Today, we’re wrapping up our mini-series on brain science.
If you’ve missed any of the installments in this series, you can learn more about unconscious bias in Part 1 and Part 2 of the series, and in Part 3, you can discover 3 easy ways to help your brain learn.
Today, we’re going to bust two of the most popular myths when it comes to what our brains are capable of. In the same way that unconscious bias can hold us back from working with different people, creating more diversity in the workplace, and being more open-minded about what others are capable of…bias against the self can also be detrimental.
When we subscribe to the belief that we’re unable to achieve something, we essentially sell ourselves short. Unfortunately, this means that we never truly reach our potential. Instead, we remain stagnant in mediocrity because we convince ourselves that we don’t have the skills, experience, or talent to raise the bar in our professional or personal lives.
Many times, this self-directed bias is a result of societal beliefs. There are countless myths that people believe simply because these myths have been repeated so much in school, in the workplace, in entertainment, and so on. Examples of such myths? You may have heard at some point that lightning never strikes the same place twice, that your hair and fingernails continue to grow after death, that it takes 7 years to digest chewing gum, or that cracking your fingers will give you arthritis.
As it turns out, these are all myths that have been disproven by science. But they still get passed on from generation to generation, and people still believe them to this day. Maybe you even believed one of the myths above until a few seconds ago!
For the most part, myths like these can be harmless, but there are other myths that pose a risk to how we see ourselves and how much we achieve as a result.
You only use 10% of your brain. This myth has been around for a long time, and it seems like it may very well be here to stay. Unfortunately, people who subscribe to this belief often feel like they could achieve more…if only they were able to tap into the un-used parts of their brain! Or, if only I could tap into this dormant potential, I might become more intelligent!
I’ve heard this sentiment plenty of times. I’m sure you have as well. But here’s the good news: you don’t need to discover a secret pathway to hidden neural paths in your brain. As it turns out, we use our ENTIRE brain over the course of a single day! In fact, most of the brain is active almost all the time.
Why this is important: you ultimately get to decide how much of your own potential you want to release. You don’t need a secret manual to show you how to unlock the ‘other 90%’ of your brain. Your brain is a tool that’s available to you in full right now! So whether you want to learn a new skill, learn a new language, improve your memory, or so on, you already have everything you need.
You’re either left-brained or right-brained. We all like to understand ourselves better, and I think it’s safe to say that this sentiment was most likely the basis of this myth. Once we know whether we’re left-brained or right-brained, suddenly our personality makes more sense to us. We understand where we fit in with the world.
However, this type of classification doesn’t do justice to the fact that our personalities are rich, multi-layered, and at times quite complex. This myth would have us believe that analytical, methodical, and logical individuals are left-brain dominant, whereas creative and artistic individuals are right-brain dominant. However, as we’ve learned from the myth above, we use our entire brain every day, and there exists no evidence that suggests certain personality types use one hemisphere of their brain more than the other.
Why this is important: this myth creates two segments for the entire human population, insisting that you can only be in one segment or the other. Unfortunately, this has left many analytical individuals to feel that if they’re left-brained, that must mean they can’t be artistic as well. And it’s left many creative types to feel that if they’re right-brained, then this must mean they can’t thrive with structure and methods.
However, this is quite false. And the sooner we accept that, the freer we are to simply be ourselves without such uncompromising classifications. And more importantly: we’re able to realize the potential we’re meant to realize…not the one a myth says we’re designed for.
Understanding the way your brain works can help you immensely in both your personal and professional life. So can mastering resilience. That’s why I’m excited to announce my upcoming book:
The Resilient Employee:
The essential guide to coping with change and thriving in today’s workplace.
Available for Kindle and in paperback
After training hundreds of people in change, I’ve turned my popular course material into a book!
Change is a constant in our workplaces, and our lives in general. If you don’t acquire the skills to alter your perception of change, and improve your reactions and resilience to this common process – you will continue to struggle! Change does not have to be stressful; let me show you how to improve your resilience and thrive through change.