Is Neuroplasticity an Effective Leadership Tool?
Every healthy brain has neurons. Those neurons store and carry information tied to your thoughts, education and experiences. Those neurons travel on paths in the brain, which are called neuropaths. The information the neurons carry helps you move, speak and think. In addition, those paths help you make sense of the world and relate one topic to another. For example, you can use mathematics to assess the amount of people in the room relative to the amount of chairs. If there are an insufficient amount of chairs, the neurons help you make a decision on how to add more chairs.
Conversely, the neuropaths help you assess a dangerous situation as well as a method to eliminate it. That could be fight, flight or freeze. Some refer to this as instinct. I assert it is much more profound than instinct.
When you are born, you had very few neuropaths in your brain. By the age of two, you grew significantly more paths. By ten, your brain was filled with so many neuropaths it looked like an over crowed intersection of multiple freeways. The increase in neuropaths is the result of the data you received or better said, inherited, from your environment.
For many years, it was believed that people could only grow a finite number of neuropaths. That would fit into a philosophy of: you can’t teach an old dog new tricks. It would mean that the personality and thought process you developed by age ten would remain the same for the rest of your life. In a way, that has been a fact of life for many.
Neuroplasticity has changed that. Now scientists know the brain has the ability to form and reorganize synaptic connections, especially in response to learning or experience or following injury. In other words, it is possible to grow new neuropaths. With new neuropaths you are able to develop entirely new perspectives or thought processes.
Breakthroughs tend to have that effect on the brain. If you could imagine, in the 1920s, the NY Times wrote an article insulting the intelligence of Robert Goddard. Goddard asserted that man would one day fly to the moon. The NY Times thought that was an absurdity. In hindsight, this was a normal thought process for the NY Times. The neuropaths of the masses held no memories or information about the reality of flight to the moon. It appeared as a pipe dream and not worthy of intellectual discussion.
In 1969, the NY Times wrote an apology letter to Goddard. Because man did go to the moon, the neuropaths of everyone held information about it being a reality.
In your personal or professional life, neuroplasticity is very relevant. In business, if staff and management can grow new neuropaths, they will increase their abilities to invent new processes, products or services. Why? Current neuropaths only allow you to see the world based on what you already know. The most you can do is make improvements, which is adding new ideas to existing neuropaths. New neuropaths allow you to see things you didn’t know you didn’t know. In other words, it allows you to create new paradigms. Once the new neuropaths are created, it appears as common sense to most. The challenge, though, is working through the frustration and uncertainty that accompanies growing new neuropaths.
As you can see, neuroplasticity practices are not commonly pursued. Those who intentionally practice neuroplasticity may be considered disruptive leaders. They are the people like Goddard who saw possibilities without proof. Others like Tesla and Edison were the so-called insane people who dared to imagine that which was unimaginable by the masses. Yet, they are the very people who changed the world. To immerse yourself in the world of neuroplasticity practices is to live in a world of breakthroughs.
What do you think? I would love to hear your feedback. And I’m open to ideas. Or if you want to write me about a specific topic, connect through my blog www.turnaroundip.blogspot.com.