Through many decades, the scientific community considered the brain function as fixed and specialized. It was an irreversible fact that creating brain cell connections were only present between the ages two and three years old, and everything beyond that is null for the development of the brain. In addition, scientists also believed that as time passes by, neuronal connections within the brain starts to dissipate, and it is inevitable.
These scientific constructs slowly created a culture that encourages a mentality of stagnation in the early 1970s. During those times, people believed that their brain function is fixed and neuronal damages are irreparable. Therefore, only a few tried to continually develop their brain capabilities and majority of the population halted self development.
However, a neuroscientist from California named Michael Merzenich performed a research study about neuroplasticity—a phenomenon that explains brain modification with use, that bring forth contemporary neuroscience and revolutionized the twentieth century. In this study, scientists discovered that the average mature brain continues to generate brain cell connections through a process called neurogenesis, a complete opposite of the scientific knowledge accepted by scientists.
Despite a series of questioning from skeptics and experiencing hostile treatment, after discovering an enormous breakthrough in neuroplasticity, Michael Merzenich provided sufficient sound evidences that led the scientific community to acknowledge the accuracy and reliability of his discovery.
The principle behind Michael Merzenich’s discovery is simple: How we utilize our brain and whether we use it for communal mental activities, greatly influence the formation of brain cell connections in it. Therefore, the more often we deliberately use our brain, the more it generates new connections that literally translates to knowledge and skills. This scientific discovery was proven both in young brains and other mature models, regardless of how fast the brain processes information, its accuracy as well as its vulnerability to diseases.
Now, the question is: How does this scientific discovery impacts our generation and those that are to come? The answer lies only on how we take advantage and leverage it. The emergence of neuroplasticity has truly set the scene for 21st century self development. This principle validates the possibility that any individual, as long as they have the will and discipline, can transform and become better in almost every aspect of his life.
With this revolutionary information, the challenge in human development shifted from establishing general knowledge and skills through a sprint into a marathon of continuous learning process that focuses on reconstructing and rewiring the human brain. Indeed, done were the days that human intelligence is considered as unchangeable and rigid. And welcome to the era where the brain is seen as fluid, ever-changing and in a continual state of flux.
On that account, the call to action is to begin remodelling your brain now. Start to resharpen your mental ability and deliberately exercise your intellectual power. Read a great amount of books, listen to podcasts, learn a new language, acquire new skills and engage in active learning. Self development is investing time, effort and energy to yourself, and as how Stephen Covey phrased it:
There is no greater investment.Stephen Covey