Several visionaries cite “learning” as a key ingredient to personal and organizational success:
Peter Senge identifies “personal mastery” as the second discipline of a learning organization in his book, The Fifth Discipline: The Art and Practice of The Learning Organization (1990). Senge describes personal mastery as a commitment of employees and leaders to the process of learning.
John Naisbitt says, “In a world that is constantly changing, there is no one subject or set of subjects that will serve you for the foreseeable future, let alone for the rest of your life. The most important skill to acquire now is learning how to learn.”
Peter Drucker states, “We now accept the fact that learning is a lifelong process of keeping abreast of change. And the most pressing task is to teach people how to learn.”
Steven Covey declares that the mental component of “Sharpening Your Saw” (the 7th habit of The 7-Habits of Highly Effective People) is “learning, reading, writing and teaching.”
Many people agree on the underlying value of personal mastery through lifelong learning. However, few know the practical neuroscience principles and practices behind learning with ease, thinking imaginatively and logically, solving problems quickly, working happily, communicating effectively and making decisions accurately. Most people appear highly interested in learning more about how their brains are wired for success and what makes them tick. There seems to be a strong undercurrent of awareness that understanding and leveraging individual and collective brainpower may be one of the last frontiers for human development.
Practical Neuroscience 101 for Gaining Personal Mastery
The following is a summary compilation of practical neuroscience principles and practices that will help you understand and leverage your brain strengths for personal mastery.
Practical Neuroscience: An overarching term comprised of neuroscience-based principles and practices focused on understanding “self” and the people you influence and lead. Practical neuroscience acknowledges and respects diverse brain strengths, varied knowledge, personal interests and emotional trigger points; it enables people to be the best they can be, individually and collectively.
Neuroplasticity: Your brain is the most amazing mass of protoplasm in the known universe. It contains about 100 billion neuron cells, each having the potential to make multiple connections with other cells. Your brain is dynamic, not static. Neuroscience research reveals that you have “brain plasticity” or the ability to continuously grow and adapt your brain as you learn and use new information, despite your age. The more you learn, think and use knowledge, the more you grow and increase your intelligence and resourcefulness. What set Einstein’s genius apart, was not what he started with, but how he developed his thinking through vast neuron pathways. The bottom-line is that we can rewire our own brains for new and better outcomes and help other people do the same.
Learning Is Voluntary: Your brain must establish value and positive emotions to engage with learning, thinking, listening, working and any form of mental or physical activity. Fear works poorly as a motivator and is not healthy or sustainable.
Unique Sensory and Cognitive Strengths: Everyone has their preferred order for taking in sensory information; there are six combinations of Visual, Kinesthetic and Auditory sequences. Besides, people have cognitive preferences for processing sensory information, receiving communications and for specific types of work activities; there are three major categories: Sequential, Global and Integrated.
Alignment Is Your Key to Success: No one combination of sensory and cognitive preferences is better than another. The key to success is aligning your brain strengths with activities and tasks you are passionate about and require your strengths. Communication challenges are often due to misalignment with how people prefer to receive and process information. You can “flex” and align with people who are different from you to gain rapport, respect, trust and understanding.
Integrate Fun Into Everything You Do: Your brain is naturally curious and loves to learn. A fun and safe environment naturally engages your brain. Create fun and safe environments for others; teach others what you want to learn. These are some characteristics of a neuro-leader.
In conclusion, practical neuroscience is the pathway to greater self-awareness of your potential for personal mastery. Online, validated assessments accurately determine your sensory and cognitive strengths and offer tools to help improve your learning, thinking, problem solving, decision making, communication success, career fulfillment, and help you experience more fun in life.