Our brain is malleable. We have the ability to change its structure and organization over time by forming new neural pathways as we experience, learn something new, and adapt. This is called Neuroplasticity. Also known as brain plasticity, it is a term used to describe how your brain makes a new synaptic connection, anytime you learn something new. And each time this happens, your brain physically changes–it typically upgrades its hardware to reflect a new level of mind. With this basic definition, it becomes easy to see how neuroplasticity could be a tool to become limitless but just in case, you have not gotten the gist, let’s go deeper.
We used to think that when we reached adolescence our brains stop growing and begin to deteriorate. We now know that this is far from the truth. Our brains have the capacity for neuroplasticity, which means that they can be changed and shaped by our actions and by our environments. Your brain is always changing and evolving according to your surroundings and the demands you place on it.
Researchers believe that all brains are flexible in that the complex webs of connected neurons can be rewired to form new connections. This means that your brain does not remain the same, rather it changes and adapts to accommodate your experiences.
For example, the brain of one who was raised in an environment full of stressors such as poverty, lack of access to food, or lack of safety cannot be the same as the brain of someone raised in a very comfortable, affluent, well-cared-for setting. However, the brain adapts to accommodate the person’s experiences; since neuroplasticity makes it possible for the brain to be moulded and shaped, at any point anyone can decide to change the way their brain functions. This is how neuroplasticity can be used as a tool to become limitless. Rather than allowing your brain to adapt and change on its own, adapting to your surroundings and experience, you can take charge of the wheel and own the changes your brain is making. This makes unlimiting in your mindset, motivation and methods possible.
What Neuroplasticity means for Learning
Neuroplasticity is dependent on the ability of our neurons to grow and make connections with other neurons in other parts of the brain. It works by making new connections and strengthening (or weakening, as the case may be) old ties. A new neural pathway is formed whenever we learn something new—this means that if learning is making new connections, then remembering is maintaining and sustaining those connections. When we struggle with memory or experience memory impairment, we are likely experiencing a disconnection between neurons. In learning, when you fail to remember something, view it as a failure to make a connection between what you’ve learned and what you already know, and how you will use it in life.
For example, if you feel that something you have learned is valuable in the moment, but that you’ll never use it again, you are unlikely to create a memory of it. Similarly, if you learn something but have no higher reasoning as to why it’s important to you or how it applies to your life or work, then it’s likely that your brain will not retain the information. This is exactly what happens when we study most of our courses/subjects in school. It gets worse when we hate the subject and see no reason for its use. You see, the problem is not about whether or not the course is actually useful but that once you begin with the mindset that it is not useful, you are most likely not going to remember when you study that course. Your brain does not know the truth, it only believes and walks with whatever you tell it—this is why your mindset is fundamental.
Jim Kwik explains that it is normal to have a memory lapse since we are humans and not robots. But if we respond to this memory lapse with the attitude that “I have a bad memory” or “I’m not smart enough to remember this,” then we negatively affect our ability to learn and grow. In other words, the belief we might develop in response to forgetting does far more damage than the lapse in memory. He goes further to say that this kind of self-talk reinforces a limiting belief, rather than acknowledging the mistake and reacquiring the information.
You own your brain and you are capable of shaping and moulding it to suit your desires because the truth is that, if you don’t do it, external stimuli, such as your surroundings and experiences, will do it for you.
What are your thoughts on neuroplasticity? How do you try to “rewire” your brain? As always, let us know in the comments section below.