Okay, M.J. Ryan the stage is yours. This is always a privilege for me to have the opportunity to: 1. Listen to your wisdom, and 2. to have a conversation with you around some of the key things that you are promoting.
Thanks, I’m happy to be with you. So here we are at the beginning of the New Year and we have all made these things we call New Year’s resolutions. It’s weird to just really talk about. Why is it so hard to change? How many people who are listening has kept their resolutions that they already have made and it’s already the 18th of the month. I have not done it perfectly yet. Have you?
No, I haven’t. I wonder why we call it resolutions.
The trick is there is nothing wrong with you. It’s really about your brain. Parts of our brains are involved when we say we want to change something. It doesn’t matter what we say if we want to lose 20 lbs or we want to get more organized or we want to speak up more and we want to be nicer to ourselves. Whatever it is we say we wanted to do in our lives. We have to understand how our brain is structured in order to create success.
There are really two things you need to learn. One is that we have this part of our brain that is called the neo-cortex. It’s what makes us a human being. It’s from this place that we have decided to change. We go, “I am going to get up at 5 o’clock every morning and jog.”
That part of our brain is already perfectly wired to do what it’s already doing. So the brain cells that fire together wire together. What that means is that, we already have deep superhighways in our brains doing exactly what we have already always done.
If you are a person for instance that has a hard time speaking up in front of the boss — I’m thinking of a client of mine — you’re already perfectly structured not to speak up in a meeting in front of the boss because your brain has already got this superhighway to doing it that way.
When we want to change something, we have to create a new pathway in our brain. The trick and the challenge is that that isn’t easy once you’re not a kid anymore because our brains have actually shed the potential they had when we were young to form pathways really easily. That’s why it’s so easy for kids to learn anything and so hard for adults to learn stuff.
It’s not impossible because a guy won a Nobel Prize a few years ago proving that we can create new pathways and new brain cells our whole life but it takes a lot, emphasis on the word ‘lot’, of work.
Lots of motivational speakers will say ‘7 days to a new habit’ or ‘21 days to a new habit.’ All they are saying is that in that amount of time, you are beginning to grow a pathway to that new behavior. But the old pathway doesn’t disappear. What that means is of course that it’s still there. It’s stronger. It’s faster. It’s like a superhighway where the other is a rickety road.
That in a certain way, in a nutshell, is why we still would want to do something but we find ourselves doing the old behavior instead. We got a really big habit over there.