Monday, April 25, 2016

Dancing, Sports, Art, Attitude. The common link

I was shown a great story a few days ago, on the subject of complaining, and why it is bad for you. This is of course an interesting subject to me. I have a fascination with the brain, how it works, and what shapes us. (one of my earleist posts, and favorite games to play is "String Button Mind Magic").

I went on a bit of a hunt for information on Neuroplasticity I found some interesting information, and research, including this tidbit from 2010 (an older one, yes), talking about a technological advancement allowing for more precises analysis of brain activity.

I had a couple of thoughts hit me:

I love watching videos of talented people demonstrating their talents. Many of the videos I linked in my r-positive posts were of this sort. Anything really, gymnastics, dancing, skiing, jump rope, soccer, painting, parkour... It is just amazing to watch talented people. Do you know how they become so talented?

Check out this 11 year old dub-stepper, and hear what she has to say.

You see - tying these thoughts together. That amazing ability comes through dedicated, focused practice. What happens when you repeat an action? or even visualize the action repeatedly?

Every time you think about something or due something, neural connections are created in your brain by electro-chemical signals traveling from neuron to another across synapses. When you continually repeat an action or thought, the synapses for those particular neural pathways are reduced, which makes them the easier path in the future, thus, what once required a focused effort on your behalf becomes second nature. an unconscious reaction.

That is what is going on in the brains of these great talents.

Now yes, genetics does play a part in this, perhaps even genetic memory. And upbringing plays a key role - your highest levels of neuroplasticity are in your younger years, up to age six is the highest level of brain growth, after which growth rates decline slowly until roughly age 30-40. After that, growth drops quite dramatically.

Environment plays a role as well, quality of food, quality of water, air... certain types of music have been shown to have effects on brain structure development.

And there are of course a number of diseases which effect the brain, from bacterial to viral, to chemical, including anxiety and depression, schizophrenia, meningitis...

But, While these things may set certain limits, or give certain advantages, it is still key to note that, particularly in our earlier years, it is our thoughts, action and dedication which bring to fruition those amazing skills.

This  idea isn't new of course. When I was a kid there were lots of book by "New age" psychologist on the subject of "think and grow rich", think yourself happy, think yourself successful... (There was an overabundance, in fact).

In early scriptures, prophets taught this idea as well. Proverbs 23:7 says "As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he". There are a number of parables on sowing seed which allude to this idea as well. Mosiah 4:30 also warns of the consequences of not watching your "...thoughts, and your words and your deeds.

And now science is building a strong case to support that idea - not soft science, not studies which may or may not be replicable, but hard, physical science.

So then, I have to ask myself, what am I training to become? A world-class gymnast? runner? complainer? friend? victim? helper? jerk? A few videos to ponder...

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