The amygdala is a little almond shaped mass of grey matter that rests in the center of our brain. While it is linked to our sense of smell and emotions, it has a very important function fundamentally; to ensure our survival.
Ironically, the same mechanism that has ensured our survival for thousands of years has the tendency to hold us hostage.
When the amygdala runs the show, our brains are alerted that anything new, different, successful or unknown is a perceived threat. While the function of the amygdala is still important to our survival, it is up to each of us to become conscious of its influence and act accordingly. I bow my head in silence to all of the great innovations, new ideas and potential loving connections that died with brains that allowed the little fear-based brain to run the show. Gives a whole new way of “thinking with our little head” does it not?
Nowadays, safe is risky because it holds back innovation and new thought. Comfort and convenience ensure our consent and complacency to an oppressive ideology. Growth is uncomfortable and comes with risk. Again, the irony is that if we as a species do not grow we will perish. The very mechanism put in place to ensure our survival will kill us unless we become aware of this.
The brain is a problem solving machine. It is natural to feel uncomfortable when we do not have an answer and our brain immediately gets to work on the appropriate solution. When we input problems into the brain, we create unrest and the brain must re-organize and make new connections until the problem is solved. The brain has a natural state of rest but it must be consistently challenged and kept sharp.
The absolute best way to grow muscle is through a method called “muscle confusion”. If you do the same workout routine day in day out you will eventually experience a plateau. The muscles recognize the pattern and adapt to the routine. They are done growing because they have successfully reached optimal size to support what is being asked of them. Muscle confusion works by placing the muscles under constant challenge so that no adaptation is possible. The result is that the body begins to form an optimal state in order to deal with the unknown stress that it is consistently subjected to.
The brain is similar in that it will form an optimal state of functioning the more it is kept on its proverbial toes. A great danger that we as humans have is an identity crisis. Ask; what are we fundamentally? We have become conditioned to respond by mentioning a title or position. I am a doctor, teacher, dad, janitor, manager and so on. In this we create stasis and stagnancy. Our brain has done its job and is running purely on maintainance mode. The trouble is that when something new, different and perhaps completely desirable comes along, we perceive threat and seek to protect our comfort zone. Also, you may find yourself relieved from your job as (insert title/position here) and could be devastated. Who are you now?
What we are is an opportunity.
If we had “how to use your brain” manuals in school we would not be in the predicament that we as a species find ourselves in. That being said, it wouldn’t be in the best interests of those who seek to control us to freely give us that manual. Instead we are subject to 15 years or more of public indoctrination via schooling. Education is entirely different.
Thank God we have a choice to become aware and activate the potential are brain holds. After all, the brain is a success mechanism. Make getting out of your comfort zone your new comfort zone. You are fundamentally, an opportunity.