#84 - Malleable
Ever changing, profound, and tradeoff
You are what you do. Plan accordingly.
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Neuroplasticity is real.
It’s easy to see yourself as more or less fixed. Sure, things will change a bit. You might think. I’ll age physically. Perhaps get more into bridge, or golf. But nothing drastic. It’s the same brain.
You’d be surprised. The brain is ever changing.
Take meditation for example. Research shows that meditation literally changes the shape of your brain.
There are the mental changes. It reduces stress. Shock. Improves concentration. Also not surprising. But to appreciate the magnitude of what’s happening one must look at the physical effects.
Brain scans show a change after just eight weeks of meditating. From 13 minutes a day. Tissue grows in areas responsible for everything from memory to self-control. Your brain gets fit.
That’s 8 weeks. Imagine what 80 years does.
We take for granted that our physical bodies change. It’s visible and, therefore, obvious. Hit the gym everyday and you’ll see the results. 10 hours a day slouched in a chair and you’ll see those results too.
The changes going on in our head are less obvious. But they’re happening.
Meditation isn’t the only thing that changes your brain. Everything does. Brains mould to best serve their host. Do you spend your days arguing and complaining? Those muscles will develop too. Your brain will become stressful and angry as a result.
How you spend your days, then, is important.
That's changed in the last two decades. We invented smartphones.
In 2002 the average person spent 0 hours and 0 minutes a day on a smartphone. Today that figure is 3 hours and 15 minutes. That’s 1,186 hours and 15 minutes a year.
13 minutes of meditation a day changes your brain. What do you think 195 minutes of scrolling through social media does? You can be sure profound changes are happening.
But all is not lost. Brains will continue to be malleable.
Perhaps your concentration has taken a nose dive. Or you find yourself more stressed, and anxious. Good new- it’s all solvable.
Step one is to recognise how you’re training your brain. What your occupying it with each day.
And step two? Change its occupation. Put it to work somewhere more productive. It’s remarkable what can happen.
An Advisor once told me he views a startup as a living organism.
The job of a CEO, to him, is to monitor the health of that organism. To understand what’s missing, and what needs treatment. The job is to keep the organism fit and healthy.
Startups work like a brain in that sense. They’re malleable, and adapt with the right focus and information.
It’s an imperfect metaphor. If your brain looked like the average startup you’d spend much of the day writhing on the floor in pain.
But what’s useful is understanding you’re developing certain areas.
It’s easy to under-develop parts of any startup. Something might be working but if you don’t give it attention, it will wither.
Likewise spend time on the non-important and that grows. In turn it pulls resources from other areas and those areas slowly decay.
Everything you do is at the cost of something else. Baggage accumulates. It doesn’t take long for you to drown in the non essential.
Whether it’s you or your company: What you do is who you are.
My Week in Books📚
The Buddha of Suburbia by Hanif Kureishi
Hilarious. About a boy coming of age in South London in the 70s with an Indian father and English mother. Eccentric but very amusing.
(Thanks Ma for the recommendation 🙏)
Why we Read edited by Josephine Greywoode
70 authors on why they read. I find reading about reading incredibly soothing. Interesting to see so many different perspectives.
A Final Thought 💡
Habits change into character.