Susie Lawrence is behavioural psychologist, soon to be author, mother and partner. She talks with us about the importance of mind and what mean wisdom to modern people.
"Our brain and heart are in close communication all the time." - Susie Lawrence, behavioural psychologist
by Eliza Lawrence, Otc 29th, 2021
How much do use your mind?
Our minds are driven and fuelled by our bodies. Philosophers and even scientists hotly debate what consciousness really means but we know that our thinking is really personal and subjective and influenced by the way we individually see the world around us.
Is your mind involved in everything you do?
Wow, that’s a hard one; I like to think that are body as a whole is involved in everything do and it all works beautifully or not so beautifully together. Let’s take an example, romantic love causes a surge of activity in brain areas that are rich in dopamine, the brains feel good chemical.
In the early stages of love, emotional excitement raises the body’s cortisol levels; we have a racing heart, sweaty balms and butterflies! Our brain and heart are in close communication all the time.
On your website's home page you say that you are 'supporting individuals and teams, to be wiser.' What does it mean: 'to be wiser'?
Wisdom is one of those challenging words isn’t it? It’s difficult to define and we don't like to claim that we are wise. And what difference does it make to our lives if we are wise anyway?
As a psychologist, I am fascinated by the social, emotional and cognitive processes that translate our experience into ‘being wise’.
This is about stepping back, reflecting, and embracing multiple perspectives before making a decision. Accepting ambiguity. Listening, and really valuing another point of view. Reflecting on what really matters personally, and living life accordingly.
Knowing when and how to let go of what is finished, to reinvest in life, make compromises, and engage in new exciting activities. You can take a look at how my clients define wisdom in a short film we made together.
Susie Lawrence is a Psychologist and coach enabling wiser working lives. Since 2008, 43 organisations have used Susie to develop teams and help their leaders grow. She has also worked with over 250 individuals who want to make a career transition happen. Lawrence lives between Wales and London.
Researchers have found that people who are perceived to be wise typically demonstrate high levels of intrapersonal and interpersonal competence, including deep understanding and reflection, excellent judgment and communication skills and empathy for others.
Trusting your vast warehouse of experience rather than formal learning might also be one of the core features of wisdom. This tacit knowledge is action-oriented, it helps you to achieve goals you personally value, and it can be acquired only through learning from your experiences.
So perhaps even though we can’t define wisdom, we know it when we see it.
Can everyone achieve wisdom?
Absolutely. Picture my recent client, a successful finance director who had lost a sense of purpose in his work. As a result, he was struggling to make an impact and be recognised for his contributions. He was at a real choice point in his career. We explored his need to work with ideas and abstract concepts, but also his skill of viewing a problem from divergent points of view.
We discussed his need to build relationships based on depth and his values of curiosity and creativity. He began to think differently about his role and look for ways to shape it to fit what he liked doing. He started talking more about his style to others at the office and as a result he found new ways of working with people.
This newfound wisdom and ability to be open-minded and willing to make changes has not only cultivated a real sense of enjoyment in his work - he also secured a promotion. I think it's a great example of using your values rather than goals to find meaning. And understanding your intellect and finding a way to feed it; living through the challenges and possibilities of the unknown and having the wisdom to embrace it.
Do you use mind, body and soul in everything you do?
We have already talked about mind and body; when I thonk of soul I think of a real quality of purpose and attention to the WHY. And the ability to use your 5 senses to experience life. Both of these have to be really cultivated through reflection, practice and being mindful to the rich experiences that life gives us.