“We commonly live with a self reduced to its bare minimum; most of our faculties lie dormant, relying on habit; and habit knows how to manage without them.”
-Marcel Proust, In Search of Lost Time
In this short sentence, Proust has described one of the most important differences between accidental brains and brains on purpose. When we are only relying on habit, we are reduced to our “bare minimum” — and we are not in charge of our own brain.
As we will often mention here, our brains are constantly changing, rewiring, making new connections between synapses. These changes are a result of the brain’s neuroplasticity, its impressive ability to reorganize.
As these brain remodels take place, we have two choices. We can let them happen with our “self reduced to its bare minimum.” Or we can awaken “our faculties,” direct the changes, and turn neuroplasticity into self-directed neuroplasticity (a phrase coined by Jeff). When our brains are engaging in neuroplasticity without our knowledge, direction, or awareness, our brains are changing accidentally. When we are employing self-directed neuroplasticity, we are changing our brains on purpose. Accidental and on purpose are two very different ways of being in the world, and only one allows for autonomy and maximum performance.
The people adept at sculpting and rewiring their brains on purpose are better at facilitating dispute resolution. They may have greater levels of resilience, spontaneity, creativity, concentration, observation, and other traits and skills instrumental in moving towards agreement. They can use their higher faculties and are not a slave to habit. They are on purpose.
In future posts we will be discussing
*Said by Walter Brooke in The Graduate (slightly modified)
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