Think of your brain like a fast-moving superhighway. Got that image? Good, because with the recent development of brain-mapping and brain-imaging technologies, we now know that’s kind of what it looks like inside your head. Neuroplasticity tells us that the brain continues to grow well beyond the previously thought age. But don’t think “grow” as in getting the proverbial big head, but rather as a more complicated and positive implosion of sorts. Think about an oak tree with millions of tiny branches sprouting off of one another and you’ve got a rough sketch of the 85 billion or so neurons that are firing and wiring together in your brain. Like right now, as you read this, for example.
So what’s all that have to do with your success? Everything.
When we’re born, we are tabula rasa (or rosa — depending on how Latin you’re feeling), which means “blank slate.” We come into the world not knowing anything. But with every new thing we learn (aka thought we think) — from our names to math (ick), to games to rules — the process of learning grows our brain. This occurs when a neuron connects with another neuron and then they go out dancing. No wait…it means that as new neural connections are created, new neural pathways ensue. Remember the the tiny branches on the oak tree? These synaptic connections, with repetition and/or intensity of thought and emotion, will create the hub of our head, or better put, neural networks that work on auto-pilot.
It’s important to remember that no less than 90% of your thinking in on auto-pilot. This means that you quite literally are thinking yourself towards or away from success on a daily basis, depending on what neural pathways you’ve got cemented in your noggin (excuse the formal term). So when you were younger, if you had thoughts of not being good enough, for example, and you thought them long enough, you would continue to find (or create) circumstances that validated that silly notion. Those inaccurate notions, however silly and untrue, are very serious business to that brain of yours.
As you might imagine, if your neural circuitry was built on soft ground (false, self-limiting beliefs), then it will be no surprise that you hold yourself back more than you should. Perhaps you don’t take the calculated risks that would move you further in your career, or maybe you just have some health habits you’d like to reverse. Ta da da! Neuroplasticity to the rescue!
Through the brain-mapping and imaging technologies I spoke of earlier, we now know — scientifically speaking — how to grow new neural networks that will serve us far better. The trick is in “pruning” the previously programmed neural connections with new and improved ones. The best news is, this is not rocket science (a little neuroscience and biochemistry, yes). To replace a new, preferred neural pathway takes approximately 4-8 weeks. There are variables to consider.
Examples of variables might be: how deeply ingrained the old habit or belief is, how important the new, desired habit or belief is, and how much effort you put into the process. Ultimately, you can re-wire your brain by simply replacing an old thought with a new one. Of course, you have to first identify the root of the thought you want to replace, but once you’ve managed that, you’re on the right (neuro) path (way). Here’s a simple little road map of what to do.
1. Identify a thought you have that no longer serves you (you can’t make more money, you’ll never get married, you look fat in those jeans).
2. Come up with an opposing thought.
3. Continuing thinking it, believing it, and expecting it. Even “act” as if it’s already a new belief.
4. SEE the results of outcomes in your imagination repeatedly.
5. Practice staying present. Mindfulness is the number one tool that neuroscientists continue to talk about when it comes to creating new, more positive neural pathways in our brains.
P.S. Don’t forget to order the Free Medicreation Report from my Home page!
Consider how coaching might expedite your success.
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