The Third Mind
I was fortunate to attend a local networking event, which provided lots of synergy with many, MANY great people. This synergy (and the great people) led me to think more about the
phenomenon called “the third mind.”
“The third mind” is when two people or individual minds come together for a discussion, creating a third intelligence that would not have otherwise occurred without the two parties’ open presence.
For example, Person A and Person B each have 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 without considering these other viewpoints.
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, especially because it also works with more than two people.
My fondest memories from my days in the corporate world are of being 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 during group brainstorming when 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 you might miss altogether if you weren’t looking for them. 1) The person would be calm when the words were expressed. 2) After they spoke the idea out loud, there followed a slight moment of silence in the room, and then everyone expressed unanimous enthusiasm for the idea. 3) 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 [or more] are better than one.” That can be true. And sometimes you can get “too many cooks in the kitchen,” a chaos that causes a team to spin in circles.
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 your higher self.
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, lower self, is running the show. Read How to Lead Your Team to More New Ideas to help you engage your team in exploring options and to move through any creative blocks.
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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