Sunday, December 8, 2019

TheBrainThatChangesItself


I recently read The Brain That Changes Itself: Stories of Personal Triumph from the Frontiers of Brain Science by Norman Doidge, M.D. (2007). 



In this book Dr. Doidge reviews the most current findings of brain research, and takes us inside the minds and work of some of the pioneers in the field of brain therapy.

Some of my biggest takeaways:

> Science is now providing irrefutable evidence that the brain has the ability to remap, reroute, and reorder itself in very significant ways.
> This dynamic of malleability is known as “neuroplasticity.”
> Neuroplasticity is not limited by age; the process can even occur in aging and aged brains.
> We can only affect long-term brain change through the intense paying of attention; divided attention does not lead to long-lasting change in brain mapping.
> When learning a new skill, mental practice is as beneficial as actual physical practice.
> Neurons that fire together, wire together.
> Novelty and learning new things is a requirement for continued brain health.
> The brain is shaped by culture; and culture is shaped by the brain.

My favorite quote:
“It [the brain] doesn’t simply learn; it is always ‘learning how to learn.’ The brain Merzenich describes is not an inanimate vessel that we fill; rather it is more like a living creature with an appetite, one that can grow and change itself with proper nourishment and exercise.” (p. 47)

Hope for many.  Clear guidance on the power of learning new stuff for all of us.

Wednesday, December 4, 2019

CultureCrafting

Culture moves us.  It moves our thinking, it moves our behavior, it moves the way we connect the dots in making sense of our world.  Whether we're aware of it or not.  

The culture of each of the organizations we belong to - family, faith, teams, school, state, nation - impacts us in many ways.  Some of that impact is quite overt, some of it running deeply in the background of our unconscious mind.

Here's why.  Humans, above and beyond all currently known life forms, have brains of size and processing speed that FAR exceeds those of other "creatures."  Add to that the fact that our brains have plasticity, or malleability (Doidge, 2007).  

Culture, then, is the downstream effect of our ability to change and adapt and reroute and problem solve and discern and relate and ............................. to LEARN

So what? (you may be thinking).  

Leaders must be (or become) master teachers, to affect the learning that culture shaping requires.  

What is it that we should be teaching?  The three components of culture, I believe:
1) Ways of THINKING
2) Ways of BEHAVING
3) Ways of SYMBOLIZING

That teaching is best done with great intentionality (I also believe).

Lead on!  Teach on!