Fail, fail, fail, fail, succeed


Neuroplasticity: the ability of the brain to form and reorganize synaptic connections, especially in response to learning or experience or following injury

I’m old enough to remember being taught that “the brain cells you are born with are all you are ever going to have.” This was the accepted paradigm until somewhere around the last quarter of the 20th century when neuroscientists began to realize several things – not only that this theory was not true, but that we actually had some control over this process. WTF?! How did the experts get this so wrong? Asking this question illustrates a fundamental misunderstanding of the scientific process – a theory is “a supposition or a system of ideas intended to explain something,” it is based on the best evidence available at the time, until it is proven untrue. And in this case, until the tools were invented that allowed us to prove otherwise, this was the accepted theory.

So what does this mean? It means that the more engaged we are in our thinking, and the more actively we use our brain to learn new things, the more robust and greater in number our neural connections. The more we learn, the smarter we become – not just from a cognitive perspective, but also from a physiological one. The more senses we engage with our learning, and the more focused and intense the repetition in our pursuit of new skills and knowledge, the stronger these connections become.

It also means that we must constantly question and challenge “accepted” beliefs. We must not become lost in a world where we are constantly seeking reaffirmation of things we already know. In fact, the more we can be thrown into situations where we are the dumbest person in the room, the better. Being the smartest person in the room means you aren’t going to learn much, but it feels good for your ego.

Always question and keep learning, and always use critical thinking when questioning. Our brains are either actively moving forward or passively falling behind. The choice is yours…