Well if we’re arguing that it is indeed possible to learn positivity in a way that helps you focus on the good things in life more and more by default, there must be some hard logic behind that claim. Incidentally, there is!
Understanding how learning takes place in the brain physiologically enables us to better grasp the power of automations. Are you ready?
Learning is defined as relatively permanent change in behavior which is caused by a change in the physical brain. Each action requires complex brain activity, and most of the time a single function requires teamwork from multiple parts of the brain.
Neurons are the “chatty” brain cells that form chains by passing information to one another through their synapses. Through repetition each function creates a specific chain of neurons. The information is then fired rapidly through the chain every time you perform the learned function.
When learning to drive, each small maneuver takes conscious effort: pressing down the clutch, shifting gears, using turn signals, turning the wheel - each of these details takes energy and care. In the beginning it's very slow and intricate, but under the hood of your mind complex neural pathways are being formed. In his course Valiant Man, Dr. Allan Meyer helpfully describes the pathways as brain tracks.1 Consistent quality firing of these tracks (repetition) strengthens them increasing the speed at which information is being transferred.
It takes time and practice, but after a while driving becomes so automatic that we’re able to have conversations, sing and do all kinds of other things we shouldn’t even be doing while driving! Like a path that’s formed by people consistently walking along a line of grass, the brain tracks we use become more and more solid, decreasing the amount of focus needed while increasing our efficiency and performance in relation to the track-specific task. Less energy, more efficiency! Sounds too good to be true doesn’t it, but the fact of the matter is that this tool is freely available to us.
When it comes to building healthy brain tracks, I’d like to stress the importance of small daily decisions. Don’t be a passive goat and fall victim to your current automations - be smart like a fox and create new ones!
Growing is not just about learning new things: sometimes it’s just a matter of shifting focus towards the things that build rather than destroy.
1. Meyer, Allan, Dr. Valiant Man. 2nd ed. Chirnside Park: Careforce Lifekeys, 2009.