New Experiences: Add Them For Your Brain

New Experiences. Add Them For Your Brain

When was the last time you tried something for the first time?

I know, I know!! I keep asking you that question but I promise you it’s for very good reasons.

New experiences are so critical to your development, quality of life, and well-being that it’s my mission to keep reminding you to add them into your life.

Our experiences (and beliefs) define everything about ourselves; our character, behavior, thoughts and personality traits. We have the options to keep things always the same or choose to mix them up. Sure, it might be much easier to just stick to what you know, but is it the most fulfilling way to live?

Mixing things up doesn’t just make life more interesting, fun, and enjoyable—it also improves who you are.  Nothing about you has to be static. You can change, improve, evolve, and rewire yourself in order to be the person you want and live the life you desire. You can develop “super powers”!!

The key for all of this potential is centered in the most important organ in our bodies. The Brain.

How New Experiences Affect The Brain

I’ve always been slightly obsessed with psychology, human behavior and potential, and the power of self-awareness and controlling our thoughts. This obsession of mine is continuing to grow in leaps and bounds (and into the #365FirstsChallenge). It’s incredible how much information is available, especially new studies and research by psychologists and neuroscientists, more specifically, on our abilities to rewire our own brains.

So before we continue to discuss in future blog posts how new experiences will have positive affects on “external” factors and other concrete parts of your life; it’s important to take a look at how they will affect your brain. Understanding this will help conceptualize how and why the other benefits are what they are—and hopefully start to drive home a major point: YOU CAN BE IN CONTROL OF THIS PROCESS.

Rewiring Our Brains

While it’s true the majority of our “wiring” – establishments of neuron pathways and connections are created in our youths—it’s not true that neurons stop being generated, pruned, or firing in adulthood. It’s actually an ongoing process, as long as, we take part in engaging our brains to make new pathways and connections. 

The rewiring of the brain is possible because of a process called neuroplasticity.

Neuroplasticity is the change in neural pathways and synapses that occurs due to certain factors, like behavior, environment, or neural processes. During such changes, the brain engages in synaptic pruning, deleting the neural connections that are no longer necessary or useful, and strengthening the necessary ones.

Okay, so now that we now know it’s possible to rewire our brains—why do we want to?

The answer is simple: To change and improve anything and everything we want to.

You can do away with some pathways (bad habits, negative thought processes) and program in new pathways for what you do want (better habits and positive thought processes).

You also get to increase your fluid intelligence (ability to learn), creativity, and cognitive abilities (the mechanisms of how we learn, remember, problem-solve, and pay attention.)

Fluid Intelligence

Fluid intelligence is the ability to reason and solve problems independent of past knowledge. It’s being able to learn new information, retain it, then use it to solve future problems, learn new skills, etc.

What does an improve ability to learn mean to you? How would increasing your ability to learn change and improve your life? This has nothing to do with IQ. Your IQ doesn’t control your ability to learn. Developing fluid intelligence and improving your cognitive abilities do.

My ability to quickly learn and grasp just about any and every concept has provided me complete freedom to pick and choose what I do. I never worry about starting a new job or project although it might be in a completely new area—I know I’ll learn it, do so quickly, and enjoy the process.

I constantly seek out new experiences and things to learn in order to maintain what I consider to be one of my “super power.”

I’m not smarter than other people. I’ve just trained my brain to learn—and lately with the research I’ve done, I’m realizing I need to further increase my efforts.

Creativity

The Future Belongs to Creativity

Creativity deserves a blog post of its own because it is another incredible super power (skill/ability to possess.) Being creative is existing in a state of endless possibilities and solutions. It’s living in a beautiful world of your own making.

How could you benefit from being more creative? How would that impact your world?

The future of human work(creativity)—it’s a human ability that can’t be generated by technology or artificial intelligence (AI). The human race will continue to prosper because of the advancements in science, technology, medicine, and the list goes on, generated through creative breakthroughs.

Cognitive Abilities

In a world of distractions that’s ever changing, the value of highly effective cognitive abilities, cannot be understated. We covered the ability to learn but what of the abilities to memorize, recollect/remember, problem solve, reason, employ logic, and simply pay attention.  

Can you honestly afford to not improve or at minimum ensure you maintain your cognitive abilities?

Health Reasons

Oh, and it’s also critical to battling dementia and possibly even Alzheimer’s disease as we age. Pretty major to overall quality of life in old age.

What’s one of the best way to kick neuroplasticity into high gear?

I’ll give you one guess…

NEW EXPERIENCES!

But there’s a caveat – the benefits only last while in the learning/novelty phase, so you constantly have to experience and learn new things in order to have the benefits compound on each other.

The brain is this beautifully adaptive organ—it’s designed to adjust to the new environments and challenges we provide it—so keep providing it novelty. Keep your mind in a constant state of slight discomfort or struggle to barely achieve whatever it is you are trying to do to maximize the impact of making new neuron connections and keeping them active.

Of course the irony and absolute wonder of this process is that it will get harder to maintain that state, you’ll have to constantly increase what you learn and are engaged in.  That’s how you become a person with “super powers”!!

The likes to Einstein, Galileo, and Michelangelo were engaged in multiple disciplines, hobbies, and interests—they tapped into the keys to establishing their super powers of creativity, learning, and raised cognitive abilities.

How to Get Started

Again. Simple. Sign-up and get started with the #365FirstsChallenge.

Once you join the challenge and the community of people doing it—you can access the help and support you’ll need to take the challenge to the level of getting these types benefits on a regular basis.

The Warp-Up

There’s more knowledge, research, and possibilities available to us today than in other time in history. You can choose to rewire your brain, reprogram your beliefs and thought processes, trade bad habits for good ones, and reach new level of cognitive abilities, creativity, and learnability all through choosing new experiences, which for the most part, should also be a lot of fun. I feel like I should have a mike drop right here…🎤🎤🎤

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