This is a simplified explanation of how we learn. The average human brain has between 90 and 100 billion neuron cells. Neurons are the brain’s messengers. Chemical and electrical signals are sent and received between neurons in the brain and throughout the nervous system to muscles and tissues. Whenever we experience a sensory input (sight, sound, taste, smell, touch, or any combination of these), a pathway is triggered between neurons in the brain. When the same sensory input is experienced again it reinforces the existing pathway. After many repetitions, the pathway becomes entrenched. The brain will default to an established pathway often with only a part of the original sensory input. This is how we learn. If this did not happen, we would continually have to relearn everything. People suffering from Alzheimer’s disease have a buildup of plaque in the brain that prevents these pathways from becoming established. As a result, the person has poor or no short-term memory.
Defaults on a computer work in a similar manner. When I was creating this document, the program often anticipated what I was going to say and completed the phrase for me. This is based on logic and previously established patterns. I can either accept this completion or change it to reflect what I intended. I must be aware or alert however to catch subtle differences. Although the defaults can save me time it is important that they accurately reflect my intentions. The word paradigm literally means pattern. In this sense, a paradigm is an entrenched thought pattern in the brain. Our ego is a mental construct of whom we think we are based on our established paradigms. The ego however is not the brain but merely a form of programming which could have evolved in an infinite number of ways depending on each person’s life experiences.
The ego is an illusory, temporary identity but is obsessed with its perceived reality and fights for its selfish survival often harming itself and others in the process. Every sensory input is different so we must be conscious enough to ensure that our perceptions are accurate. Stereotypes, biases, and prejudices are examples of established paradigms. We have a saying in society that “Practice Makes Perfect”. I believe it should be “Practice Makes Permanent”. We can learn something completely wrong and once established it can be difficult to change. Just ask any golfer. Because our ego evolves mainly without our conscious involvement we often behave or react out of habit rather than rational thought and behaviour. The solution is to become more aware of our thoughts and behaviour, transcend our ego, and connect with our true essence, the spirit or genie within.
Commitment is a willingness to give your time and energy to something or someone in which you believe. It is a pledge or a promise to act. Commitment is an all-or-nothing quality; either you are committed or not. One can no more be partially committed than partially pregnant. It is a fundamental aspect of human nature that commitment comes from connection. If people do not feel connected to a cause, a group, or a mission, they will not commit to it.
So, the question is, “How do you build connections.” Communication is critical. The best gift you can give a person is your time and attention. People need to feel accepted and their input matters. Shared values, beliefs and activities help build connections. Many large companies go to great lengths to avoid talking to their customers. They want them to solve their problems online or by talking to a robot. Then they wonder why client turnover is high. Without connection, there is no commitment.
I believe that human connection is one of the main requirements for success. But to successfully connect with others we must first connect with ourselves. It is hard to love others if we do not love ourselves. Connection is a main thread that flows throughout my book. If we lack this connection, having a meaningful relationship with others is extremely difficult.
Sometimes to connect with others we must be willing to get out of our comfort zones. Some people intentionally go out of their comfort zones to connect while others retreat into their familiar shells. Two very good friends of mine; Albert Koopman and Lee Johnson wrote a book entitled How to Escape Your Comfort Zones. The following is a quote from the book.
Slipping into a comfort zone is a simple process. When we are comfortable, our activities and behaviour tend to take on familiar patterns. Patterns become habits; habits become routines; and before we know it, those routines become a rut. And the only difference between a rut and a grave is the depth of the excavation!
Staying in our comfort zones is an ego-driven response. In a world of accelerating change, defending the status quo can be fatal. We need to take risks, connect with others, and give to others as much as we have received. Our relationships must be symbiotic, not parasitic. We are all on this journey through life together. To quote Albert Einstein”
Strange is our situation here upon earth. Each of us comes for a short visit, not knowing why, yet sometimes seeming to a divine purpose. From the standpoint of daily life, however, there is one thing we do know: That we are here for the sake of others—above all for those upon whose smile and well-being our own happiness depends, for
the countless unknown souls with whose fate we are connected by a bond of sympathy. Many times a day, I realize how much my outer and inner life is built upon the labours of my fellow humans, both living and dead, and how earnestly I must exert myself in order to give in return as much as I have received and am still receiving.
(We Reap What We Sow)
Everything we do or fail to do has a consequence. If the consequence is unacceptable, we must change the behaviour. Unfortunately, this is not how many people behave. They expect the world to change to accommodate their behaviour. This expectation can start at a young age often fueled by permissive parents who fail to hold their children accountable for their dysfunctional or selfish behaviour. If their needs continue to be unmet, they may lash out at others and society in destructive ways. They adopt an attitude of entitlement and fail to accept accountability for their behaviour. This attitude is prevalent in our society including among our leaders. Einstein defined insanity as “Doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.”
We manifest this behaviour when we identify with our ego which sees itself as the center of the Universe. The ego is an illusion. It distorts the human perception of reality and can inflict pain and suffering on others and itself. The solution is to see the ego for what it is, transcend it and connect to our true self, the spirit or Genie Within.
Money in modern society has become synonymous with power which leads to greed and corruption. Before money, people traded goods and services through a system of bartering. Later, the acceptance of metals such as copper, silver and gold made trading easier. The advent of coins negated the need to weigh these metals. For safekeeping, people would store gold and silver in the vaults of goldsmiths for which they would receive a receipt. This practice was the beginning of the banking system. The receipts were the precursor of paper currency and could be traded because they were backed by the precious metal on deposit.
When politicians took their countries from the gold standard, the paper money essentially became worthless except for the promise of the government to honour its value. This is referred to as fiat currency. In other words, it only has value because of a government decree. There is an inscription on every US bank note which reads: This note is legal tender for all debts public and private. Without a backing of substance, governments can print as much paper money as they wish thus devaluing the currency. The US dollar has lost 99% of its value since being taken off the gold standard. A $20 gold coin is now worth over $2,000 in fiat currency.
Money has become concentrated in the hands of fewer people thus giving them power over others by keeping them in debt. Our so-called democracy is defined by some as an economic dictatorship. “Wealth” comes from the English word “weal” which was a measure of a person’s abundance including friends, knowledge, wisdom, and health. Today wealth is reduced to money or things of monetary value. A whole new industry known as wealth management has been created to help manage money. The continuance of today’s madness requires people to increasingly go into debt. Without debt, the system could not be sustained. Our path as humans is clear. Stop going into debt. Stop buying into the illusion that your worth as a human being is dependent on what you have and do. This is an ego-driven response. The advent of cryptocurrencies is designed to put the power and control back in the hands of the people instead of governments and big businesses.
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The purpose of my Blog is to communicate with my readers.