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Flex your cortex — 7 secrets to turbocharge your brain | Sandra Bond Chapman, Ph.D. | TEDxBayArea


Translator: Bob Prottas
Reviewer: Leonardo Silva Growing up I wanted to be an astronaut
more than anything and then I met Brian. Brian was 11 years old. He was labeled
“Severely Mentally Impaired with Autism.” He couldn’t speak
or understand spoken language. One day I was struggling
with my tape recorder that wouldn’t work, and I’d taken it everywhere
to be repaired. He took it from me and literally
took it apart down to the screws and he put it back together
in the blink of an eye. What problem solving skills
that denied his diagnosis. I realized suddenly we knew more
about the universe and travel to the moon then we did about our own brain. I decided at that very moment
I had to be part of discovering ways that we can unlock
the immense human potential of our brain. There is so much that we can tap into
if we just flexed our cortex. As a brain scientist, 30 years and running I have dedicated my life to understanding,
protecting and healing the brain. We’ve learned more in the last 5 years
than all the years cumulative. With our fancy brain imaging technology
we can literally see normal people’s brain changing in real time
as you learn something new in just hours. We’re learning a lot
about what is it that harms the brain and what makes it work better, and yet it typically takes one to two
generations before scientific discoveries trickle down to make a difference
in our lives. Well, guess what?
That’s not acceptable. Because we also know that our peak brain
years right now are in our early ’40s. Well, that stinks,
because that means you’re living — we’re living the last half of our life
with our brain in a state of decline. But it doesn’t have to be like that. I’m the most optimistic person
because of what I know. But I’m also impatient.
Our brain can’t wait another year. So I’m going to share with you seven
secrets that are scientifically validated of how to turbocharge your brain, and I call them secrets
because they literally challenge what we hold is true, that we think
is good for our brain, that is not. Ready? Secret 1: Single-task. (Laughter) Our brain is exquisitely designed
to do one thing at a time, and yet, in our fast-paced, charged life, we literally do one to 5 things
on top of each other. We think it’s necessary
and we think it’s beneficial. Nothing could be further from the truth. Your brain is not wired to do 2 things
that require effort simultaneously. It’s quickly toggling back and forth
from one task to the other and it’s literally being done
by hijacking your brain’s smartest engine, your brain’s frontal lobes. When you’re multitasking
you’re degrading your brain systems, lowering your mental function,
and increasing stress hormones. Single-task and you will see a significant
increase in mental productivity. Secret 2: Inhibit information. In this day of information overflow,
we have access at the touch of a finger to massive amounts of information. We are now exposed to 200 times
more information today than we had even 20 years ago.
Wow. Our brain with so much information,
what is does — We thought the more information
I take in the better for me, right? It turns out the highest
performing individuals are not those who can remember the most. But rather those who know
what to block out, what to inhibit,
what to bounce from the get-go, and just to focus on the few things
that they’re doing. Secret 3: Detox Distraction. One of the most common questions
that I get asked is: “Is technology good
or bad for your brain?” And I say: “Yes.” (Laughter)
Right. Because you know it’s not technology
in and of itself that’s bad for our brain, but it’s that we let it control us,
instead of us managing it. We can’t even stand to be without
our cell phone for a single minute, and some of you are sitting there and it’s
beeping, buzzing and you’re looking at it because we’ve become addicted
to the ping of our technology. Right now science is showing that we work only 3 minutes uninterrupted. How can you do high-level thinking
in just 3 minutes? Way too much. We’re working with major corporations now to teach them how to increase
their mental productivity. The secret that they have
the most trouble with, that they want the most help with,
is Detoxing Distractions. Okay now, this is the really big one. This is the powerhouse.
Big Idea Thinking. Big Idea Thinking is the supreme,
unleaded fuel for your brain, and Big Idea Thinking is not
a supercharged computer that can do big data storage
and then retrieve it when you want it. No, Big Idea Thinking is when
you’ve taken ideas from disparate areas, you combine it with your rich knowledge
that you already have and you form some generalized
higher-level way of thinking. So some of the ways that we do
Big Idea Thinking is if you synthesize. How do you extract the essence
of talks that you hear? Or news stories that you hear,
synthesize or interpret? How many times do we have books and books and books and we can’t remember
if we read them or not? Because we didn’t interpret the message. Interpret, what does it mean?
What’s the bottom-line meaning? And 3:
Powerhouse transformative communications. Think about emails that you write.
What does your subject line say? Is it boring? Is it rote?
Is it something anyone can write? “Meet me at 2.” What if you came up
with a transformative subject line that was so powerful
everyone wanted to read it? And what about the message? How often do you just do a deluge
of information without really saying something
that shows your deeper-level thinking? Big Idea thinking
is what makes your memory and thinking and learning the most robust. I’ve shown in randomized trials
when you engage in Big Idea Thinking you increase your brain
at all levels of health. Think about increasing your brain’s
blood flow by 8 to 12%. That’s really happy for a neuron
to get more brain blood flow. We also show 30% increase
in the speed of neural connection across the central executive network, which is what’s important for planning
and reasoning and problem solving. Big Idea Thinking is for the brain what
push-ups and pull-ups are to the body. Secret 5, and this fits in with balance:
Calibrate. Calibrate how much effort
you’re going to spend on things. So many times all of us,
our mental energy at the end of the day, you’re so mentally exhausted
you’re thinking: “Oh brain please jump-start
again for me tomorrow.” Because we spend too much time
on things that we should do very quickly, or we don’t take enough time on things
that we should really spend longer on. One of the phrases
that I like to tell individuals is: “When you’re hunting elephants don’t waste
your mental energy chasing rabbits.” So do your rabbits quickly, but take time
to do your elephants, your weighty things, and, for most individuals,
the elephants need to be done when your brain is in its prime time, and that typically is the first 2 hours
of the day for most people. Secret 6: Innovation. And I loved — Our brain is really wired to be inspired
from young till late life. Every single day it likes to create
something new, jump-start. It hates status quo.
It quickly goes backward on rote. But when you start innovating on things,
your brain starts firing on all cylinders. Think even about your conversations
that you have with loved ones. How boring are they sometimes? “Hey honey how are you doing?
What’s going on? Fine. Goodbye.” What if you innovate?
It could spark a little romance. (Laughter) Secret 7: Motivation. Motivation always trumps talent. So many people have so much talent,
maybe ourselves included, but we don’t live up
to our full potential. One of the key ingredients
that typically is missing is motivation. And you say: “Well motivation is elusive.”
It’s not like flipping a switch and say: “Hey brain get motivated
on something you hate.” Right? It’s easy to be motivated when you’re
doing something you’re passionate about. Well, one of the secrets to motivation is
using some of these other strategies. Think about a task that you don’t like
and what if I said I want you to take this task
and innovate a little bit? Why don’t you change it and make it
a little bit more interesting? If you get the person
to put some brain in the game, they’re going to get more motivated.
Innovation fuels motivation. Motivation injects in our brain the most
powerful neurotransmitter, dopamine Dopamine in the right balance makes us
happier and increases speed of learning. Motivation is the fuel that makes you make
the impossible possible. Thirty years I now know that our brain can
do so many things that we aren’t doing. My dream is that every single person put
their brain at the front of their lives. You need to realize that you are
the driver and you are the mechanic of the most powerful engine
in the whole world. What a responsibility. Take these 7 secrets
and supercharge your brain. Because without brain health
you do not have health. Thank you. (Applause)

