This is the last in a series of three articles that presents six recent discoveries about the brain that help explain our success—and failure—as it relates to living our lives and working towards our professional and personal goals (this information is based on the coaching model I use and the intellectual property of Results Coaching Systems).
In the first article, I presented Finding #1: The Brain Is a Connection Machine and Finding #2: No Two Brains Are Even Remotely Alike. In the second article, my focus was on Finding #3: The Brain Works to Hardwire Everything Useful and Finding #4: Perception Is Driven by Our Hardwiring.
This final article presents Finding #5: It’s Almost Impossible to Change Old Wiring and Finding #6: It’s Easy to Create New Wiring, and how you can apply them in your work, business, and/or life.
Finding #5: It’s Almost Impossible to Change Old Wiring
Because the brain is a connection machine (Finding1 #1) and it works hard to wire everything (Finding #3), anything you pay attention to or focus on becomes stronger in the brain. Applied to Finding #5, if you focus on old wiring, you actually strengthen it. Counterintuitive, isn’t it?!
Having trouble picturing this? Pretend your old wiring is like a plant and attention is like sunlight. Pay attention to your wiring and it grows. Ignore it, and it eventually withers. (Some things are wired so strongly in the brain—think 9/11/2001 or your child’s birth–even inattention to them will not cause the wiring to disappear.)
This goes a long way in explaining why, despite all your efforts and focus on turning a weakness into a strength, it’s still a weakness.
Why is this important to you?
Rather than pay attention to what you have that you don’t want or to the problem in front of you, focus instead on where you want to be or on what you do want. Shift your focus from solving problems to generating solutions. This allows the brain to ignore its existing (old) wiring. And because it is a connection machine, it will want to reconcile any disconnects (or gaps) you create by focusing on your vision.
Finding #6: It’s Easy to Create New Wiring
Finding #6 is the silver lining on the dark cloud that is Finding #5. Because the brain likes to makes connections, it is actually easy to create new wiring. The brain is doing this all the time. The trick is to pay enough attention to this new wiring to make it “stick.” Again, think of our plant analogy. If you stop providing sunlight and water and food to the young seedling, it will soon die. New wiring, like a young plant, is very fragile and needs constant attention to take root. By paying enough quality attention to this new wiring, you are allowing your fledgling neural paths to solidify and become hardwired maps.
Why is this important to you?
New thinking creates new habits and new habits yield new results. If you know it is easy to create new wiring, you can shift your energy and attention to doing just that—creating new maps—rather than focusing on – and solidifying – old wiring. This will save you time and energy (and a lot of grief) and create better results faster.
If you want to learn more about how to apply these findings to your work, business, or life, contact me at 516.216.4233 or firstname.lastname@example.org.