So to focus on some inspiring Talks by women, every Tuesday is TEDTalk Tuesday on seven2success’ Facebook. One inspirational TEDTalk a week. Every Tuesday. A Talk by an inpiring women. And on July 16, the TEDTalk by dr. Jill Bolte Taylor ‘A Stroke of Insight’ was the Talk-of-the-day.
One morning, a blood vessel in Jill Bolte Taylor’s brain exploded. As a brain scientist she got a research opportunity few brain scientists would wish for: she had a ringside seat to her own stroke. She watched as her brain functions shut down one by one: motion, speech, memory, self-awareness… An amazing story!
The human brain has amazed people throughout the ages. Some scientists and doctors have devoted their entire lives to learning how the brain works [among them dr. Jill Bolte Taylor]. There are a lot of scientific facts known about the brain. It weighs about 1,3 – 1,4 kg. It is made up of about 75% water, consists of 100 billion and some neurons and you have about 70,000 thoughts a day [most of it being the same thoughts every day, running around in circles…].
Scientific facts about the brain can be found all over the internet and Project Eve isn’t a scientific website. So today I will give you seven amazing facts about the brain:
Your brain isn’t that smart
Warning! This may burst one of your bubbles [especially as a female]: multitasking is a myth. You simply cannot multitask efficiently. All the brain is doing is going back and forth very quickly, giving you the illusion of multitasking. The reality is, performance is inhibited by this approach, not improved.
And exercise that will help you ditch multitasking once and for all [first fully read the exercise before you start]:
Write down the sentence ‘I am an excellent multitasker’, followed by the numbers 1 – 25 [all of them] on the next line. As fast as possible!
Time this process. How long does it take you to perform step 1?
Multitask: Take the sentence in step 1 and write down the first letter ‘I’ then the number ‘1’ below it, then the second letter ‘a’ [on the first line again], then the number ‘2’ below it, then the thirth letter ‘m’ and the number ‘3’ and so on. Complete the whole sequence upto the 25th letter ‘r’ and the number 25. So letter-number-letter-number-letter-number… As fast as possible!
Time this process. How long does it take you to do step 1 in a multitasking way?
Positive thinking changes the brain
Positive thinking really does change your brain. In a real physical way. The science is called neuroplasticity. Scientists are proving the brain is endlessly adaptable and dynamic. It means that our thoughts can change the structure and function of our brains. Repetitive positive thought and positive activity can rewire your brain and strengthen brain areas that stimulate positive feelings. The brain can form new neural pathways — if we do the work. Just like exercise, the work requires repetition and activity to reinforce new learning.
The brain is a belief engine
From sensory data flowing in through the senses the brain naturally begins to look for and find patterns. Then it infuses those patterns with meaning. We can’t help believing. Our brains evolved to connect the dots of our world into meaningful patterns that explain why things happen. These meaningful patterns become beliefs. Once beliefs are formed the brain begins to look for and find evidence in support of those beliefs. This adds an emotional boost of further confidence in the beliefs and accelerates the process of reinforcing them. Round and round the process goes in a loop of belief confirmation.
The very same process that helps us form beliefs about the universe and ourselves, makes us also more capable than any other species of self-deception and illusion, of fooling ourselves…
The brain and memories
Your brain is constantly lying to you when you have your eyes open. It cannot deal with every single detail that you’re looking at. The occipital lobe is joining the dots with what it presumes is there. Similarly, your brain doesn’t record memories like video. It takes snapshots of the more important bits and then when you recall the event it guesses what happened in between [based on prior experience]. Your brain finds it very easy to create false memories because of the fact that it spends so much time guessing what’s happening. There will be events you swear blind happened the way you remember, but never actually did. A sobering thought…
The brain can’t focus
I am doing my best to hold your attention until the very last word of this blogpost. But I know it’s futile. Along the way, your mind will wander off, then return, then drift away again. Luckily mind wandering is not necessarily the sign of a boring blogpost. It’s just one of the things that make us human. Experiments show that our mind wanders about 5.4 times in a 45-minute time span. Depending on the experiment, people spend up to half their time not thinking about the task at hand, even when they’ve been told explicitly to pay attention.
Your brain always learns
Your brain never loses the ability to learn and change because it’s constantly rewiring itself. The brain has the amazing ability to reorganize itself by forming new connections between brain cells [neurons]. For a long time, it was believed that as we aged, the connections in the brain became fixed. Research now has shown that in fact the brain never stops changing through learning. The neurons need to be stimulated through activity, so keep on learning something new every day!
Your brain knows no pain
Your brain has no pain receptors which is why if I managed to remove the top of your skull without you noticing, I could poke around all day without you feeling a thing. The skull removal may hurt a bit though…
And yes, there are some significant differences between the men’s brain and the women’s brain. Watch this funny video that explains it all: ‘A Tale of Two Brains – Men’s Brain Women’s Brain’