You hear it all the time, it’s just too hard to change. There are a lot of other justifications for this. I am too old, too young, or that’s just the way it is. I’ll never change, as a matter a fact I don’t want to change, what’s the big deal. The good news is that you can change your life at any time you want. It doesn’t matter at what age you try.
Research has shown that the human brain has what is known as neuroplasticity. What that means is the brain is considered plastic. We recycle plastic and the brain can do something similar with the connections from neuron to neuron. The connections I am talking about are the ones that perceive, process and respond to the world around you. You brain has been mapping this out ever since you were born. Your life is currently the result of your past experiences and the meaning you have connected to those experiences. Every behavior you have goes through some part of that map.
Good, bad, happy or sad, your brain is already prewired on how to respond to the outside world AND so is everyone else’s. So you and millions of other people think, “Hey, I will just change the way my brain is wired and I will change my life.” And that would be a correct assumption. The concept is so simple. So why does the application seem nearly impossible.
I know that most people will briefly consider what they are about to read as the truth, but that will be short lived. I’ll say one thing, this is well researched and is the main reason so many people don’t (or can’t) change and become a better person.
IT’S COMES DOWN TO SURVIVAL
I just lost half of you, even though this alone is the key. The actual function of our brain is to adapt to our environment so we can survive long enough to pass on our DNA. How do you like that one? That is the brain’s directive for EVERY species. Everything else is secondary.
The basics of survival are food, water, and shelter. If you go back millions of years those things weren’t as plentiful as they are today, so the brain ADAPTED to the environment in order for the species to survive. Part of that adaptation was to conserve energy because the brain wasn’t sure the body would be eating or drinking that day. The human race never would have made it if we died from not having food or water for 24 hours.
So what does this have to do with changing the way the brain is wired? Simple, the brain uses about 20% of the body’s energy and is programmed to conserve. Millions of years of programming are hardwired in and in this case it says, “Be frugal with available energy.” This is quite the task considering you have about 100 billion neurons with a 100 trillion connections that run on chemical and electrical processes. Could you imagine the energy needed to rewire just 1% of your brain?
Our brains have spent a lifetime building very distinct connections. It has spent a lot of energy and is no hurry to waste all of that work because you want to become a better person. Not to mention all of the new energy needed to break down the old connections and rebuild them elsewhere. The brain’s not having it and there are a lot of resources at it’s disposal to keep you from “willing” it to happen.
If you are alive and things appear to be relatively okay then that means you are surviving. Survival works on a large scale of acceptance and there are a lot of gray areas. What is acceptable for survival to you can be completely unacceptable to someone else. It’s all in how each of those brains are wired. Either way, the brain goes by a simple motto, “If it’s not broke, don’t fix it.” This guarantees conservation of energy.
The next time you try to change and become a better person, remember your brain is going to fight you. Not because it doesn’t want you to be unhappy, it’s quite the opposite. It’s trying to keep you alive. Change takes a “perceived” large amount of energy, it is unknown whether things will be better, and what you have right now delivers a certain level of comfort. The brain doesn’t realize that in the 21st century there are an abundance of resources (food and water), so it keeps running the old programming that has gotten us this far. That programming accomplishes the goal: you are safe and that makes the brain happy.