This course was created by Pete Mockaitis of How to Be Awesome at Your Job. We are pleased to offer this training in our library.
Skill Level Beginner
- [Male Narrator] This is an audio course. No need to watch. Just listen. Welcome to the latest addition to LinkedIn Learning podcasts. We've curated some of the best business podcasts and made them even easier to listen to. Each episode is split into sections. Use the links in the contents area to skip to whichever section you like. We're always looking for new ways to help you learn, and we'd appreciate your feedback. Thanks for listening. - [Interviewer] Neuroscience stuff is always super fascinating and you are at the forefront of some cool research and teaching at MIT and elsewhere. So, why don't we kick it off if you could share with us maybe one of the most fascinating recent discoveries that's come out of neuroscience? - [Interviewee] Sure. Well, the one that I focus most of my research on because I think it's the most fascinating is about neuro-plasticity. So, we used to think that by the age of 18, our brain had grown and changed a lot, and our personality was pretty much set by that age. We know now that there's massive growth, zero to two, that there's a lot of pruning of neuronal connections in the teenage years, but that the brain actively molds and shapes itself to everything that we experience, every smell, every person that we meet, every emotion that we experience until we're about 25, and that from 25 to 65, we have to actively do things like learn new things, expose ourselves to different experiences to keep the brain as flexible or what we call plastic as possible. And that if you start making some changes in your late 30s to early 40s, you can even contribute towards reducing the decline in some cognitive functions that starts to happen around the age of 70. So, when I first started understanding this really well, it just opened up a whole new world of what you're capable of doing, and it turns around that whole idea of self-limiting beliefs. - [Interviewer] And so, practically speaking, what does that mean for us? So, our brains are continuing to change shape and we can have some impact in how they're changed. But so practically in terms of, I don't know, skill acquisition or learning capabilities, what does that mean for us? - [Interviewee] There's two main things, and I want to focus on the skill acquisition actually. But I do want to say before that, that if we don't think about neuro-plasticity, then our brain is being changed by things that we're not conscious of. And personally, that's not something I would really like to happen, so I'm very conscious of what I watch on the TV, what I read in the news, who I hang around with because I'm just so aware that all of those things will be having an effect on my brain. That aside, in terms of proactively bringing change and flexibility into your brain, it's really about continually learning and/or exposing yourself to new things. And the reason for that is that change will happen around us, and some people can find that really stressful, and some people seem to ride that change more easily. The more that we've done to introduce change and therefore, inoculate ourselves against the stress of change, the more easily we'll be able to deal with those things that can come from left field, both at work and in life. Equally, things like learning a new skill... And my favorite analogy for this is learning a new language. It's a physiological process in the brain, like building a road from a dirt road into a highway, a tarmacked highway that you can speed down. That's basically starting to learn a language where you have a few words when you go on vacation all the way up to becoming fluent in Spanish, if that's the language that you choose. And what I really love about it is that the language thing is easy to understand. Yes, if I use an app or I get lessons, I can learn a language, but it applies to things like emotional intelligence or mental resilience, things that seem much more intangible but when neuroscience tells us it's exactly the same process in the brain, it feels much more doable for people. - [Interviewer] And (indistinct) here's some more about what you said. You said if we are introducing changes, then we become more resilient to unexpected stressors and things that happen to us. What's the story here? - [Interviewee] Basically, anything new or anything different is seen as a threat by the brain. So, the more that we are proactively introducing our brain to new and different things, the less stressful it will be when something happens at work or in life that comes from left field that we didn't expect. So, we're essentially increasing our comfort zone with new and different things.