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August 11th, 2018

The brain might not be able to shape-shift as fast as a chameleon changes colors, but it certainly has the ability to change itself drastically over time, if there is enough pressure or curiosity. 

One way to think about our shifts of perspectives is to think of our personality like an evolving organism.    It can be inspiring just to think about how many changes some organisms have gone through to reach their current form. 


Take whales for example.  They started off as a sea-creature, evolved into a land creature, and then returned to the ocean to become the biggest animal on the planet today.  These sorts of iterations take much time because the lifetimes of such creatures are so long.


Fruit flies on the other hand are used in experiments because they iterate so fast.  They are lucky to live for a month and a half.  Such a short lifespan is a boon to researchers who wish to observe changes between generations.


But what about the evolution of the mind?


Surely none of us can claim to be the same sort of person that we were when we were 5 years old.  And only a sadly short-sighted 80 year-old is going to claim they are the exact same person they were when 18 years old. 


It’s clear we change over time, and naturally this must be a result of changes in our brain. 


As with exercising the body, it’s equally clear that mental hardship only does the brain good: solving a problem is far healthier for the brain then endless hours in front of a languid sitcom.


Often we are hurried along to perform the same task day-in and day-out at a job or due to the obligations of family.  A lack of variety is akin to a languid sitcom in this case.


But we do not PAUSE to consider the ramifications.


Indeed it’s often painful to PAUSE because to do so involves facing some hard truths about the way we spend out time and it can be sad, disheartening experience to realize that our life does not match our PRIORITIES.  And we humans have a fantastically detrimental ability to avoid such experiences. 


But if we can endure that uncomfortable space.


Like a creature diving farther down into the water for sustenance.


We might evolve super-efficient lungs.


Or… if we hold our breath long enough, we might just grow gills.


Just imagine this super-power:  The ability to do with ease anything that is uncomfortable, taxing, difficult or scary. 


This is like a person who takes cold showers merely on the principle that it’s an exercise of will.


If this kind of vigilance over one’s self could be extended to all areas of life, what might we be capable of?


What might we achieve?


How much more of that unknown depth might we explore if we could grow gills?


This episode references Episode 23: PAUSE and Episode 10: PRIORITIES, if you’d like to explore these references further, please check out those episodes next.

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