Unlocking opportunity!

Opening up the possibilities for adult development

I have been immersing myself in the research around vertical (or ego or consciousness) development.  This describes how we continue to grow through adulthood deepening and broadening our grasp on reality and reducing the number of things that “don’t fit” – and therefore the amount of energy we must expend to maintain our world view in the face of these discrepant thoughts.

A baffling observation is why are there so few adults to be found at the higher levels?

Another idea that is discussed widely by practitioners is ‘shadow’ that holds us back and particularly the concept of ‘shadow crash’ where our level of meaning making falls to an earlier level in response to some trigger.

Gradually, the realisation has dawned that ‘shadow’ is the red brain.

Giovanni Segantini - During the Thaw - 1888

Giovanni Segantini - During the Thaw - 1888

This is a strong result.

The implication is that the creation of the red brain through applying controlled motivation to children prevents their lifelong development as adults.

Having an active red brain limits our ability to grow vertically and that by working to make it fade away we can open up the possibility for continual growth.

Better still, let’s not create a red brain in the first place by outlawing the use of controlled motivation.  Such a step might take some time to implement as many tacit models for managing children (and adults) are based on it.  To shift ingrained, tacit models then new models need to be made explicit and modelled by leaders.

This is very exciting!



John Corrigan is an expert in helping individuals to bring their whole of mind to their daily life and increase their effectiveness and the effectiveness of those around them. This expertise scales from the individual to the team to the organisation. At the core of this work is the practice of encounter.  Earlier blogs can be found here.

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John Corrigan