My Stroke of Insight

My Stroke of Insight

Leadership Styled Book club – My Stroke of Insight


Executive Summary


After watching Jill’s 20 minute Ted talk I could see that she is a passionate, insightful and colourful person and these qualities and personality comes through in bundles in her writing. Her descriptive use of language transports you right in to her “LaLa Land” and it’s a lovely place to be! A neuroscientist (and singing scientist) Jill suffers a major haemorrhage in the left hand side of her brain and through her trained eyes she allows us to watch as her mind completely deteriorates in its ability to process information, leaving her unable to walk, talk, read, write or recall any parts of her life. Jill introduces us to who she was pre-stroke, she then uses simple science to explain exactly what happened to her brain during the 4 hours and explains in great details the step-by-step deterioration of her cognitive ability as seen through her eyes. We see her move from a whole individual to become one with the universe as her consciousness shifts more to a perception. Jill describe her journey into her right hemisphere where she found true inner peace, and after reading her experiences it this is most definitely something we should all try to thrive for!


About the Author


Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor is a trained and published Neuro-anatomist. Her research specialty was in the post-mortem investigation of the human brain as it relates to schizophrenia and the severe mental illnesses. Because she has a brother who has been diagnosed with the brain disorder schizophrenia. 


Dr. Taylor gave a presentation at the prestigious TED Conference. A video of that presentation was posted on the TED website which was immediately viewed by millions of people around the world. The response to the video launched Dr. Taylor into becoming a highly sought-after public speaker. She was chosen by TIME  Magazine as one of the 100 Most Influential People in the World for 2008


Jill’s Strokes of Insight 


1. “I must be willing to give up what I am in order to become what I will be”  Albert Einstein


In Jill’s writing she never appears to panic about what she is losing, she uses every experience as an excuse to learn more, and that is what we should all do. Too many of us try to control everything while instead we should be embracing every opportunity as we never know where these may leave, in Jill’s case it lead to inner peace and insight!


2. The Right Hemisphere Rules!

So much about Jill’s LaLa Land (which is where she goes when her Right Hemisphere takes over) seems ideal to me! She describes herself “floating from isolated moment to isolated moment” she wasn’t constrained by learnings from the past of the “what if’s” of the future. Furthermore she no longer perceived herself as a physical being and finds herself at one with the universe. 


3. Don’t be an Energy Vampire


“Positive energy gets Positive results”


 Jill was unable to speak or understand language however she was able to perceive others intentions and energy’s. She describes how a medical student who was not interacting with her correctly drained Jill of the little energy she had. Jill described her as an “Energy Vampire” and makes the decision not to waste her precious recovery time on this person. Furthermore, although she did not recognise her Jill knew when her mother had arrived by the energy she could feel from he. It is important to choose not to let “Energy Vampires’ take up our time… those people who demand so much from us and give nothing in return. However, we must pay more attention to the energy we are giving out to ensure we do not become “energy vampires”, when we are not getting the response we want from people it may be that we are not communicating with them in the correct way… we are being Energy Vampires! 


I think this quote by Jack Canfield sums up Jill’s key message…


“To attract what you want in life you must stay in a state of love, joy and gratitude” 


4. Silence can be Bliss


Jill’s stroke had silence her “Internal Chatter” that voice inside our heard which makes it so hard to find inner peace.  Jill made the decision not to stand in her own with regards to recovery, she avoided negative self-talk and celebrated the small successes in her recovery. And as a result Jill realised that there is nothing external that can take away our inner peace. We must be careful about our self-talk and not stand in our own way.  We our in control of how we perceive every experience and our reactions. 


My Stroke of Insight 


And my stroke of insight from reading Jill’s experiences is to start spending more time in my right hemisphere, live for the moment and avoid the “energy Vampires” at all costs! 


Because in Jill’s words “Peace is only a thought away…” 


"Peace is only a thought away..."

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