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Your brain has something like 700,000,000,000,000 (700 trillion) neuron connections. That is more storage capacity than you will ever use or need. I often hear people in class say, “I can’t learn anymore because the new stuff will push out the old.” Of course, it’s said half-jokingly, but there is a hint of seriousness, too. Whenever I’m learning something that challenges me I remind myself that I have 700 trillion neuron connections in my brain. If I bang my head against the problem enough I will usually get it. It’s not because I’m so intelligent; it’s because I’m human.

As I understand it, when we experience something, the experience is wired into our short term memory. If we don’t review the experience the connection is severed. But if we review it the connection is strengthened and made permanent. Even if something is difficult, I keep at it to establish those brain connections. When I have established those connections hard stuff isn’t hard anymore. I’m often amazed how things that seemed so difficult a month ago are now easy. It’s because I’ve established those brain connections by reviewing the material.

Now this isn’t to say that we can do anything. Each of our brains is wired in a unique way. Our brain wiring makes us better at some things and worse at others. I don’t have the ability to be an Oxford mathematician or physicist for example. However, the good news is that, although we are stuck with the brains we have, we can rewire them to some extent. For example, a chess grandmaster’s brain uses a different part of the brain than the rest of us to evaluate chess positions. Because they’ve studied chess so much, their brains have actually changed. Another good example are cab drivers whose brains are more developed in the area where maps are stored.

Whatever you are learning, whether it is the Bible, something for a class, etc., remind yourself that you have an incredible mind. And if that doesn’t help then repeat the words of Stuart Smalley – “I’m good enough, I’m smart enough, and doggone it, people like me.”

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