Words have a power that goes way beyond what they mean. Meaning is derived from context as well as knowledge (a.k.a. definition) but there is also an additional layer of associative connections that creates a truly semantic web of connections.
When words affect our physiology that much, it’s a safe bet that they also affect our neural states. The neuroplasticity of the brain shows that repetition of specific words can create new positive or negative neural pathways in the brain which then affect perception. This is the classic “is the glass half-full or half-empty” experiment and what it shows is that words can change the brain.
The brain is much like a muscle in that the “use it or lose it” principle applies. But there the similarity ends. Unlike muscles, our brains can continue to improve and get smarter as we age, provided we are aware of what it is that actually affects them.
Neuroplasticity is a phenomenon that allows the brain to adapt and grow but it needs to be subjected to very specific pressures applied with some intent, at least. There are ten things you can do to stop your brain from losing its edge and they’re all easy.
Anyone who watched the famous spoon-bending scene in The Matrix knows that reality is a mental construct that can be made to bend to one’s will if only we can see clearly. By learning how to change your reality you may not quite learn how to bend spoons or indeed stop the need to breathe altogether. You will, however, understand that perception is a mental construct and by changing just an ingredient or two you can completely change the way you perceive reality.
The “Expensive Tissue Hypothesis” argues that whatever happens to our brain (and for that matter to our body) has to give us a survival advantage and the brain vs brawn debate hinges on a simple, primary drive.
Because we are highly emotional beings emotions play a role in every decision we make. Because emotions arise out of stimuli that are external to us (or at least external to our consciousness) they control us. This means that in most cases when we are faced with a decision, we are already biologically and psychologically locked into a process.
We can train our brain to work better. We can ask our minds to function differently. We just need to find the reasons why we should do it. And those reasons are going to be different for each of us.
You may have already thought yours up or you may just be in the process of thinking about them but if not, well, here are fifty reasons (yep, you heard right) to kickstart the process for you and help you find your motivation for upgrading your brain.
Seriously. Despite the ability of supercomputers to carry out trillions of calculations per second there are still problems that are not subject to linear raw computing power. They require a different approach that currently no computer, no matter how powerful, can provide. Yet the human brain, for all its flaws and apparent slowness when it comes to linear computations can solve such problems with relative ease.
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