The Power of Outside Influences

As many of you know, I am currently enjoying studying Educational Neuroscience in the Brain-Based Education course through Central Queensland University (CQU).

Why add to my list of qualifications in Career Development? Here’s why.

The Graduate Certificate in Brain-Based Education will enhance my capacities as a professional educator. I personally grow from this further education, and I can offer my clients even more when they come to me for advice and guidance.

That sounds like a win-win for you and me!

In my reading about the brain and the latest evidence-based scientific research about how it learns, I have learned many astounding facts. I was particularly impressed by Tracey Tokuhama-Espinosa’s book Mind, Brain, and Education Science: A Comprehensive Guide to the New Brain-Based Teaching.

One of the most intriguing sets of data that demonstrates that performance is more related to psychological (rather than neurological) differences is the so-called “Obama Effect.”

It was found that African American students have always scored slightly lower than their European American peers in standardized tests in the United States.

However, the month after Obama won the election for president, the scores of African Americans elevated to the same level as their European American counterparts; apparently, simply being shown that race was not a factor in achievement helped them overcome this perception.

You can download and read more about it in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology report: The “Obama Effect”: How a Salient Role Model Reduces Race-Based Performance Differences.

It really struck me how much outside influences decide for us what our potentials are and how important it is to have positive role models and attributes of other’s lives to aspire to.

In the news last month, Tim Howard declared his retirement from professional soccer after 22 years. His remarkable career included stints at Manchester United, eight years at Everton and being declared as one of the great soccer goalies ever; perhaps America’s best.

The Unguarded Story of Tim Howard by Tim Howard

“It’s hard to expect what your career is going to look like. You keep your head down, hope for the best and try to play well.

There was a time in my career where all I was doing was trying to survive to the next week and play well on Saturday’s so I can play next weekend.”

Tim Howard

Tim has Tourette’s and found his place in the world on the soccer field. You can read more about his extensive career in a book review I have shared on my website reviews page. I know many young people with Tourette’s have watched his courage and great commitment to his career.

We know that as social creatures, we mirror others and are greatly affected by those closest to us. So, how do we lean into this and receive the benefits of this knowledge? We surround ourselves with like-minded people, and we focus. We do the hard work to maintain our inner world and analyse our focus.

Earlier, I wrote about the importance of a nurturing community and the need to focus on the good and noble things that inspire us to reach higher. You can do this by seeking out supportive environments and cultures that will help you become your best and learn what to avoid. Accountability to a community or a mentor provides an encouraging extra external foundation on your consciousness that adds strength in times of weakness.

You can create your own healthy culture, too. I have made an effort to stop watching the news so much and getting tangled up in changing the world. I need to change my worldview in my own sphere of influence, and perhaps if we all become our best, the whole world will change.

What messages about you and the world are you listening to today? Are those messages growing your career or holding you back?

Remember that being different is our biggest asset and we don’t have to be like everyone else. If you need a keynote speaker or presenter on neurodiversity, private message me today to book your next presentation.

Thanks for reading! I’d love you to share your thoughts in the comment space below!

Dave Brebner.

Dave Brebner – Keynote Speaker, Organisational Neurodiversity Educator and Storyteller.

As a neurodiverse public speaker and presenter, Dave Brebner specialises in using educational neuroscience to explore pathways for professionals and engage in inclusive discussions for diverse audiences. Living with Tourette’s Syndrome, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, ADHD, and Anxiety Disorders since an early age, he is married with six children and one grandchild. He recently added a Master of Educational Neuroscience to his qualifications to further deepen his understanding of the neurodiverse mind, including his qualifications in Trades & Training, Adult Education, Vocational and Workplace Training, and a Master of Education degree in Career Development. Dave is a professional member of the Career Development Association of Australia, and you can learn more about Dave’s work at

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