Top 10-#3 Try New Things

14 May 2017

We have an English expression that one can be “stuck in a rut”.

A rut in the ground is created when repeated activity takes place in the same location. If you walk or drive in the same place every day, you will create ruts or crevices in the ground. Over time, these can become huge.

Our brains are no different. When you do things over and over and only occasionally deviate from sameness, your brain actually creates ruts.

So the expression, “I’m in a rut,” is very literal.

Scientists used to believe that the brain has little ability to change past childhood. But research since the 1960s shows the brain is like plastic; it has the ability to change as a result of new experiences. It can even rewire itself after suffering damage.

I saw a documentary about a 95-year-old Japanese man who was still directing a preschool for special needs children. He had learned the Korean language in his 80s and was learning Chinese in his 90s so he could travel to China to share his expertise on children. This man refused to retire into a rocking chair; he continued to live by pushing himself and learning new things.

I think he might have a key to staying young.

I once took a creative communication class. We were encouraged to alter our daily routines in order to spark creativity: take a different route home or brush your teeth with your other hand.

If you’re a follower of this blog, you know I often quote the famous American basketball coach John Wooden. He said, “Five years from now, you’re the same person except for the people you’ve met and the books you’ve read.”

So do something different today. Expose yourself to new ideas and experiences.

If your brain was wired to be constantly changing and making new connections, exposing yourself to novel ideas and experiences is vital.

Click here to read my previous article titled, Your Plastic Brain

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