May I Speak to the Person in Charge? Meet Your COE
I wanted to share a very core concept to everything that I teach and bring to you. It’s the idea that you have a self executive or what I enjoy calling the COE of you, Chief of Everything. I just think it sounds more fun than CEO, Chief Executive Officer.
You are the Chief of Everything, and by “you,” I don’t mean the general you that just exists from day to day. I mean that conscious, awake, leading, focused part of you. So, anytime I’m teaching something in one of my courses, I start a module by inviting the COE, the Chief of Everything, to be the one taking the course.
Why do I do this?
The neuroscience, the science, will tell you…in varying degrees. You’ll hear various interpretations of this, but I’ve culled together tons of research, and I’ve made it extremely simple. I fully acknowledge I’ve made it extremely simple, but it’s a very useful way to look at what I’m about to share with you. But it’s based in science, and science sometimes is not exact. You get one source that says one thing and other sources says another. So I, again, I have synthesized a lot of research to contain it in a way and present it so that it can make good sense to you.
So your COE, your Chief of Everything—that self executive that I need to show up when I’m teaching you something—that counts for about 3% of your operational system, the stuff that happens as you, the human being. That means 97% of you is what I call the support staff. It’s the autonomic and automatic functioning that just happens. It’s us on autopilot. And if we’re very honest and we become aware, you will realize, we will realize, we live much of our lives with the 97% support staff—that automated/autopilot part of you—in charge.
It’s very easy to do. Hey, 97% completely outweighs 3%. But I’m here to tell you, once you awaken the COE, the Chief of Everything, and make it your default to put that in charge, then the very intelligent, focused, precise thinking, clever, creative, looking towards the future part of you will enlist the 97% support staff to work for you. You don’t abdicate to the 97%. You just delegate. And there’s a ton of intelligence that happens behind that. But again, you have to wake up.
So that’s why literally at the start of a module, I’ll be like: “an invitation to the COE, the Chief of Everything—I need you; just show up and be with me. I don’t need your 97% support staff. We’ll involve them later, but right now I need you to engage.”
So the science behind this… Again, I would have to have all my notes and resources, which I do have.
And if you ever want to look at them, reach out to me, and let’s spar, ‘cause I’m totally geeky on this. And I love to talk about it.
But again, having synthesized all this information, so we’re looking at the parts of you that, first of all… Some of it you want to run without you being involved. By all means, Body, digest my food. By all means, Body, breathe, blink, do all these things, things that I don’t need to be involved in. You go for it. The automatic parts of you… By all means, get in my noggin so that, as I’m driving, I’m not even aware of all that I’m taking in and processing. By all means, become automatic ,process of brushing my teeth. By all means, become automatic, so many daily functions that I really don’t merit my conscious awareness and complete and utter involvement.
That’s very gracious on the part of our brains and bodies, as a matter of fact, because more complex thinking literally takes more caloric energy. So, that’s one reason why, if we’re dealing with complex issues that are very taxing in terms of the amount of brain power, we can really start to feel worn out Your brain accounts for about 25% of the energy expenditure of your human self. So trust me, I get it. And we all should get it that our brains are seeking to be efficient. That’s one reason why the 97% support staff will come out in front so frequently, because part of their job is to be efficient, to help you avoid pain and seek pleasure, pleasure that is, in essence, intended to reward you by providing you nutrition and sustenance, helping you reproduce doing all those things that propel our species into the future.
But it also, again, is going to try and protect you from what it perceives as danger or pain, which in modern society can be misinterpreted when we’re just facing something that’s challenging that is actually good for us. But the brain doesn’t necessarily know how to interpret that other than to respond. And a key point—‘cause I just said the brain… It’s really our nervous system; to study neuroscience is not just to focus on the brain, and I fully acknowledge in many of my materials that’ll fall out of my mouth, I default to the word, the brain—the phrase, the brain—and because we are dealing that COE part of you is your prefrontal cortex, which is that large part of our brain that has the most concentration of neurons. It’s really the part of us that makes us spectacularly human and and helps us be us.
So the brain is obviously very pivotal, but it involves our entire nervous system. I’m a student of this stuff. I love it not just because it’s fascinating, which it is. I don’t know if you’ve ever had any appreciation of neuroscience, but wow, it’s interesting. But it’s so foundational to help me understand me and help you understand you, so that we get when things are really our nervous systems in action, just doing what it’s supposed to do. And it eliminates the self judgment because there’s a script going on that sometimes we’re not even aware of. So it’s our bodies. It’s how we were put together. And, if you have any kind of faith, you know that this can co-exist with your faith; it’s really cool. And I’ll deal with that topic another time ‘cause wow— that’s a trajectory unto itself, but again…
The most important concept I’m sharing here is that there is that part of you, that 3% that you can activate to put in the lead to make it ultimately your default, to enlist that 97% support staff to work on your behalf. Not against you. Again, it’s not trying to work against you. It’s just doing its job. It just needs you — your direction.
Why is this so vitally important? Whew, a big sweeping statement.
