Understanding how our brain works

Our brain is a very powerful tool. Have a look this image. Imagine you are driving the white car.

Here what you intuitively do:

  • You understand the signs. You check the sign on the floor and interpret the meaning. If you are not turning left, you know you have to stay on the middle lane.
  • Then you look at the top and you see a traffic light and again your brain sends the information that red and yellow mean to stop your car before the white line.
  • When the light change from red to green you access information of how to drive: how to use the accelerator, brake, the steering wheel, the indicators, etc
  • It is amazing your brain can perform such complex tasks in a fraction of a second. Probably when you start driving, you got nervous but as soon you start to practice how to drive, your brain got trained in how to drive. Same as learning how to ride a bike or swim.

We can use the same analogy to other tasks: memorization, reading and increase our intelligence. When you practice and get used to everything become natural. It is just a matter of practice, practice and practice.


What tools do our brains use?

The Human brain uses images and associations since birth and just after, we learn how to communicate using verbal language that becomes the main language. Then when we learn how to read and use this skill as the primary source and to get information. However, the images and associations continue being our strong way of communication.

If I say the word “mango” for example, how long did it take to access that information? The first thing that came to our brain instantly is a fruit with shape, colour. Then you remind the taste and the smell. No computer is capable to do that so quickly and you would need a thousand of words to describe the fruit BUT how can you translate smell and taste into words?

Contrary to popular belief, humans have an excellent sense of smell. And the smell can stay in our brain forever. Who never remember the smell of a cake your mother cooked? When you merge emotions, smell, images and sound you activate a big part of your brain responsible for the long-term memory.


What is the capacity to store things in our brain?

The human brain consists of about one hundred billion neurons. Each neuron forms about 1,000 connections to other neurons, amounting to more than a trillion connections. Neurons combine so that each one helps with many memories at a time, exponentially increasing the brain’s memory storage capacity to something closer to around 2.5 petabytes. If your brain worked like a video player, 2.5 petabytes would be enough to hold three million hours of TV shows. You would have to leave the TV running continuously for more than 300 years to use up all that storage.

The brain’s exact storage capacity for memories is difficult to calculate. First, we do not know how to measure the size of a memory. Second, certain memories involve more details and thus take up more space; other memories are forgotten and thus free up space. Additionally, some information is just not worth remembering in the first place.

This is good news because our brain can keep up as we seek new experiences over our lifetime. If the human life span were significantly extended, could we fill our brains? I’m not sure. Ask me again in 100 years.



Something to Think ….

Our life is the sum of our memories. However, we are losing the ability to memorize things. We forget to look the environment around us because we are too worried to check our smartphones. We don’t interact more with people. We prefer to ask Google about things that we used to ask to “human” before. We are not paying attention to the human in front of us. I wonder if the person or people from the other side of the screen are more important to the one in front of us.

In my time, I had to read books to learn, the new generation have Internet but all they do is “copy and paste” and we are losing the capacity to think. You have been so lazy that we are not willing to process deeply.

There are incredible memory capacities latent in all of us. But if you want to live a memorable life, you have to be the kind of person who remembers to remember and use the memory and intelligence to help other people.


Practice your memory

There are different techniques to help you to memorize things. No matter what technique you use, our brain was built to store images, events and actions rather than numbers, words and dates. The idea is to use our senses to remember things

There are basically two major techniques: Peg System and Memory Palace. I didn’t add much information, just enough for you start practising and discover how incredible your brain can be.