Maximize Your Potential

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"Regardless of what you want to achieve, your age, gender, race, or life situation may not be the roadblock to your success," writes Arlene Johnson in SuccessMapping: Achieve What You WantRight Now! (Emerald Book Company). "If you don't believe you canthat's your real success blocker." In this excerpt from SuccessMapping, Johnson explains how to harness your potential:

Your potential is much greater than you realize.

You have the capability, with countless life opportunities, to harness and use more of your innate human potential. What is available to each of us is far beyond what we imagine, acknowledge, or access. So, if you choose not to believe that you do indeed have tremendous unclaimed potential, your personal success could remain elusive and your dreams and goals, unfulfilled.

Are your beliefs of what you can or cannot do cast in stone? If so, science has news for you.

The science community provides abundant data and proof of our human capabilities. Through the research findings of quantum physicists we explore how the basic building blocks of the universe work, how we are connected to them, and the vast potential that we have to affect our own reality-including our belief systems-and the reality of the world around us.

Neuroscientists, who study the systems and function of the brain, have proven that our brains have the ability to change, learn, relearn, and recover from brain disease and injuries. This ability of our brain to interact in dynamically changing ways with experience is called "neuroplasticity."

Gone are the days when the medical and science community saw the brain as hard-wired and static. It is no longer assumed that our brain cells decline at a certain age or that physical or learning challenges caused by genetics or injury are inevitably permanent. This significant paradigm shift occurring in the science community has huge implications for us. We now have research based proof that our minds are capable of higher cognitive powers!

The plasticity of our brain gives us extraordinary capabilities. Our change-adaptive brain is composed of billions of nerve cells that constantly form new neural systems to aid in new learning and recovery processes. Neuroplasticity work with patients has resulted in artificial limbs that move with thought and hearing and eyesight regained because of newly formed neural paths, recovery of stroke patients, learning disorders eliminated in children and adults, cognitive skills improved, the effects of old age impeded, memories sharpened and much more.

What that means for you is that, no matter how convinced you are that your perceptions of your limitations are correct and irreversible, you can literally change your mind. The ability to change your mind is linked to keeping your brain fit and flexible. If you are of the Baby Boomer generation and feel a twinge of concern about protecting your independent lifestyle in the upcoming years, like driving and remembering where you are going, then Dr. Michael M. Merzenich has the answer for you.

Dr. Merzenich, a professor emeritus neuroscientist at the University of California, has numerous honors recognizing his substantial contributions in the study of brain plasticity. He now serves as Chief Science Officer of Posit Science, the leading provider of clinically validated brain fitness programs. Yes, that's right. Brain fitness programs. We understand today that the brain is as plastic as our muscular system or our waistline. We can literally change our brain by what we do.

Your mental capacity for learning, adapting, and growing is astonishingly large. The science community has proven that, yes, you can learn new tricks!

Although research proves that neuroplasticity is what enables us to keep on learning, it also shows that the brain's plasticity can be diminished by rigidly held beliefs or the lack of new experiences. The other old saying could ne'er be truer: "Use it or lose it."

There is now a wealth of information and proven methods for training our brains for increased learning and good health. If you are interested in exploring the fascinating subject of "you and your brain," here are two suggestions: Read The Brain that Changes Itself: Stories of Personal Science from the Frontiers of Brain Science by Norman Doidge, M.D. or go to www.PositScience.com.

With all that is available to us, there is no excuse to not live life abundantly! A question for you to explore is, "How might I experience more of my potential, right now, in my work and personal life?"

Keeping mentally healthy and sharp.

Just as you take care of your body with exercise and check-ups, don't neglect your most important body part, your brain.

Here are some simple and effective ways to keep mentally healthy and sharp:

  • Be a passionate learner-daily, be a knowledge seeker, then share with or teach others.
  • Be curious and innovative-expand and change patterns of thinking by conversations with different people; seek new solutions for problem-solving or growth.
  • Be a strategic thinker-weed out needless and energy-zapping activity and focus on your most important decisions and actions.
  • Take intentional action-daily, to move forward and stay on track to achieve a life dream or goal.
  • Consciously choose-supportive thoughts, behaviors, friends, and colleagues.
  • Take time to play-with people or games that cause you to laugh, with fast-paced computer games, with puzzles or games that cause you to think differently.
  • In overload, take a break-block out five uninterrupted minutes to be still and listen to your breathing.
  • Take care of the heart and mind-be kind and caring with self and others, deepen and nurture meaningful business and personal relationships.
  • Take care of the body-activate the body and mind, walk with strength and purpose, exercise, and more often than not, choose the healthy diet.

Your life options and possibilities are only limited by your self-belief of your capabilities. So, with your intention to place no limits on what you can accomplish with your present career, new business ventures, education, or personal life, SuccessMapping will guide you, step by step, toward what you next want to achieve.

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About the author: Arlene Johnson is founder and president of Sinequanon Group Inc.

Copyright 2009 by Arlene Johnson. From SuccessMapping:Achieve What You WantRight Now! by Arlene Johnson (Emerald Book Company). Reprinted with permission of the author.

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