By John Pratlett
A revolutionary discovery that the human brain can change its own structure and function through thought and activity is perhaps the most important alteration in our view of the brain in 400 years. Known as neuroplasticity, it has the power to produce more flexibility and can also lock in behaviours.
Neuroplasticity has enabled the blind to see, the deaf to hear, the learning disabled to learn, and 80+ year olds to sharpen their memories to that of 55 year olds. Norman Doidge’s book, “The Brain That Changes Itself” covers this in detail. Here’s a 27 pg. free summary of it, thanks to Neil Rainey.
The brain automates everything it can to conserve energy.
Change requires vastly more energy in order to pay conscious attention! Like learning to ride a bike – we wobble around, fall off and look stupid. It takes attention, practice and correction, and then more practice and correction, to move from being consciously incompetent to consciously competent. Add more practice, up to around 1000 goes, before it becomes automatic due to plasticity. We can characterise the stages as moving from:
- novice – unconsciously incompetent.
- to competence – consciously competent.
- then proficiency, expertise and mastery – different levels of becoming unconsciously competent.
Is it any wonder that people resist change. So, this week, when attempting something new, be more patient, allow more time, and enjoy the challenge, rather than resenting the inconvenience.
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