Do you want to live your entire life on autopilot? Boring, limiting, not your full and best, most wonderful you! There are times where it’s totally great to zone out. I get it; turn on that Netflix and just whatever. But the good stuff happens when we’re awakened, when we’re involved, when we’re intentional, and that’s what the COE, we, does. The autopilot stuff, the autonomic stuff is just, it’s there, rote on your behalf; you gotta enlist it. So it’s such a foundational thing.
I actually, a couple of years ago, I created a calendar reminder that comes up every morning. Frankly, every now and then, I have to change the alert because I become immune to it since I see it every day.
But one of the key elements that is in my daily calendar reminder is “Hey, 97% support staff, all as well, and you’re working on my behalf today. Together, we’re going to create great things.” That is my morning ritual to remind my Chief of Everything to step up and take the lead and get the rest of me—whatever, however you interpret that based on the science—to come along for the ride.
Interestingly, and this again is a wonderful topic for another deep dive, but there are neurons, obviously the concentration in our prefrontal cortex is phenomenal, 86 billion neurons in our prefrontal cortex. Ah, side note: A lot of things you may see referenced as you do, if you do any research on this, or sometimes it just floats past you as you’re reading and articles, people reference a hundred billion neurons in our brains and that’s old science.
So this is an example of why the science is a moving target, because we’re always learning new things. So, um, interestingly I, when I learn something (I’m chasing a rabbit here)… when I learn something I go to, I try and get to the source. Like if I read a good quote and it gets attributed to one particular person, I’m like “really”? So I’ll do a little legwork and see if I can find the true roots of a quote before I bring it to you or incorporate it into any of my teachings. Ditto that for this factoid about a hundred billion neurons in our brain.
Well, I did a little legwork and found that’s old and actually, nobody really can pinpoint where that number comes from, fascinatingly. And there’s this wonderful neuroscientist, the wonderful neuroscientist that I’m not gonna be able to recall her name off the top of my noggin right now …But she did this very cool research and found, um, it subtracted 14 billion neurons from our prefrontal cortex, but hey, we’re still doing phenomenally well with 86 billion neurons. And I actually bought her book. It’s called The Human Advantage. And it’s, um, just—if you geek out on this stuff, I highly recommend it. But the origins of what makes us us is really incredible to learn about.
So if you’re not interested in doing the deep dive, I’ve done it for you. And that’s why I’m here to share this whole concept with you. But again, I just wanted to point that out that, because my COE is in charge as I’m researching these things, I don’t settle. A more automated side of me would be like, “that looks like a reputable source and I’ve seen it more than one time referenced, so I’ll just go with that.” No. My COE, because I’m going to be bringing you this information, I want to do the legwork and feel of utmost integrity as I share my information with you. I am not a scientist. I feel like I’m a science writer, and I’m sharing some of this information with you very intentionally because I want you to be able to apply it.
So again, our lesson here today is the COE needs to be in charge and enlist your 97% support staff to be on board to support you. My ultimate goal? insider secret here… is to make that your default. Our brains will, again, this whole idea of being efficient. Um, that’s where a lot of biases come from. Our rash assumptions about general population groups, and some of that is so obviously negative in our society. If we’re driving and somebody cuts us off, we just blanketly decide that person that we can’t even see because of the glare of the windshield, we decide that person is just awful because they cut us off.
That is called heuristics or it’s being a cognitive miser. Fiske and Taylor came up with that terminology, cognitive miser, back in the day—two women in psychology that I am very grateful for their immense intelligence and research to present this very important idea to us that has helped me understand how my brain works.
But we will, we will go to the least computation necessary to make a decision to take action. We, our brains, want to be efficient and our nervous systems want to be efficient, so it will make rash assumptions. It will generalize. It will rely on a bias. It will just deja vu/repeat something we’ve done before because it’s familiar and easier. So—my goal is to make the smart stuff our default. If our brains are going to make us efficient, let’s make the smartest, wisest stuff our default.
Let’s not just be cognitive misers, let’s go “cognitive wiser. “
So, with your COE/Chief of Everything in charge, activated, aware, in front, you can become wiser by default in your actions and make better decisions and take more intelligent actions as more of your go-to.
The struggle is real. We are humans and that innate functionality that wants to keep us safe, wants us to seek pleasure that perpetuates the species, and wants to be efficient s owe don’t exert too much energy will always be there. And, you know, 97% can start to dominate if we don’t stay actively in the lead. So this is something that, like I said, I do a daily reminder to myself to keep the COE in charge.
And the coolest thing you guys? Over the course of my understanding and incorporation of this into the operating system of my life, I am a living example of the ability to go from being a cognitive miser—least computational energy exerted to make a decision—to being even cognitive wiser, in that my default is to get to the calm creamy center when I’m in a tense situation and not freak out and let my COE does what it needs to do to enlist the 97% support staff of me to proceed with thoughtfulness, with cognition of others and how my actions will affect them, how my actions will affect my future self.
So I’m better at this. It’s not 100%, and I’ve also fully acknowledged it will never be 100%. But I have improved dramatically. Oh my goodness. I am thinking of situations where I didn’t have the skillset and how things could have been better and different if I had, which is why I feel so led to bring these concepts and principles to you now.
So… Hey, COE, you—Chief of Everything. I, my COE is so happy to connect with you and share what I’ve learned so you can take it on, and together, we can be better. It’s going to be so great.
Thanks for being here. I’m so thankful.
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