Human potential – are you living up to yours?[quote]“Everyone has inside of him a piece of good news. The good news is that you don’t know how great you can be! How much you can love! What you can accomplish! And what your human potential is!” Anne Frank[/quote]
One of my earliest childhood memories is of sitting in my second grade class at Our Lady Help of Christians School in Brooklyn, New York during a lesson on the human body.
During the class, my teacher said something that knocked my socks off! It was that human beings only use 10% of the capacity of their brains [that was wrong; it’s now understood that virtually every part of the brain is active most of the time].
But when I heard that statement, I made a decision right then and there to get to using 100% of my brain power in my life. That declaration led me on a circuitous exploration of personal growth, alternative lifestyles and spiritual paths, much to my parents’ chagrin.
What is the brain?? Is it our heart?
According to the latest Merriam-Webster dictionary, the brain is the portion of the nervous system that integrates sensory information from inside and outside the body to control autonomic function [e.g., heartbeat and respiration], motor responses and learning. [I apologize – even I was bored by that sentence].
BUT our understanding of the “brain” is constantly evolving and the latest research is exciting. The Heart-Math Institute has determined that:
• the heart sends far more information to the brain than the brain sends to the heart;
• the signals the heart sends to the brain can influence perception, emotional processing and higher cognitive functions;
• there is compelling evidence that the heart receives intuitive information before the brain.
So, in a way, it could be said the heart is our true brain!!!
Can we change our brains?
When I was a school-girl, we were taught that different sections of the brain had different functions and there could not be any cross-over.
But the new field of neuroplasticity has determined that the brain is modifiable. If one part of the brain is damaged, another part can be trained to take over its functions; if brain cells die, they can sometimes be replaced.
An excellent book on this subject is “The Brain That Changes Itself: Stories of Personal Triumph from the Frontiers of Brain Science” by Norman Doidge, M.D. In this book, Doidge shares fascinating case histories of stroke patients cured, emotional disorders overcome and IQ raised.
What does this mean for us?
It means that our thoughts can change the structure and functions of our brains! It also means that we can overcome physical and mental limitations previously thought impossible. We can unleash tremendous potential is only we give ourselves permission. This is one of my favorite topics, and you’ll be reading more about it in future posts.
So my childhood question now changes from how to use 100% of our brains [we were always doing that] to how to get to 100% of our potential.
What is human potential?
Here are some of the things I’ve concluded are the earmarks of living to our fullest potential:
- Developing intuition
- Using empowering language
- Using visualization and mental rehearsal to improve performance and achieve a goal
- Positive mental attitude
- Using all our talents without fear
- Practicing self-healing [taking care of ourselves through healthy lifestyles]
- Taking charge of our health
- Cultivating qualities of compassion, forgiveness, integrity, kindness and more
- Being lights in the world.
These will all be topics of future posts.
I’m still working on all of the above, but am certainly closer than I’ve ever been to living at 100% of my potential.
So that’s my definition. What’s yours?[quote]“We all have possibilities we don’t know about. We can do things we don’t even dream we can do.” Dale Carnegie[/quote]
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Molly Larkin is the co-author of the international best-seller “The Wind Is My Mother; The Life and Teachings of a Native American Shaman” and other books on health. She is passionate about helping people live life to their fullest potential through her classes, healing practice and blog at www.MollyLarkin.com