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5 myths that hold back brainpower

Posting in Technology

Brains can be trained to behave more as "super brains" -- it just takes working and challenging these organs in new ways. And not allowing outdated thinking to hold us back any longer.

That's the view of Deepak Chopra and Rudolph E. Tanzi, who explain that new discoveries and new thinking are helping people create a new "relationship" with their brains that help unveil new perceptions and new opportunities. In their latest book, Super Brain: Unleashing the Explosive Power of Your Mind to Maximize Health, Happiness, and Spiritual Well-Being, they explain that people need to acknowledge their roles as "leaders," "inventors," 'teachers," and "users" to their brains.

There are 5 common misconceptions about harnessing brainpower that holds people back:

Myth #1: The brain's hardwiring cannot be changed. "The bottom line is we are not 'hardwired,'" Chopra and Tanzi write. "Our brains are incredibly resilient... with the capability, "in your thoughts, feelings and actions, to develop in any direction you choose."

Myth #2: The brain loses millions of cells each day that cannot be replaced. "The bottom line is that as we age, key areas of the brain involved with memory and learning continue to produce new nerve cells, and this process can be stimulated by physical exercise, mentally stimulating activities, and social connectedness."

Myth #3: Primitive reactions (fear, anger, jealousy, aggression) overrule the higher brain. "The higher brain can override even the most instinctual fears; otherwise, we wouldn't have mountain climbers. tightrope walkers, and lion tamers." Unfortunately, the authors add, "we surrender to fears, not of spiders, but of what we call normal: failure, humiliation, rejection, old age, sickness, and death."

Myth #4: The injured brain cannot heal itself. "The brain can remodel and remap its connections following injury. Your brain is remodeling itself right now. It doesn't take an injury to retrigger the process -- being alive is enough. You can promote [regeneration] by exposing yourself to new experiences. Even better is to deliberately set out to learn new skills."

Myth #5: Aging in the brain is inevitable and irreversible. "We believe that behavior and expectations are key. When you become passionate and excited about learning again, the way children are, new dendrites and synapses will form, and your memory can once again be as strong as it was when you were younger."

(Thumbnail photo: Joe McKendrick.)

— By on December 23, 2012, 12:52 PM PST

Joe McKendrick

Contributing Editor

Joe McKendrick is an independent analyst who tracks the impact of information technology on management and markets. He is a co-author of the SOA Manifesto and has written for Forbes, ZDNet and Database Trends & Applications. He holds a degree from Temple University. He is based in Pennsylvania. Follow him on Twitter. Disclosure