Autobiography In Five Short Chapters

Mar 30, 2013 1 Min Read
images of books on a table in a library

Photo credit: Abhi Sharma | Flickr

I spoke to 189 audiences about the brain in 2007. My sessions are filled with science, strategies, stories, and lots of real learning. With all that, this is my most requested piece from people who have heard me speak. I think I know why:

Autobiography in Five Short Chapters, by Portia Nelson

Chapter 1: I walk down the street. There is a deep hole in the sidewalk. I fall in. I am lost. I am helpless. It isn’t my fault. It takes forever to find a way out.

Chapter 2: I walk down the street. There is a deep hole in the sidewalk. I pretend I don’t see it. I fall in again. I can’t believe I am in the same place, but it isn’t my fault. It still takes a long time to get out.

Chapter 3: I walk down the same street. There is a deep hole in the sidewalk. I see it is there. I still fall in. It’s a habit. My eyes are open. I know where I am. It is my fault. I get out immediately.

Chapter 4: I walk down the same street. There is a deep hole in the sidewalk. I walk around it.

Chapter 5: I walk down a different street.

You are never stuck. Your brain is capable of great change!

Neuroscientist George Adelman, notes that your cortex alone has 30 billion neurons which can make one million billion connections.

Edelman states,

If we consider the number of possible neural circuits, we would be dealing with hyper-astronomical numbers: 10 followed by at least a million zeros. There are 10 followed by 79 zeros of particles in the known universe.

These staggering numbers explain why your brain is the most complex, 1.3 kg lump in the universe. Your brain can change itself and a brain changed is a life changed.


You are a genius

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Terry Small is a brain expert who resides in Canada and believes that anyone can learn how to learn easier, better, and faster; and that learning to learn is the most important skill a person can acquire.

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