For most of the 20th century, most people believed the brain went from being flexible in childhood to fixed as an adult.
They thought the brain was much more malleable in babies and kids, but by the time they grew up, the brain was set.
For example, kids seem to be able to learn languages, music, and almost anything easier than adults.
And there’s that old cliche: You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.
Turns out that old cliche is wrong.
We know more about the brain
People have improved technology to the point we’re able to understand more about how the brain actually works.
It turns out that the brain—your brain—is malleable right now.
It can change right now.
It is changing right now.
Kids might still be able to learn language and music more quickly than you, but you can learn those things now, no matter how old you are.
If you still believe that you’re unable to learn new things because your brain is fixed, you will prevent yourself from learning something new.
That inaccurate prior knowledge about how the brain works will actually hinder your ability to learn.
But even though that used to be the prevailing understanding of how the brain works, it is not true. It is wrong.
What do you want to learn?
Is there something you wish you could do, but you thought there was no way you could learn to do it now?
Think about it.
Seriously. Stop and think.
What would you love to be able to do?
- Play the guitar
- Eat healthier
- Meet new people
- Code a web site
- Make sculptures
- Write a story
- Exercise more
- Produce a podcast
- Learn to swim
- Break bad habits
- Do public speaking
- Build a business
- Control your temper
- Improve your teaching
- Go back to school
- Learn how to learn
You can learn those things.
If your prior knowledge says you can’t learn to do those things, your prior knowledge is inaccurate and is hindering you from even trying.
I’m not saying it will be easy to learn. Learning can be very difficult. But if you’re up for the challenge, your brain is able to learn.