Continuous Learning Into Our Old Age


If you have been following some of my articles, you will know that I have a little bit of an obsession with neuroscience and therefore brain plasticity.  I came across this video clip on a talk by Dr. Merzenich, on “Think faster, focus better and remember more – Rewiring our brain to stay younger”.  

Click this link to watch from Youtube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UyPrL0cmJRs&feature=player_embedded#  (Note:  This video is 1.5 hour long.)

With new discoveries that brain plasticity stretches past our adolescence until we die (if we choose to exercise the brain), then it is possible over time with more research and better  understanding on how our brains work would help us to maintain tip-top mental condition throughout our lives.
There is no stopping us from learning and the myth that we cannot learn too well in our old age is therefore not true.  What happens is that we are limiting ourselves in the ability to learn by telling ourselves we are too old to learn, often propagated by our fore fathers – you can’t teach old dogs new tricks.  Take the examples of many past and current world leaders, who, in their 70s and beyond, are still contributing to the world, learning to use the Internet, blogging, etc. – something which were not available decades ago – and leading lives in perfectly healthy faculty of minds.  I have often held these people up as examples to incentivize myself into doing more.
Obviously not all of us want to be world leaders but we could be leaders in our own fields and passions.  Our brains may be different and we may be good in doing different things but that does not mean we can no longer learn.  Life-long learning is good for everyone wanting to have a healthier life, both mentally and physically as learning put us in a positive frame of mind.
With new developments in neuroscience in brain plasticity, scientists are gearing to help not only those who have impaired brain functions but also normal people like you and I to do better in any area we desire to improve, prolonging and maintaining a better quality of life throughout our lives.
I am very encouraged by the stories I hear and read of people who continue to persevere in attaining their goals regardless of their current dismal conditions, perceived or otherwise.  By being continually in touch with such motivating stories, I remind myself in keeping up the resolve to pursue my own positive thinking as, like all normal human beings, we do from time to time fall off the wagon of our good intentions.
Making the decision is the easiest part but maintaining the stamina in our journey is often not as easy.  If you find difficulty in maintaining a consistent will to carry out the actions toward your goals, it is best to get someone to work with you.  It may be a friend, relative, spouse, mentor or coach.  Take a pick on whoever works best for you.
I am leaving you with a slide extracted from the talk that I find most encouraging:


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