Over the past year, I have been intensely studying neuroplasticity and our brain’s ability to change itself. Recently, I watched a documentary called The Brain that Changed Itself on Amazon Prime. It’s a book too, so whether you watch it or read it, I highly recommend it. I wanted to take a few minutes to share some of what I learned with you while studying neuroplasticity and watching this film.
The documentary shared a scientific study where they had one group of people learn to play the piano for five days, while they had a second group of people simply think about playing the piano for five days. And the results were shocking.
The group who actually learned to play the piano went through all the motions. For five days, they moved their hands across the keys as an EEG recorded their brain waves and electrical patterns in their brains while they learned and played. The results showed that as these people were learning to play the piano, their brains grew. They saw the brain literally grow and adapt to learning new things.
The other group went through the same process, except they only sat and thought about playing the piano, but the did not ever actually touch one. Now pay attention, because here is where things get crazy. These people – the ones who only though about playing the piano, but who never actually moved their hands – had results from the EEG that showed the exact same brain change, identical to the people who actually learned to play the piano. WHAT?! IDENTICAL? Yeah, that’s what I thought. Which just goes to show that the brain very much, in a very real, tangible way, is changed by how you actually think.
Based on this, I want to challenge you with this. You can’t think differently than the way you act.
I see a lot of small business owners who go through the same motions. They take classes on how to help their business, how to write copy, how to do better wealth management, how to grow a wealth mindset. But at the same time, their brain is thinking about all their struggles, what they are lacking, what obstacles stand in front of them.
But you can’t say, “I’m going to take advantage of this opportunity,” but in your mind think about the fact that you are probably going to fail. Because as we have seen with studies in neuroplasticity, your brain is affected by the way you simply think. So if you think you are going to fail, your brain will not grow and allow you to soak in all the new knowledge needed to succeed.
This happened with the 4-minute mile. For the longest time, people thought it was impossible; they thought that the human body simply was not capable of running a 4-minute mile. But then, in 1954, Roger Bannister ran a mile in 3 minutes and 59 seconds. Part of his training was thinking and visualizing crossing the finish line in less than 4 minutes as a way to mentally train his mind to believe this achievement was possible while his body physically trained.
Not long after Bannister broke the record, others did too. Once the rest of the world say that a 4-minute mile was possible, they mentally could accept something that previously was seen as impossible.
So many small business owners are guilty of this mode of thinking. They think about the skills that others have versus their own skills and they doubt their ability to succeed. They think about the amount of money they have in their bank account right now and immediately loose sight of growth in the future.
You have to start where you are with what you have, but you have to believe in your heart and your mind that you and your business will grow into a success.
This isn’t just me talking either. This is science and psychology. Neuroscientists have said that the brain actually changes when motivated, when enthused, when excited, when energized. The brain does not grow when it is disengaged or disconnected. But when the brain is active, it changes. It grows.
So what are you actively and mentally doing to build your business? Maybe you have signed up to take my classes, which is a great mental first step, but what are you physically in response to what you are learning?
Maybe the reason you’re not getting breakthrough in your business is because you haven’t broken away from things that you need to. Maybe it is a relationship, or a mindset, or a different struggle in your life that is completely bombarding you mentally and physically.
If this is you, then think back to the piano experiment. The people who physically learned how to play the piano had the same brain growth as the people who just though about it.
You can’t think about failing if you are trying to take steps towards success. You have to physically and mentally take action. You have to be disciplined in the way you think. The human brain is a gift from God. It’s power and ability to adapt and grow is amazing. But apathy and denial and fear of failure will only limit your potential.
I truly believe that neuroplasticity is a huge key to success in business. And I believe the value in the understanding of neuroplasticity is also a huge key to using more of your brain than you are using now. I don’t like the saying, “We only use 10% of our brain.” God didn’t give me something to only use 10% of it and be okay with that.