“the single most important thing to know about how the brain works … connectivity.”
Dr. Olaf Sporns
“Neurons that fire together, wire together”
What makes you, ‘you’?
In a particular situation, meeting a new colleague for instance, your brain will receive lots of sensory input. You’ll notice:
Each piece of information will stimulate neurons in your brain and these neurons will trigger other neurons to become active, or ‘fire’.
But which neurons become active?
It’s the neurons that are in the default pathway – the streambed.
Another person, meeting the same colleague, may respond very differently because their streambeds are different. Your default, automatic and unconscious pathways emerged from a combination of nature and nurture – the genes you inherited from your parents and your experiences. Your ingredients are different from everyone else’s.
So what? Why is this useful to know?
Recognizing that your thoughts and feelings are the result of neural connections means that you have the potential to consciously intervene and change how you process information. If you know that your default pathways lead you to be nervous when speaking in public, you can work on changing the thoughts that flow from this trigger so that you become more confident. All you have to do is change the neural connections?
Well, not really.
However, coming-up in the second part of the Neuroscience section is an approach that I developed that can help you to ‘rewire’ your neural pathways, redirect your streambeds.
If there is the possibility to rewire, then this means that there is no ‘real you’; change how you think and you change who you are. Which is both empowering and challenging because now there are no excuses!
“Being you is an exercise in constant self-creation.”
Julian Baggini and Antonia Macaro, The Shrink and the Sage