Tips and ideas for living an authentic life

6 – 10 Months to Freedom

Do you want to experience the new you one time or do you want to experience the ever-renewing you everyday? When you feel frustration or like you are stuck, I think it’s because you have created a brain that literally resists being recreated.

You know that amazing relationship, that fulfilling career and those cool personal experiences you want? – they don’t happen because you have finally gotten “enough” money or the “right” person in your life. They happen because you have created a brain that doesn’t resist new stuff so you can engage in your life more fully.

10,000 Year Thinking has a very different way of looking at your brain. Instead of being the place where you think about things, your brain is the place where systems are created including thoughts. And, you are always creating new systems or recreating old ones (creative by nature). The creation of those systems is the unfolding of you living your life starting with the creation of thoughts and thinking which then turn into action and the things you do.

Now here’s the rub – some of those old systems you created years ago or even last week will tend to run things in a way that is not up to date if you don’t pay attention. And those really old systems, the ones that are so embedded they operate in what is called your subconscious – those really old ones can have you feeling trapped and repeating stuff that isn’t helping you in the present.

The good news is that you can actually replace those old systems with more up to date ways of doing things – the other news is that brain science suggests that it might take about 6-10 months to replace a stubborn old system with a new one. Here’s the science on that so you can have some idea of how to make your brain more flexible and responsive to the world you live in today and every day. Doing that is the “secret” to the fulfilling life you want.

In his book, The Brain That Changes Itself, Norman Doidge talks about something called “the Monday effect.” My short understanding of what he says in the book is, they did a study on how long it took people to learn Braille (this is my simplified version – so if you want the actual info read the book).

What they found was that at the end of a week of study and practice (Friday), people made great progress. By Monday, however, they had returned almost to their baseline or where they were before they started. In other words, people typically showed “rapid and dramatic expansion, but by Monday” they were more or less back where they started. That’s the Monday effect.

When you are trying to change one of your old habits, you might become discouraged because on Friday you think you have made great progress and then on Monday you feel like you are back where you started.

Based on Doidge’s book, studies show that you did make some progress on Monday but it can seem insignificant when compared with how you felt on Friday. The key is to use your Monday measurement to notice your progress not your Friday measurement. It is slower at first but the changes you note on Monday are more permanent (a new brain system is being created).

In the book Doidge says:

“If a learner thinks he is making no cumulative progress, or feels his mind is “like a sieve,” he needs to keep at the skill until he gets “the Monday effect,” which in Braille readers took six months.”

Long story short: first, recreating your brain in some cases can take months but it will happen. Second, the most useful goal is not really to recreate your brain in order to achieve something new – it is to continually recreate your brain so it stops resisting that process. Once it stops resisting that ongoing renewal, you will experience the freedom and discovery that is at the heart of the fulfillment you want.

That cerebral suppleness is readily observed in children but tends to lessen through adulthood. The 10,000 Year Thinking model suggests that the brain can remain supple at any age simply by practicing active responsiveness to your resonant energy each day.

In another study mentioned in the book, Doidge says, “Clearly the brains of kittens during the critical period were plastic, their structure literally shaped by experience.”

You are no different, your brain structure is literally shaped by your experience. So give yourself time to not only recreate your brain but to create a brain that doesn’t resist your unique energy – the creative energy that you experience as those things that resonate or just feel right to you.

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