Whatever You’re Doing, It’s Working

You’ve heard me talk enough about brain plasticity, the idea that the cells that make up your brain can rearrange themselves and actually change how you think.

Photo Credit: Unsplash | Marten Bjork

Don’t get too excited.

This doesn’t mean you can have an IQ of 200 or that you’ll suddenly reach enlightenment.

I’ve read far too many articles claiming that neuroplasticity can do some pretty impossible things.

The next time you read something like this, please look it up.

You’ll probably want to look it up using a better search term, though.

Try “Hebbian Theory.”

That’s the nerdy-sounding origin of this concept.

You can use this to “reality check” big, sensational claims about neurotropic drugs or the 4 Steps To Mind-Hacking Your Way To Being A Millionaire With Six Pack Abs.

Here’s what Hebbian Theory actually says:

“an increase in synaptic efficacy arises from a presynaptic cell’s repeated and persistent stimulation of a postsynaptic cell. “

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hebbian_theory

Translation:

Practicing thoughts or actions can help make those thoughts and actions easier.

This means that if you’re complaining, you’re getting better at complaining.

If you’re playing scales on the piano, you’re getting better at playing scales on the piano.

If you’re frying an egg . . . well, you get the idea.

You’re getting better at whatever you’re doing right now.

Here’s an old articulation of this:

“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.”

– Aristotle

The Punchline

Who you become is largely up to you and how you spend your time.

No matter what you’re doing, you’re moving in that direction.

Choosing your habits from here, now that you have this knowledge, is up to you.

“”You cannot get through a single day without having an impact on the world around you. What you do makes a difference, and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make.””

– Jane Goodall

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