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Did you know that when you achieve or are successful in an outcome it increases the dopamine receptors in your brain, which makes you smarter and more courageous?

This is because the brain releases large amounts of testosterone and dopamine when we get highly excited about something.

…. I want to tell you about the very first presentation I ever did. The very first time I stood in front of a group of people and delivered a presentation. I was shaking in my boots, my hands were sweaty, my voice was quivering and I just wanted to curl into foetal position. The entire time I was thinking ‘Gosh what must they think of me?’ or ‘Can they see my leg trembling with fear?’ Oh… did I mention that public speaking was my number one fear? Yes, that’s right. The number one fear, up there with death.

After that mortifying experience, I had a choice – I could choose to run away. Or face my fear head on. I made the decision to invest time overseas and nurture my presentation and public speaking skills to be the person I aspired to be. My teacher said to me once: ‘the only way to cure insecurity is to do more of it until you become an expert’. This was not quite what I wanted to hear at the time. However, they turned out to be very wise words.

As with anything …. when you nurture something – invest your time and energy – you are feeding it, developing it and cultivating the very thing you want to create.

And it’s the same with any form of new learning. Over time, learning changes our brain’s structure and its chemical makeup, actually making us smarter, more confident and able to take on larger challenges than before. For me, honing my speaking skills, getting feedback, practicing without an audience and with one all simply added up to ‘time in the saddle’ and I got better and better, and more comfortable. Several years later, it feels perfectly natural for me to present to large groups and I don’t sweat it anymore!

This is why personal development is such an important part of shifting your mindset – to create a new brain, a new you. True fulfilment never comes from chasing other people’s dreams, it comes from you designing your life based on who you are and what you aspire to be. When you are doing things for you and driving your own goals, there is more energy and drive for personal growth, which is a human need. The day we stop learning is the day we die.

Information Without Action Is Useless

How often have you completed a course or program and walked out of there feeling pumped, like ‘This is it! This is going to change my life’? Then what did you do with that information? Well… we fall back into our old routines, old programs and old ways of doing what we have always done. If we do not apply the learnings, this is a waste of our time, energy and money.

You know what? Training is only 10% of the learning. This is about how much new information we can absorb out of a classroom environment. After that, 70% is how we apply the learning. In other words, how we experience what we have learned and incorporate it into our day-to-day tasks.

This is why it is of great importance to put an action on how are we going to make our learnings come to life.

Repetition Is the Mother of All Learning

Our brain has a short attention span and needs repetition with emotional connection before something new becomes second nature or turns the learning into a habit. One of the key factors in the human brain’s ability to change via neuroplasticity is – neurons that fire together, wire together. Neuroscience research shows us that the brain may need to sit in front of information up to seven times before it creates a new habit. In other cases, it may require up to 21 days of focus.

Therefore, knowledge is of no value if you don’t put it into practice. It’s like this; imagine someone giving you the ingredients for a perfect recipe that sounds delicious and delectable. If you don’t act on it, you will never make it. You have to put time and energy and effort into the recipe to make it come to life. Take action one step at a time and plan for it to prevent cognitive overload – this will give you the opportunity to master the skills you truly need, as well as improve your focus and effectiveness.

When you know what you want to achieve, it is easier for you to see the benefits of taking action. Even when the task ahead is not enjoyable, if you can see a clear benefit, you are more motivated to take the necessary action.

Where There Is a Will, There Is a Way

In everything that we do, if there is a will, there is a way. If we believe there is a chance that we can do something – anything – then we are on our way to make that happen. Our thoughts have the power to determine our reality. We are programmed to think a certain way and to behave a certain way. Ninety-five percent of our life is controlled by the unconscious mind, which means our will is only five percent of the time. Our will or our conscious mind is where our desires and aspirations reside.

Your conscious mind can do one special thing, and that is thinking. It can be present, paying attention to what’s going on around you. However, if your conscious mind is thinking or daydreaming, then the moment it stops paying attention to the present and what’s going on around you is when your unconscious mind takes over. In the absence of your conscious mind, your old programs start coming back.

So if you nurture your aspirations and desires to manifest in your unconscious mind that is nature (your brain), will create greater resilience to the old you. In time, even when things get tough, you will have the skill and attributes to deal effectively with problems.

Personal development can’t prevent all bad things from occurring. However, it will provide you with greater confidence, resilience, personal and interpersonal skills to cope with any eventuality.