The Ten per cent Myth

by Mike Clayton  - February 13, 2013

“We only use about ten per cent of our brains.”

You have probably heard someone make that assertion at some time. �Maybe you have even made it yourself.

It’s rubbish. �FMRI and other imaging shows that all parts of our brain have uses.� I suppose that some folk do only use a small proportion of their capacity, but that is more of a choice to not exercise their capacity. �When you learn, decide, explore, solve or undertake any demanding activity, whole areas of your brain are in use and, when you do something different, other bits turn on.

But the more interesting question is this: “is it possible to use any of the parts of our brain better?”

To which the answer is undoubtedly yes. �Practice, rehearsal and honing of any skills will improve your capacities and will start quickly to rewire your neural circuitry. �Lots of navigation will improve your spatial skills, lots of music-making, your auditory and manual dexterity abilities and spending time observing people will home your interpersonal awareness (and other aspects of Emotional Wisdom).

And focusing on one thing at a time and giving it your whole attention will allow your brain to operate in a much more efficient and effective way. �Compare this to the lame performance most of us get when multi-tasking: save that poor strategy for the few occasions when you can make it work for you.

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