Limited Ideas Entertained(2): We Only Use 10% Of Our Brains

Limited Ideas Entertained: We Only Use 10% Of Our Brains

You’re being lied to. Constantly. Sometimes by yourself. We are all subject to an endless stream of misinformation about our constraints to our capabilities, and we receive this information so often that most of us have no other choice but to believe it. The problem is that these messages directly oppose your quest to become limitless.

According to Jim Kiwk, there are 7 Limited Ideas Entertained (LIEs) in our minds that can stall us or steer us in a direction we don’t want.  In the following posts, we will examine these LIEs, demystify the myths behind them and expose ourselves to the truth we should rather believe.

We Only Use 10% Of Our Brains

We have all heard of this myth, “We only make use of 10% of our brains” . Maybe, you heard it through a friend or a family member, a colleague at work, the media, a TV show or a movie.

It is usually used in the context of highlighting longed-for possibilities: People begin to wonder if only we could access the rest of our brains, what could we accomplish?

According to Jim Kwik, the story of this myth can be traced back to a number of different sources including the work of one Dr Karl Lashley in the 1920s. During his experiment, Lashley removed part of rats’ cerebral cortex, an area responsible for higher cognitive processing and found that the rats could still relearn some tasks. This discovery led him to hypothesize – incorrectly – that whole parts of the brain were not necessarily being used.

Some blame the earliest neuroimages from PET and fMRI scans which showed bright blotches on a screen with simplified explanations. These images typically showed just one portion of the brain lighting up, leading the layperson to conclude that we only use a small portion of our brains at one time.

This assumption has been portrayed and perpetuated in countless ads and movies over the years just solidifying this myth in our minds. For example, I heard of it through the movie Lucy produced in 2014. The movie was based on the concept of how humans – specifically the more intelligent, evolved humans – are unable to tap into and utilize more than 10% – 15% of their brain power. Despite being a very good storyline focused on the idea of unlocking our greatest, albeit hidden potential, it is still not true.

This myth is pervasive, and yet it is not true.

Morgan Freeman presents a question that is based on the what-if scenario upon which the movie Lucy is based: “What if there was a way of accessing 100% of our brain? What might we be capable of?”

Well, according to the movie Lucy, we would become part of Nirvana – a singular reality – and won’t have a need for our physical bodies anymore. We would be everywhere – I’m just kidding. 

The real answer to that question which was given by Neuroscientist David Eagleman is that we would be capable of exactly what we’re doing now, which is to say, WE DO USE A HUNDRED PERCENT OF OUR BRAIN.

Countless pieces of evidence back this up. Barry Beyerstein, a professor of psychology at Simon Fraser University in British Columbia, described some of the major scientific discoveries that refute this myth, which Jim paraphrased for us:

  • Studies of damaged brains show that there is no single area of the brain that can sustain damage without a loss of ability, contrary to earlier theories. Brain scans have shown that all brain areas are active, no matter what the activity. Even while we sleep, all parts of our brains show activity.
  • Our brains are energy hogs. The brain takes up only 2% of space by weight, and yet accounts for 20% of energy consumption, more than any other organ. We wouldn’t need such an incredible amount of energy for an organ that functioned at 40% or less.
  • Scientists have also determined that the brain’s regions have distinct functions that work together. After extensively mapping the brain over decades, they’ve concluded that there are no functionless areas of the brain.
  • Finally, as we’ve learned, the brain uses a process called synaptic pruning. If we didn’t use a large portion of our brains, we would expect to see large areas of degeneration (we don’t—unless brain diseases are present).

To sum up, we’ve all been lied to because this myth isn’t true and according to Neurologist Barry Gordon from Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in Baltimore – the idea is so wrong it is almost laughable.

The truth is: You use 100% of your brain. You have all the power of your brain available to you now – and at all times.

You Use 100% of your brain
You Use 100% of your brain

The thing is while we use all of our brains and not just a certain percentage, some people use their brains better than others. Just as most people use 100% of their bodies, there are some bodies that are faster, stronger, more flexible, and more energized than others. The key is to learn how to use your brain as efficiently and effectively as you possibly can.

New belief: I am learning to use my whole brain in the best way possible.

I am learning to use my whole brain in the best way possible.
I am learning to use my whole brain in the best way possible.

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