The Third Mind
I was fortunate to attend a local chamber networking event last night. Lots of synergy with many great people! That’s led me to think more about the phenomena called “the third mind”.
It’s a name for what happens when two people, or individual minds, come together to discuss something and a third intelligence is created that would have not occurred without the two parties’ open presence.
For example, Person A and Person B each have some thoughts on a subject. As they begin to openly share their ideas, bounce things off each other and react to what the other person says, new concepts are created. These ideas would not have emerged if one person sat alone in a room and thought individually. He or she would simply come up with more of their own notions.
This doesn’t have to happen in person, it can happen over the phone or through other technology, but my experience is that it happens with a much greater frequency when two people are together.
Workplace Team Relevance
The third mind is such a powerful tool for co-creating in the workplace. It also works when more than two people are involved.
My fondest set of memories from my days in the corporate world when I was on a work team that stretched over many months. We were a relatively compact group and got very comfortable sharing ideas openly.
There were many instances as the group was brainstorming issues that an idea would flow out of my mouth, seemingly bypassing my brain altogether. When ideas came in that manner, they were profound, timely and just the direction the group was looking for. But the idea wasn’t mine and I didn’t feel the desire to try to take credit for it because I saw the same thing happen to others.
I knew when it happened to someone else because of a quick series of three occurrences that if you weren’t watching for you might miss altogether.
- The person would be extremely calm when the words were expressed.
- There followed a slight moment of silence in the room, then everyone expressed unanimous enthusiasm for the idea.
- The person who tossed out the idea always had a slightly surprised look on his or her face, as if thinking, “How did I come up with that?”
Well, they didn’t; it was the third mind!
Why Doesn’t It Always Work?
The third mind is the reason that organizations and companies love teams so much. They believe that “two heads are better than one”. That can be true. And sometimes you can get “too many cooks in the kitchen” and a team spins in circles.
So what is the value of thinking of individuals working together in terms of the third mind and why doesn’t it always work?
The third mind concept is a representation of how inspiration works through us. Typically, when you move into a third mind conversation, you are fully engaged in the moment. If you’re worried about the future or ruminating on the past, your path to imagination and creativity are shut. Being fully in the present moment is the only way to tap into the stream of universal wisdom, the source of all new ideas.
This is why some people can come together and never reach the third mind. They are often not in the moment, not freely sharing ideas or too busy trying to impress others. That’s when ego, or the unconscious mind, is running the show.
Try it Out
The easiest way to experiment with using the third mind is with a close colleague. Share this article and then go out for a relaxing lunch to explore ideas that you are both interested in. Stay focused in the moment, share openly without fear of judgement and see if the third mind appears!
I’m focused on exploring concepts such as these and how we can integrate them to create workplaces that feed the soul. When an organization or company is filled primarily with individuals operating from their true, authentic selves, not their egos, customers and clients will resonate with what is being produced on a deep level as something that they want to be a part of. These organizations and companies will be creative beyond anything we have seen in the past.
Please join me on this journey. Let’s create a third mind together! Share your examples below of when you’ve experienced the third mind in action.
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