Brain Science

Are you really in control of your own behaviour?

The origin of our behaviour has long been a mystery. Now that we understand how the brain works we can help people unlock their full potential.

persoonlijke ontwikkeling

"To get a grip on yourself you need to understand your automatic brain."

Most of our behaviour originates from the automatic part of your brain, outside of your conscious awareness. With insight on how our nature and nurture shaped how our automatic brain process information, you will be able to get back into the drivers seat and achieve your goals faster.

MOre impact faster

Our automatic brain drives most of our behaviour.

Over 95% of our behaviour happens without us consciously thinking about it. It originates from the automatic part of our brain. This is a fast and energy efficient way to deal with the gigantic amounts of data our brain has to process.

To do this, our automatic brain runs on an operating model based on the pre-programming in our DNA and lessons learned later in life. For many of us, this operating model is a black box. We will help you explore it and teach you how to take control over your behaviour.

Did you know that high performers that maximise their brainpower score 22% higher in innovation, 19% higher in cognitive flexibility and 17% higher in team creativity?

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being in the lead

Take control over your automatic brain.

True self leadership is the practice of intentionally influencing your thinking, feeling and actions towards your objectives.
If you understand how your automatic brain drives your behaviour, you will be able to manage yourself better, faster and more efficient.

In a five year study, researchers found that companies that helped their people develop these skills reports a 60% higher revenue growth than companies that didn't grow their people.

As a bonus, this type of self leadership creates confident, authentic and congruent people. Within organisations this builds trust, which reduces job stress (75%), creates more engagement (76%) and boosts productivity (50%).
“The core to successful organisational development is the art of curious and unbiased listening. To be able to do that you need to understand how your brain processes information and it's effect on how you listen and how it impacts the language you use and create. ”

Development of the automatic brain

The origin of your automatic behaviour.

During your life you will go through four developmental stages. In each stage your brain develops a new part of you. That means that who we are arises from the combination of our nature and our nurture. One builds on top of the other and combines into something bigger than all parts separate. We call that the emergent self.
0 years old

(you are born with your
genetic drivers)


From conception, our brain operates via a set of pre-programmed instructions stored in our DNA. We call that our genetic drivers.

While we get 50% of our DNA from each parent, you can see our DNA as factory default settings that carry the life lessons from all our ancestors. That is because our parents carry the DNA of their parents, and so forth. This also means that we pass on 50% of our DNA to our own children.

Research shows that in a professional context, our DNA has been found to contribute substantially to a person’s professional aspirations (40-50%), work ethic (40%), job satisfaction (36%) and entrepreneurship (48%).

0-3 years old

(you develop your
social drivers)
when we are a baby

Attachment to our caretaker

In the first years of life we are dependent on the care of others and develop our social drivers.

Our brain uses our experience with our caretakers to create a role model for how meaningful social relationships are formed and maintained. First, the experienced availability of our caretakers impacts our willingness to depend on and trust others. Second, we identify the conditions we need to fulfil so that our caretakers to accept us in the relationship. This translates into conditional or conditional self love.

Research shows that in a professional context, our social drivers have a substantial impact on how we lead (and follow), our resilience to stress, how we connect with others and how we deal with conflict.

3-25 years old

(you develop your 
personal drivers)
when we are growing up

Personal development

Once we become more mobile and socially independent, we start to discover what gives us energy and develop our personal drivers.

We spend time with people that share these passions, but due to how life goes also have to deal with a lot of people that don't. During these years (up to ~25 years old) we form our personality. Personality comes from the Latin word 'persona' which means mask. You can see personality as a mask of distinctive patterns of thinking, feeling and behaving that allows you to connect with the world around you in a pleasurable way.

Research shows that our personality plays a significant role in our workplace performance. It helps us understand in which context, in what role and with what people we remain successful and engaged.

21+ years old

(you develop your
professional drivers)
when we are a professional

Professional development

When we enter the workplace our professional experiences will shape our professional drivers.

During your career you will experience up's and down's, and our brain stores those learning experiences to form our attitudes towards (parts) of our work. Our professional drivers are relatively fluid and highly time and context-dependent. This means they can change, depending on the role you work in, the people you work with, and the organisation you work for.

Research shows a critical impact of our professional drivers on job satisfaction and organisational commitment. It also impacts the way people experience their work-life balance and matching your Professional drivers with the right context deepens the sense of purpose and contributes to meaningful work.

To change your behaviour you don't need to change yourself. You just need redefine how the lessons from your past shape your behaviour in the present. Then you can realign that with your goals and greater purpose.

Wouter van den Berg, PhD
Neuro Economist / Founder BrainCompass
get to know yourself better

Common misconceptions about the brain.

Is my DNA my true self?

No. Your DNA is not your true self, it is your first self. This also means that DNA is not your destiny. It is your origin. But remember, it is very difficult to create your future if you don't understand where you are coming from.

Does this mean that 'who I am' is fixed?

No. We keep on learning. Also, who you are is always the result of both your automatic and your conscious brain. This means that with the right understanding of how your automatic brain works, you are able to recruit your conscious brain and adjust your behaviour according to your goals.

Do we only use 10% of our brain capacity?

No. The notion that a person uses only 10 percent of their brain is a myth. Brain scans show that even simple activities require almost all of the brain to be active. In fact, we already use more than 10% when we are sleeping.

Do I need to remember what happened in my past to understand myself?

No. Your brain has extracted an operating model from your experiences. This means that when you want to understand yourself, you just need to understand the model that governs your automatic behaviour. You don't need access to the original data to challenge the model you use today.

Is there an ideal automatic brain?

No. Old theories have left us with the idea that there is, but recent data shows that this is not true. We live in a rapidly changing world, where creativity and diversity are crucial for success. That is why we should celebrate neuro-diversity and individual differences.

Does free will exist?

Well, that is a very difficult question. We would love to invite you to come over for a cup of coffee (or a glass of wine might be more appropriate) so we can talk about it from a biological, psychological, philosophical and moral perspective ;-).

Interested in what we can do to help you grow?