You Can Change Your Life By Changing Your Thoughts
It is really true that one can changer his life by changing his thoughts. I can change my life by changing my thoughts and you can change your life by changing your thoughts. And the happy news is that it is really easy to change your life by simply changing your thought process. Consider this
Santiago Ramón y Cajal was already in his early twenties when he began climbing from bad-boy delinquency into the traditional study of medicine. Cajal himself wondered if perhaps his head had simply “grown weary of frivolity and irregular behavior and was beginning to settle down.”
There’s evidence that myelin sheaths, the fatty insulation that helps signals move more quickly along a neuron, often don’t finish developing until people are in their twenties. This may explain why teenagers often have trouble controlling their impulsive behavior—the wiring between intention and control areas isn’t completely formed.
When you use neural circuits, however, it seems you help build the myelin sheath over them—not to mention making many other microscopic changes.7 Practice appears to strengthen and reinforce connections between different brain regions, creating highways between the brain’s control centers and the centers that store knowledge. In Cajal’s case, it seems his natural maturation processes, coupled with his own efforts to develop his thinking, helped him to take control of his overall behavior.
It seems people can enhance the development of their neuronal circuits by practicing thoughts that use those neurons. We’re still in the infancy of understanding neural development, but one thing is becoming clear—we can make significant changes in our brain by changing how we think.
What’s particularly interesting about Cajal is that he achieved his greatness even though he wasn’t a genius—at least, not in the conventional sense of the term. Cajal deeply regretted that he never had a “quickness, certainty, and clearness in the use of words.” What’s worse is that when Cajal got emotional, he lost his way with words almost entirely. He couldn’t remember things by rote, which made school, where parroting back information was prized, agony for him. The best Cajal could do was to grasp and remember key ideas; he frequently despaired his modest powers of understanding. Yet some of the most exciting areas of neuroscientific research today are rooted in Cajal’s original findings.
Cajal’s teachers, as Cajal later recollected, showed a sadly mistaken valuing of abilities. Quickness was taken as cleverness, memory for ability, and submissiveness for rightness. Cajal’s success despite his “flaws” shows us how even today, teachers can easily underestimate their students—and students can underestimate themselves.
Cajal worked his way fitfully through medical school. After adventures in Cuba as an army doctor and several failed attempts at competitive examinations to place as a professor, he finally obtained a position as a professor of histology, studying the microscopic anatomy of biological cells.
Each morning in his work in studying the cells of the brain and the nervous system, Cajal carefully prepared his microscope slides. Then he spent hours carefully viewing the cells that his stains had highlighted. In the afternoon, Cajal looked to the abstract picture of his mind’s eye—what he could remember from his morning’s viewings—and began to draw the cells. Once finished, Cajal compared his drawing with the image he saw in the microscope. Then Cajal went back to the drawing board and started again, redrawing, checking, and redrawing. Only after his drawing captured the synthesized essence, not of just a single slide, but of the entire collection of slides devoted to a particular type of cell, did Cajal rest.
Cajal was a master photographer—he was even the first to write a book in Spanish on how to do color photography. But he never felt that photographs could capture the true essence of what he was seeing. Cajal could only do that through his art, which helped him abstract—chunk—reality in a way that was most useful for helping others see the essence of the chunks.
A synthesis—an abstraction, chunk, or gist idea—is a neural pattern. Good chunks form neural patterns that resonate, not only within the subject we’re working in, but with other subjects and areas of our lives. The abstraction helps you transfer ideas from one area to another. That’s why great art, poetry, music, and literature can be so compelling. When we grasp the chunk, it takes on a new life in our own minds—we form ideas that enhance and enlighten the neural patterns we already possess, allowing us to more readily see and develop other related patterns.
Once we have created a chunk as a neural pattern, we can more easily pass that chunked pattern to others, as Cajal and other great artists, poets, scientists, and writers have done for millennia. Once other people grasp that chunk, not only can they use it, but also they can more easily create similar chunks that apply to other areas in their lives—an important part of the creative process.
Applying It To Studies And Job
One important key to learning swiftly in math and science is to realize that virtually every concept you learn has an analogy—a comparison—with something you already know.18 Sometimes the analogy or metaphor is rough such as the idea that blood vessels are like highways, or that a nuclear reaction is like falling dominoes. But these simple analogies and metaphors can be powerful tools to help you use an existing neural structure as a scaffold to help you more rapidly build a new, more complex neural structure. As you begin to use this new structure, you will discover that it has features that make it far more useful than your first simplistic structure. These new structures can in turn become sources of metaphor and analogy for still newer ideas in very different areas. (This, indeed, is why physicists and engineers have been sought after in the world of finance.) Physicist Emanual Derman, for example, who did brilliant research in theoretical particle physics, moved on to the company Goldman Sachs, eventually helping to develop the Black-Derman-Toy interest-rate model.
Here is a video that will teach you how to use NLP to change your thoughts (If you are interested )