voice from telling us the stuff we don’t want to hear or deal with right now. Sound familiar?
Once you have the lens to see something, it cannot be un-seen. It’s like buying a new car. Let’s say it is a silver Honda Civic. Not only do you notice every Honda Civic on the road, but you NEVER miss the silver ones, no matter how deep into a conversation you are in at that moment. It is no different here. Once you understand Synapsing and the powers of it, you will start to actively day think/dream about the “what ifs.”
What if I reconnected with this person and talked about taking that Level 1 situation to a Level 2 and actually did something with it?
You will find yourself pondering these and many other questions. This is a good thing. I promise you, Synapsing is the only way an individual’s energy can be combined to overcome the debilitating forces of the Ultimate Human Dilemma (stay tuned for a future blog on the UHD). It might seem cheesy, but in writing this, one way to visualize the power of Synapsing/WiFi process is from the movie Ghostbusters. When they combined their streams of energy, look at what happened as a result.
What led me personally to “see” Synapsing and the power of it, was from the same two mentors who planted the seeds of what I now call The Ultimate Human Dilemma. They were Negative Synapses for years. Their mutual manager, however, saw great potential in them if they could only combine their “ghost-blasting ray guns” — so to speak.
If you happen to know Myers-Briggs Personality Type Indicator, one is an ENFP — Extraverted-iNtuitive-Feeling-Perceiving and the other an ESTJ Extraverted-Sensing-Thinking-Judging. It doesn’t get much more dissimilar and generally incompatible than this. By the time I was introduced to them, they were so powerful together that it was literally like they had their own language. They each knew when to take control, based on their strengths, while the other was the shadow playing the role of the sideline observer. They were the active participant and the audio (and video) recording device AT THE SAME TIME.
If they can accomplish Synapsing, then why can’t we all do it? And if they can Synapse across the functional differences in their brain hardware and software, then why can’t we all do it?
I sure hope you have enjoyed the introduction to Synapsing. It is one of the 3 critical lenses to the Ultimate Human Dilemma. Synapsing is the most powerful weapon against it and when you know it exists, and purposely seek it out, anything can be accomplished. You can change the world with it. Because, the world has been changed by it.
If you found this of value please give me some love by recommending it to others! And as always, I would love to hear from you by posting your questions or comments. My email is email@example.com if you would like to learn more about Synapsing or the UHD and you can visit our website at www.up-factorllc.com