Friday, November 9, 2012

The amazing brain

Lately, I have been thinking about my experience from TEDxLincoln. The talks presented there have made me more aware of that wide world that is out there. Coincidentally, the theme of the day was titled Wide Horizons, Open Minds. Having an open mind definitely can broaden one's horizon, leading to unique perspectives about the world that would easily be missed if one was distracted or not open to seeing. Which, leads me to a short rant about my frustrations from the last couple of weeks.

I've become increasingly disappointed in those whom I work closest with because of their lack of open eyes and open minds and a general unwillingness to ask questions and listen first. Little effort is made to relate to others, listen to them, and make decisions based upon common, mutual understanding. Rather, actions are determined solely based upon one's individual lived experience, and communal experiences or ideas are automatically disregarded as invalid. Living among people who operate in this manner exhaust me. It's infuriating and demotivating.

But that is not the point of this post, nor is it the main reason I've been thinking about TEDxLincoln. I turn to the cool parts, the inspiring parts, the hopeful parts of humanity to recharge when I become frustrated and cynical. And that is where I intend to focus the premise of my writing today.

I stumbled upon a book titled Brain Power. I haven't read the book yet, but it is on my Kindle, awaiting me. The video that corresponds with the book is very cool, comparing a child's brain to the internet. The unique thing about our brains is that they are constantly malleable, changing, based upon where we decide to focus our attention. Our brains literally re-wire themselves because of behavior, connecting and severing synapses.

The neatest thing is that the potential for brain development is greatest between birth and the age of five. Every single experience of a child is a formation of the brain. The video below illustrates this in a more concise way than I can explain it here (and it also explains the formative nature of the internet).

Generally, we don't think of our brains in the terms presented in that video. We take brains for granted. But when you consider them, they are fascinating, impressive, and able to shatter unthinkable expectations. But brains are only capable of doing this if we focus attention strategically. This is proven by listening to Tiffany Verzal's talk from TEDxLincoln titled "Time, intensity, and Patience."

Tiffany and Brandon's daughter, Alexis, was the victim of a traumatic brain injury. As a result of her injuries, Alexis was expected to be blind, unable to eat on her own, and unable to walk and talk for the rest of her life. Tiffany explains in her talk that she and Brandon rejected Alexis's prognosis, repeatedly saying that was, "not OK." Because of their persistence and resilience, Alexis, at the hands of tremendous people at Madonna Rehabilitation Hospital in Lincoln, NE, was able to re-wire, rehab, and reteach her brain. See Tiffany explain how in her talk below:

Through intense focus, brains can do phenomenal things. Tiffany and Brandon Verzal produced an award-winning documentary titled Pathways: from brain injury to hope. I hope that we all can continue to broaden our horizons in life. And, like the title of Tiffany's talk, maybe more focus on time, intensity, and patience is what it will take to do just that.

No comments:

Post a Comment