Experience the Breakthrough of turning Ideas into Action with Judah Pollack and other Catalysts! Join us to see how it happens.
Erik Weihenmayer, who is totally blind, belongs to an elite group of mountain climbers who have scaled the “seven summits,” the tallest peaks on all seven continents, including Mount Everest in Napal and Mount Vinson in Antarctica. Weihenmayer learned to “see,” with his tongue, using a device called BrainPort, In effect, his brain was rewired to get visual information in a new way. This is just one of the extraordinary stories in The Net and the Butterfly: The Art and Practice of Breakthrough Thinking, by Olivia Fox Cabane and Judah Pollack.
Rewiring isn’t just a metaphor, they explain, because our brains are actually changing throughout our lives, creating new physical connections among neurons. That’s neuroplasticity. “Our experiences, the things we pay attention to, and our behaviors,” they write, “are constant feedback loops changing the structure of our brains.” That means we have some control over our own neuroplasticity. Even if we’re not compelled to overcome disabilities, we can choose not to be neural couch potatoes.
The more new neural connections we build, the more neuroplasticity we have, the more creative we can be, and the more likely we are to experience breakthrough thinking of the type that solves problems and fosters innovation. With 100 billion neurons, each with the possibility of making thousands of connections, Cabane and Pollack write, “there are more potential connections inside your brain than there are stars in the sky.”
New narratives for personal and professional experiences often emerge from breakthrough thinking. Judah Pollack will share how original thinking can be developed through the use of tools and exercises to increase neuroplasticity, think in new ways and find connections among ideas and events that had seemed unrelated.
Give these simple “plasticity” exercises a try.
- Use your non-dominant hand to write, eat, or use a key.
- Taste and cook something you’ve never eaten before.
- Watch a foreign movie without subtitles and try to understand the plot from action and facial expressions.
- Listen to music from an unfamiliar culture.