Who believes that our brain can change, ideally for the better so we grow and strive to live a purposeful life?
Through my reading habit, I learned that this possibility of change is not just an imagination. Rather, in reality, it is a matter of fact that we are born to change and grow.
Consider our brain for a moment, according to Dawson Church as shared in his “Mind to Matter”, this amazing organ inside us is constantly on the boil, like a volcano, where more than 80 billion neurons that grow inside our brain are constantly being renewed and rewired to form connections with each other that is called the neural pathways.
When it comes to memory and learning, the hippocampus inside our brain does an amazing job to direct the growing, shrinking, and changing the neural pathway connections based on how we use our brain.
When we stop learning or doing something, such neural pathways shrink, the volume of those parts of the hippocampus diminishes. On the other hand, when we dedicate time and effort to master a skill, such neural pathways grow and their volume expands.
Relating this biological scenario to change, this means that we just need to give ourselves an average three weeks of either focus or ignorance to strengthen or weaken your neural pathways.
Have you experienced these before?
Consider these 2 questions:
- Have you once had a skill that you were very good at but has since gone a little rusty?
- Have you recently picked up a new thing to learn? You found out that it was really hard to begin with, but with repetition, time, and effort; you gradually experience improvements and you are getting good at it?
This continuous changing state of our brain helps us understand why we can once become good at something but overtime become less good at it, or in an extreme, completely forgotten about it.
On the contrary, even when we never once knew about something, as long as we invest the time and effort, we move from learning to remembering to eventually mastering a skill.
How does our brain know which connections to make and decide what to learn, remember, and master?
My perspective from multiple learnings is this: our brain doesn’t make such decisions. It is our mind that does.
Imagine we have a car. To use the car to get us to a specific destination, we need a driver who knows how to direct the car to go, stop, and make turns.
Inside us, the driver is the mind; the vehicle is the brain.
In short, in order to improve our capabilities for the better, be it existing or something completely new, we need to first convince our mind that we can and the potential to get better is available to us
If we want to change how our brain is to be rewired, in my view, there is a way.
First and foremost, you need to change your thoughts before you change your actions. As a matter of fact, it is our mind that directs our action and reaction. Our thinking through our mind is the source of how our brain and body react. Each day, we all get to change twice, first our thoughts, then our actions.
Impermanence is a gift
If any, the main message I hope you will takeaway from this read is this: The world we live in within us, is filled with impermanence.
Change is hard-coded into every neuron and its mutual connection with each other inside our brain.
Therefore, when you encounter something new that you don’t yet know or something you once knew but realize that your skills have gotten slightly rusty; don’t panic!
This is temporary.
My suggestion to you is to start with acknowledging these 3 important things so you can keep moving forward:
- You have a choice to grow at anytime you set your mind to. It is available to all of us.
- Doing something new and making changes about is not easy and it takes time. Don’t rush to see results. Rather, enjoy the baby steps and the process along the way. It is necessary to put in the time as well as efforts to learn, be curious, and try.
- Repeat, repeat, repeat until your brain equips you with the neural pathways you need to move you from learning, to remembering, and eventually mastering.
Simply because, we are born to change and we should leverage this capability to grow for the better. Success is available to all of us.