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Your brain is changing, and you?

Updated: Oct 28, 2023

Every day, more than twenty articles labeled ‘scientific’ and ‘life-changing’ appear on my feed on Facebook or LinkedIn, or come via e-mail. I don’t have time to read them all, but I probably wouldn’t want to anyway.

These articles normally want to show me an opportunity that until now I could not see, for me to become a better person, and more successful in different areas, or even claim to show me the truth: the scientific truth.

I must confess that the last ones are the ones I laugh at the most! And, maybe because of my rebellious streak, just for fun I have a search on Google, looking for at least three different scientific articles saying totally the opposite!

Yet, as in any field, you have inspiring people. Those kind of people that are doing a great job challenging themselves and also being their own challenger to be better. And this is why I really admire and like to read Antonio Damasio, the neuroscientist who is much more than that!

For me, Antonio Damasio’s most impressive study is of a man that had a serious work accident where his brain was damaged by an iron bar. He survived, but his emotions and decision-making changed because his pre-frontal cortex was transformed. Did you know that this part of the brain is only totally developed at the age of 25? Did you realize how many decisions you took that were “big decisions” for your future life were determined before 25?

If the brain is able to adapt, change and transform itself, why is it so difficult for some people to change? Or are we changing every day, and the difficulty is in accepting that change?

In my opinion, the latter is true. Every day we are changing. Our cells are changing. Our hair is falling out and growing. Our skin is new. The challenge is to change the belief that we don’t change easily!

Every Saturday morning, I run with a group. Every one of us has a different intention to be there. And also, every one of us has a different experience with this. But one intention I believe we share is the idea that after only one hour we feel different. The belief “I feel like new again” is the belief that allows us to be a different person after only one hour. The question is, how can we continue with this mind-set in other times, places and contexts? How can we continue the mind-set that “we can change easily” and “being the best version of ourselves” in any context?

For me, the answer is simple. Here I share with you three practical ways to deal with change.

Firstly, try to be more congruent than consistent in your life. If you have the belief “I am a calm person”, don’t hold on to this at all costs, when a situation changes or just because people are expecting this from you. Or another example is that my friends still give me a bottle of alcohol on my birthday, because they always did, but they don’t know I don’t drink alcohol anymore. Be candid enough to yourself that you are able to change.

Secondly, reframe, reframe and reframe every situation. Reframe your mind, your body, your emotions, your behaviors and your result. Find new meanings. You could say: I changed and that is bad because I am a different person. But you could also say: I changed and that is good for me. Another example is that you could say “I lost my job”, or “I am open to opportunities”. Instead of saying “I don’t have time”, I can say “I am useful and that is why I am busy”.

And thirdly, be aware that when you feel change, you will see change and hear change in yourself. In other words, use all your senses, and enjoy the opportunity to change. Feel change, and be aware of that, despite expectations or what you always told yourself.

Peter Koijen, in2motivation

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