by Dr Shen Li Lee
I recently picked up the book “The Brain that Changes Itself” by Norman Doidge on the recommendation of CoachMi. Considering that I have a growing pile of unfinished reading to do, I probably could do without the extra book, but this one is really worth it. If there is a book you should read this year, this would be it.
As a professional Mom, my life revolves around how I can help my children reach their potentials. To do that, I believe it is important to learn as much as possible about the amazing potential of the brain. As we move further into the 21st century, we are redefining what we know about the human brain and the discoveries are nothing less than spectacular. Given the knowledge we now possess, it would be criminal not to harness it through deliberate constructive development of our children.
After learning about right brain education and how helping our children to develop their right brains can unlock amazing abilities that are inherent in every individual, it really comes as no surprise to read even more amazing findings about the human brain.
Some time back, I watched a movie called “Limitless“. In a nutshell, it is about a failing writer who starts taking a miracle drug that gives him access to everything his mind has ever seen. Here’s the preview:
Okay, there are spoilers ahead so if you really want to watch the movie, I would stop reading here…
Although the movie is fictional, the concept is not quite as impossible as it may once have seemed. Following right brain philosophy, the right brain records everything we see like a camera where it remains in our subconscious. The only reason we cannot recall everything with perfect accuracy is because those memories are clouded by our consciousness that influences how we remember things. The purpose of helping our children develop their right brain is so that they can access those right brain memories with greater clarity.
At the end of the movie, the main character gets off the drug, but he is still able to function as if he is still on the drug. This correlates with the brain’s amazing ability to reshape itself. In the first chapter of “The Brain that Changes Itself”, Doidge writes about an individual who has lost her sense of balance – the organ that gives her her sense of balance has been damaged. She cannot stand up without falling over. Her condition is debilitating and her quality of life is next to zero. Based on most medical prognoses, there is nothing that can be done for her.
Enter Bach-y-Rita, a scientist who has developed a device that will help to give her an artificial sense of balance. When the woman wears the device, her sense of balance is restored. Now the amazing thing is that after removing the device, there is a residual effect and she is able to keep her sense of balance without the device for a fixed period of time before she totally loses her balance again. The more she wears the device, the longer the residual effect becomes. Eventually, her brain retrains itself completely and is able to fully compensate for the loss of the sense of balance without the use of the device. This woman is able to find her balance without the organ that ordinary individuals require to maintain their sense of balance.
So what is the significance of this story?
We used to talk about right brain development being something more for the children. If you missed the window of opportunity, it is gone forever. But it isn’t. Neuroplasticity is the new name for the brain’s amazing ability to organise itself. Neuroplasticity can occur at any age. The key is to find out how to do it and then to train the brain to change itself.
So whether your child is newborn, 3 years old, 6 years old, or a teenager, it is never too late. In fact, it is not too late for us either.
The old philosophy of right brain education is that the right brain is open up until 6 years of age and then it closes. If you do not tap into the potential before then, it is gone forever. That is not so. Ruiko Henmi from Heguru has said the same thing. Yumiko Tobitani also shared the quantum speed reading training for adults in her book.
So if you’ve only just heard about right brain development and are concerned that your children are “too old”, worry no more because it is not too late.