Beware of ‘Facts’

As you will remember, human beings possess a filtering system in our brains that we have come to call the Reticular Activating System (RAS). It filters out all information coming in from our senses that we have declared as not necessary right now. As more and more energy is being funneled into brain/mind research, our RAS should be wide open to what’s happening in this area.

In a Wall Street Journal Science Journal column, written a few year ago by Sharon Begley, it seems scientists and researchers have found, and are continuing to find, evidence that “old” brains aren’t so bad off, after all – especially trained ones. In her article “Forget About It: Your Middle-Aged Brain is Not on the Decline,” Barbara Bradley Hagerty humorously describes her experiences with a memory lab experiment, and two aspects of intelligence: fluid and crystallized –

In other words, unless there is some physical disease in the brain, use it and you won’t lose it!

As scientists are taking another look at past data, some findings have held up: older brains do, indeed, process information more slowly than 19-year-old brains, and as a result, don’t make decisions quite as fast. And, older brains are less nimble when it comes to “multitasking” (a total misnomer – you are simply switching among tasks, not doing two or three things at a time).

One piece of “fact” has been turned on its ear, and that is the mistaken belief that the reason older brains don’t function as well is because the neurons die off and are not replaced with new ones. As it turns out, even 70-year-old brains produce new neurons and don’t lose neurons in most sections of the brain.

You can see where this is going – be careful of listening to supposed “experts” and their facts. The “facts” may not be so, and you are stuck believing something that isn’t really true. And once you decide that these “facts” are “facts,” you don’t see anything that contradicts them. In other words, you become your own worst enemy when it comes to growth.

So…get up! Get out there and dig into your future! There is a lot of life to be lived, and you don’t want to waste a minute of it – no matter how old you “are.”