Rewiring our brain and creating new neurons is something we all wish for but never truly accept as a serious possibility. For most, the problem with modifying habits and learning comes down to the amount of work and dedication it takes to study a subject into the depth and breadth of mastery.
When we see a genius in any field we tend to associate them as a “natural genius,” and although some people have natural inclinations for talent in a given field, most geniuses become masters through sheer hard work.
The motivational speakers of the world will try to argue everything comes down to habits, which is why they try to sell you on the lifestyle that has worked for them. It is difficult to simply replace all of your current habits with those that work for other people, but there are strategies you can implement to modify your daily habits.
Habits are formed in the Basal Ganglia, a primal region of the brain that is responsible for what social scientists Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky would describe as “system 1” thinking. In their book Thinking, Fast and Slow they suggest our brains make decisions quickly and intuitively using “system 1.” Habits are so deeply ingrained in our routine we almost don’t even think about them anymore.
In his book, The Power of Habit, Charles Duhigg creates a framework for effectively modifying habits. By looking at what triggers our habits, what the actual habit routine is and how our brains reward us for this activity, we can analyze and replace the routine. This only works if the replacement habit can provide some sort of reward as well.
Lifestyle, such as diet and exercise, can also have a huge impact on the health and wellness of our brain, in addition to our bodies. Diets rich in omega-3 fatty acids, including cold water fish like salmon, has been found to be conducive to the reorganization and growth of neurons vital for learning. It’s also been suggested that restricting when and how much we eat during any given day can help influence Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factors.