Mirror Neurons: Touching Others In A Conscious Way

This morning, I made a cup of tea and sat down to watch an interview with Charlie Rose and Chris Anderson, the Ted conference curator.  I love Ted.com.  If you haven’t visited the website, please do.  It’s filled with exciting, creative, and provocative speeches (all 18 minutes long or less) delivered by great thinkers – scientists, philosophers, technology gurus, and all kinds of people who are passionate about their work.

Each time I visit Ted.com and listen to their talks, I’m reminded that the world is filled with people who are curious, hungry to learn, excited to share compelling ideas, and committed to humanitarian efforts that make life better for us all.  In some way, I see the Ted community as a catalyst that has the power to lift humanity to a whole new level of consciousness.

As a speaker, watching a variety of presentation styles has taught me the importance of being vulnerable and telling stories.  These are the teaching tools that leave an imprint on our hearts and minds long after the talk is done.  As Charlie and Chris were discussing the gift of storytelling and the ability to inspire an audience with the spoken word, Charlie said something beautiful:  “It’s a magical thing to see somebody walk into a room and be able to, through telling stories, through the magic of their own communication, have (the audience) almost breathing in rhythm with the speaker.”

Chris agreed, and went on further to explain, “What’s amazing is that’s what’s happening.  There is all this amazing research about mirror neurons and we now know that when one human being does something or exhibits an emotion, the other people watching that person have the same mirror neurons firing in their brains that are causing the same experience and emotion as the speaker.  So they actually are that person, in a sense, for a moment. “

Hmmmmm.  I don’t know about you, but when I consider the notion that those listening to me may be mirroring my experience and emotions, I feel a whole new level of responsibility for what I communicate in any situation.  Think about it…

Take Action Challenge

Here’s a fun idea.  As you talk with people during the week, ask yourself: “Would I want what I’m saying and feeling right now to be experienced by others?”

This week’s video was posted on my Facebook Page by Amanda.  This young man is so full of life!  Make sure you watch to the end.  You’ll find it here.


zenface 22nd February 2011 11:53 am

Thank you Cheryl:-) This article really made me think. I do make a conscious effort to speak about positive things (friends have commented on my Facebook updates, that they enjoy reading them because a lot of updates are so negative). I appreciate the reality check and the point you shared about feeling more responsible for what is said to others.


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Cheryl Richardson

Cheryl Richardson is the author of The New York Times bestselling books, Take Time for Your Life, Life Makeovers, Stand Up for Your Life, The Unmistakable Touch of Grace and her new book The Art of Extreme Self Care. She was the first president of the International Coach Federation and holds one of their first Master Certified Coach credentials.

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