Four simple tips for tricking your brain to become who you’ve always wanted to be

Ever sat in your sofa, bitter over that you’re not someone else, and I don’t just mean short, fat and unhappy when you want to be tall happy and toned. Even if what I’m about to say may result in drastic changes in appearance.

The way our brain is hypothesized to work in an everyday setting is to mimic social codes (for those of us with this ability intact). Through the grace of mirror neurons we can watch someone perform an action, and create a neural pathway that simulates their actions, and creates a feeling of having done that our selves or be able to predict their actions. Do it enough time, and the structure of your prefrontal lobe starts to actually encourage similar behaviours. That is why we force fifth graders to comfort each other and to build empathy, one of the reasons (besides an activation of the amygdale) we cry at sad movies and one of the tools we can use to become who we’ve always wanted to be. Far strech? Not really.

1)      Studies have shown that people who hang out together, start forming similar body shapes and behaviours. One may think it’s only a reflection of similar socioeconomical status, but it transcends the “money drives poor and healthy eating” and the “same personalties find equals” phenomenon. So if you want to become slimmer, more trained and active. Make sure to activate your patterns in that direction by actively seeking out active people who like hiking, biking and have the body shape you crave, or ideaology you want to adapt. Several things will happen. You will start adapting to their habits, socially and in your brain structures. And you didn’t believe your mom when she said you should hang with the right corwd, she was right you know.

2)      Practice the skill you want. Studies show that practicing a skill, leads to structural brain changes. If your great dream is to be a brilliant dancer, follow the first tip, hang out with dancers. Get a hold of their dance moves. Now step two is to practice dancing yourself. Your motor skills will improve and the structures of your brain reshape to optimize your skills. No matter how bad you are, you can become a good dancer. It may take you a longer time if you’re not genetically pre-disposed for certain things, but you can learn. And the reward will come in form of neurochemical changes (such as changes in the dopamine receptors), that usually aid addiction, you will become addicted to knowing more and having more skills!

3)      Subject yourself to environments you ordinarily wouldn’t visit. To structurally reshape your brain and behaviour. You need to let it experience the changes you want to make. Make sure to subject yourself to new environments as often as you can. If you want to be better at socializing, but you’re shy and awkward and you don’t have that many friends except for that couch potato who makes you go co-op on his XBOX, attend more conferences, art openings, debate clubs. Make sure to grab any social opportunity, subjecting yourself to strangers and social situations. You may start off shy and silent in the corner, just browsing around, but sooner or later, the environment will start altering you behaviour, and someone will intrigue you in an interesting conversation.

4)      Most important of all, never say tomorrow! You’re new life should always start today and you should never use compensatory motivation, follow Nike’s logo and Just Do It. Why do I say this cliché? From what we yet know from the brain. It won’t hold on to what it understands as short-term compensatory goals of tomorrow because it’s programmed to do such tasks  today. They say if it’s important you’ll find a way to do it, if it’s not you’ll find an excuse. I say; If you can convince your brain that it is important, it will fail in finding excuses for why you shouldn’t”.


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