Brain Hostage

neural pathwaysIt is tough to aim at a moving target. It is tough being a parent to growing children. One moment you might be baby-talking and just like that, you might be using complete sentences, and not much later, you might be discussing politics and the meaning of life with them. As a parent, it is a ton easier to see the intellectual growth in children because it is accompanied with physical growth and major milestones such as walking, talking, first day at school, graduating high school, college and getting married. It is a ton harder to see our own growth because the milestones are not so obvious as adults and often associated with those of our loved ones more so than our own. It is normal to not recognize that we have changed too. The things that made us happy in our 30s might be different that those that make us happy in our 50s. That lack of recognition of our growth, and the causes of that growth from positive and negative experiences, can limit our understanding of how our brain is processing current experiences.

As discussed in recent blogs, our interpretation of experiences is based entirely on the past stored memories, not on any objective tool. Our interpretation of current experiences determines our well being, health, creativity, collaborative and innovative prowess. The tool that is used for all these functions, our brain, is a moving target constantly being impacted by newer experiences that are constantly being interpreted by past experiences. How your boss responded to an idea you had just yesterday will play a large role in how you might approach her today or tomorrow with another idea. Our brains are constantly processing current stimuli from a heavily biased perspective. If too much time passes without understanding the impact of experiences on the tool used all the time, brain, then thoughts, emotions, behavior and actions become more reactive and subconscious often leading to low self awareness (not knowing why you think/do things).
This week, when you are done with your day, process a couple of responses you had to someone at work and see if you can back-track your response to a previous similar experience or experiences. This will make you aware of your biases, which will then allow you to suspend them so that a more objective and creative response can occur in the future. The idea of our past holding us hostages is usually considered in PTSD-type scenarios and a harsh reality is to accept that all brains are impacted by past experiences, especially by negative ones which are really the only ones keeping us hostage from being our best.

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