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Limitless Brain

I don't believe the brain has a limit to the amount of new information it can process.  Even if science eventually proves me wrong, I don't care.  I love the idea of a limitless brain.

Perhaps I should explain what I mean by "limitless brain."  I think that most people--myself included--have an image of themselves.  I'm not talking about body image.  I'm talking more about what we see as our place in the world.  For most people the type of work that we do shapes a large part of this image.

For example, you might see yourself as an "office worker" type rather than a "manual labor" type.  It's not that either profession is bad, it's just how you see yourself.  Most of the time an "office worker" would look for other office job positions should the need to change companies arise.  It's not that you are incapable of doing a manual labor job, it's just not how you think of yourself.

"Of course I wouldn't look for a construction job if I worked in an office," you might argue.  "I have experience working in an office, why would I restart at the bottom?"

And you would be completely right.  I would be the first to agree that it's absolutely necessary to acquire skills and take the time to refine them.  But there is an unexpected consequence to this refining process.  As we age and spend more time refining a certain set of skills we being to think that those skills are the only skills we are capable of learning.  We transform from a person that has limitless opportunities to start fresh in different jobs into someone that is limited to just one job.

While the brain itself does change as we age, most of these limitations are self-inflicted.  The only reason why we don't see ourselves in any other capacity is because we consciously refuse to envision possibility.

A good example of this would be when most adult students start a musical instrument.  They usually begin instruction because they want a hobby and are interested in music.  But 99% of the time they have already shut off the possibility of being "a violinist."  They are "retired" (or whatever) and they just "happen to take lessons."  This is a self-imposed limitation.

If learning is approached from the opposite direction it completely changes the experience.  Children take one violin lesson and they immediately consider themselves to be "violinists."  If anyone were to ask them they would say, "I play the violin."  They don't question their proficiency and this is what makes the possibilities endless.  Their mindset starts with "I am a violinist" and everything that follows is just ways to become a "better violinist."  


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