The brain is one of the most mysterious organs in the body. Though fragile, it’s in charge of how we experience and process reality. And, despite being made up of 40% fat, it’s working non-stop to help us make sense of what’s happening… even when we sleep at night.
Rumors abound about the nature of the brain. Some think we only use 20% of its functioning power, while others think it isn’t fully formed until we reach age 25. The former is false, but the latter is true, highlighting just how tricky it is to use our brain power to investigate how it works in the first place.
In reality, the brain’s abilities are seemingly limited to our own willpower. Our thoughts can move at a pace of 268 mph, while the brain’s storage capacity is virtually unlimited based on what scientists can observe. Viewed in this way, the brain is a mechanism to develop superpowers.
But what are those superpowers? And how can we tap into them without chasing a degree from Harvard or signing up for an astrophysics intro course? It’s a lot simpler than many people think.
Concentration Can Be Built Over Time
Some people seem to have a penchant for memory, others for concentration. If you’ve struggled to work efficiently, then you’ll be happy to hear that your concentration can actually be developed over time. Let’s take a look at an example from a demanding hobby that requires players to think critically and quickly, sometimes for hours on end: poker.
Players regularly develop their concentration through simple things like getting enough rest, fueling their bodies with care, and exercising. By tending the body, the mind is prepped for long stints of concentration. However, it’s also about optimizing practice sessions.
By designing practice sessions in terms of length, difficulty, and speed, poker players challenge themselves and push their ability to concentrate. This requires incremental and focused practice sessions—which can help thinkers of all stripes, even if they don’t enjoy a game of Texas Hold’em.
Neuroplasticity Means It’s Never Too Late
Concentration can be fostered through targeted practice. But another superpower of the brain focuses on the ability to change. Neuroplasticity is a term used to describe the creation of new neural pathways. Neural pathways are simply thinking patterns, which ‘take shape’ in the brain through connecting nerve endings and sharing thoughts. Most people develop these patterns during their early years.
If you’re struggling with a pesky habit, then you’ll be happy to know your brain is already prepped to make new patterns and connections. This means you’re directly in charge of how you think. Still, like developing concentration, it takes time and effort to ‘rewire’ the brain for a more optimized (and possibly optimistic) approach to life.
How to Access Super-human Strength… Amongst Other Things
We’ve all heard the story: a woman’s child is trapped under a car and she manages to lift the vehicle to save her child. Few people know this is a real-life story. A mother was able to lift a 3,500-pound car just enough that her son could wriggle free. And you might be astounded to realize this is a superpower granted by the brain.
To provide enough energy to her muscles, the brain made a split-second decision to shut down its digestive and immune functions. With both processes fully disabled, all the body’s immediate energy was available for her to harness and lift the car. Though this type of superpower was born from panic, you’ve probably heard of a much more mainstream (and relaxed) concept: biohacking.
Biohacking (not to be confused with tech-based body hacking) is about fostering certain outcomes in our biology. While it might sound like a modern concept, things like intermittent fasting have been around for millennia. Biohacking is simply studying how the body works in order to streamline it toward a specific purpose. The brain, unsurprisingly, is one of the most robust tools to tap into when it comes to doing this.