think logo

Pilates for the brain

27 March 2013
Written by Tracey Swanepoel


When I was 18 I injured my back almost irreparably and had to have a spinal fusion: the result I was told, of an imbalance in the development of my back muscles, after 10 years of intensive tennis.

Many years later I discovered Pilates, a form of exercise that is defined by the pursuit of balance among all muscle groups, the development of core strength and flexibility so that the body can function as optimally as it was designed to do. There’s no doubt that if I knew then what I know now, I wouldn’t be walking around with 3 titanium pins in my back.

Reflecting on this got me thinking…. about the way we think: Important stuff because what we think determines what we do. What we do on an on-going basis (our habits) eventually hardwires our character, which ultimately shapes our destiny. If we want different results – we have to not only think different (a la Apple) but also think differently. Thinking is our greatest value creation tool: great businesses locally and abroad (e.g. Apple, Facebook, Google) started with a thought, an insight, and a glimpse of what could be. So the question (in the same vein as those ‘How is my driving” bumper stickers on the rear of delivery trucks) is: How is our thinking? I would argue that much like the right side of my back – our brains are well developed when it comes to analytical, rational, reductive reasoning (left brain thinking patterns). We know so much (and for that which we don’t yet.. there’s Google!).

So what! What do we do with all this information? How do we simplify it and make new connections, how do we use it to generate new insights, and ideas? New products? To conceive the businesses of the future? To make the leap that no one else has yet made?

It may seem that a radical swing to the right (as in the right brain, traditionally associated with emotional intelligence, creativity imagination, integration and synthesis) is required. Not necessarily. Yes, in the short term to wake the sleeping giant we may need extra focus on this area…but ultimately we need to aim for core brain strength: that place where logic and inspiration overlap; where smart thinking and creativity intersect; where “aha” moments originate from. It’s the place I call THINKspiration.



“Reflective thinking is like
an energy booster – it gives you
the perspective and confidence
in taking the next step”

Dalu Ncube,
Chief Operating Officer,

Village Main Reef



“For me as a manager/leader/businessman the
trigger to activating my whole brain seems
to be listening. Shut up for a moment
and let somebody else stimulate your
thinking with theirs!"

Bernard Swanepoel,
Joint CEO Village Main Reef;
Partner and founder of To The Point


“We need to reframe for better
problem solving. Reframing is a way
of forced re-thinking, stating the problem
from a different perspective. It's an integral
part of coaching and opens up possible
creative and innovative ways to
crack the problem.”
Richard De Villiers,
Human Resources Director,
Village Main Reef

Get in Touch
011 463 2489 | 082 558 8066 | This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.