Reynold King

100 Replies to “Flex your cortex — 7 secrets to turbocharge your brain | Sandra Bond Chapman, Ph.D. | TEDxBayArea”

  1. The first two hours people are trying to wake up and prepare for the day.

    Has this woman heard of being in the zone

  2. I would love to try single-task but when you are a language interpreter, I think that you have to multitask,right?

  3. Great 7 secret …
    But why 7?
    if everything is connected 7 is holy and respected..
    7 is introvert and solitary (based on numerology)
    And this day i constantly hear 7…
    likely on every tedx talks
    Weird for me frankly….
    anyway i will definitely use this 7 SECRET!!
    to innovate new things!! 🙂

  4. Stop putting brains on a pedestal! Wash, rinse then repeat. If you have a bunch of new thought, the old thoughts will be mad.

  5. "Innovation fuels motivation" – really great idea to try out and see how motivation increases by encouraging innovation. Thanks!

  6. when I had to pause and repeat few times and pause again to write this comment I realised that I have a very low attention span

  7. Thanks for these meaningful strategies towards a better career life i'll use these important step to create my own dreams and hopefully get a chance to work for my dream job! God bless us always universe!

  8. This person appears not to use any of the lingo neuroscientists would consider vital for an accurate portrayal of the the concepts.

  9. Minimalism is the approach of high performance.Few things/less info(input)=more concentration/more energy(output).
    PS: I am simply synthesising.

  10. The people who give the ''thumbs down'' surely do not put brain health first and are negative thinkers thus, will or currently have poor brain health..sadly

  11. What are examples of multitasking that are bad for you? If you walk on the treadmill and read a book at the same time does that have negative side effects?

  12. A blond with a Ph.D. gives a talk about improving your brain!  That sounds like the beginning of a joke doesn't it?

  13. Conscious brain/ mind can do one thing at a time; learned muscle memory can perform 3-5 separate tasks: i.e. fly a helicopter or operate an excavator.

  14. single task
    inhibit information
    detox distraction
    big idea thinking
    calibrate mental effort
    innovation – creativity
    motivation – aways trumps talent – increases dopamine
    put your brain health at the front of your life, because without brain health you do not have health
    from comment board
    inner quiet
    adequate rest & sleep
    nutrition!

  15. Well, inhibit information and big idea thinking are kinda contradictory don't you think? "Take ideas from disparate areas and combine them with your rich knowledge"; how would a person inhibit information and still have a rich knowledge? Or am I taking Inhibit information too seriously?

  16. Habits should have also been mentioned. Incredibly powerful things

    Also, The Art of Stress-Free Productivity: David Allen is quite a good talk about a similar topic

  17. An exmaple of those who achieve this is Warren Buffett investor in his eighties and still inspiring and growing his business and profits. You might not approve of his goals but he is living it.

  18. We're what we think/believe, and sometimes eat. I know that without being told by so-called experts. If you know what you want out of your life, and are determined with it, nothing really matters. We need to be level headed – emotion and rational need to go together. We need to act upon what we believe is righteous, not right. Many people are already confused to make a difference between the right and the righteous. In order to have integrity, we need to keep learning and experiencing life. That's all there is to everyone's life. It all depends on how seriously we're interested in living each day fulfillingly according to your spiritual belief. Nothing complicated like this talk.

  19. Here's a big idea. Use your own judgement about how much your brain can focus on, multi-task, or distract itself with for you to become the most unique individual possible.

    Also consider that the beginning of this video starts with talk about becoming an astronaut and saying "we know more about the Universe than we do about our own brains."

    The irony is that most people still think space travel is a real thing, and if they're looking for tips on using their BRAIN, then maybe implement some critical thinking about the stories we're told about "The Universe," and try to ascertain any tangible proof that any of it is true. Yep, sounds crazy at first. I thought so too. But there are two answers for why it is that we don't feel the earth spinning at a 1,000 mph on it's axis while also orbiting a sun at 67,000 mph, as the sun itself travels at 500,000 mph through the galaxy.

    Answer 1- The reason we don't sense or notice any of those movements is because gravity keeps everything stable and the perfectly constant speed and rate of the orbits is so smooth that we should not expect to feel any of it. Sort of like traveling in a car or airplane, even though you do feel that motion slightly, especially when walking down the aisle to the bathroom. And it's only one direction as well, at a slight fraction of any of the above speeds. But the idea that we can sit in a contained compartment with relatively little sense of it's momentum, is the "sufficient" analogy for this commonly accepted answer.

    ANSWER 2 – We're not spinning, orbiting or moving whatsoever, just as it feels and seems, 24/7.

    This answer does require you to challenge the assumption that everything we are taught is "true" about the Earth we live on. Yet, ANYONE who takes the time to apply their BRAIN POWER toward figuring out which answer above truly makes the most sense, with the most proof using THE SCIENTIFIC METHOD, will find themselves ahead of where 99% of the population remains at the moment. And the ones who happened to read this comment, think it's ridiculous, but then never look into what I'm saying just to make sure, are better off just taking this woman's advice to "single task" their way through life.

  20. Good message on Brain study by Dr.Sandra Bond Chapman.ph.D. The seven secrets are really a great idea to use the brain effectively. Thank you.

  21. 1st time to ser a scammer on TED. If u scroll down most positive comments are at the beginning and super short. Total scam.

  22. If all generations multi task this may hurt us individually but as a species could this lead to a mutation or evolve into our brains being better at multi tasking and thus making us more capable to do things?

  23. Good talk. I wish she would have added in the first point, Single Task, that this is an advantage. One of the two great things the brain can do is commit put all its resources on one problem. The other is that it can pull together bits of brain processing areas – neural assemblies – to solve that problem. I think it was Greenfield who said that.

  24. We didn’t go to the moon when they said we did… the missing link to the unlimited potential you speak of was being used by the people who were killed by your species.

  25. I was expecting more than a motivational talk you tube is infested with motivational talks.
    I just don't believe the story about the kid and the tape recorder. It didn't relate to your talk sorry.

  26. Focus, out of the box thinking, critical thinking, filtering, innovation… Lots of relevant keys here since 2014 and now already 2019. Thanks!

  27. This stuff is great. Now teach me how to apply this to my mentally ill brain please.

  28. Browsing the comments section while listening to and sporadically watching the video and typing this comment. Single tasking failed!

  29. Sandra great info! Thank you. I do think there's a better line than using "hunting elephants" though.😉

  30. "we are the drivers and mechanics of the most powerful engine in the world". — we most certainly are – my belief is take something from every lecture and you build an immense knowledge from many sources and remember we are all unique and therefore we will absorb and apply information in different ways as Sandra illustrated at the beginning of her lecture with the story she told…. Thankyou Sandra ….,

  31. Me: pausing the video to share the first secret with my friend… Realised it's multi-tasking, wrote this comment about it and realised AGAIN mid-way that's it's still multi-tasking :')

  32. Thank you soo much for breaking down this higher concioussness concept into words and formula. Much appreciated.

  33. 1. Single task 2. Inhibit information 3. Detox Distractions 4. The big idea 5. Calibrate mental effort 6. Innovation 7. Motivation

  34. Water, detox fluoride, and heavy metals. Tooth amalgam may contain mercury. Lower sugar intake. Cleans colon for better probiotic health. Exercise all muscles to eliminate the fluid waste in your toxic lymphatic system and sleep/nap well. Why? because your brain is corrupted by these problems and your naturally high IQ is severely crippled.

  35. Regular meditation combined with some basic breathing exercises throughout the day will skyrocket your mental abilities through the roof. In fact, every aspect of your being will benefit greatly.

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