What an amazing organ your brain is

The other day I was walking with a friend. In a split second she had moved to the grass bank. I then noticed a person on a bike riding past us. What had happened took probably a millisecond and then we rewind. What had really happened?

Sam had heard a bicycle coming, her brain detected which side it would approach us from. She had weighed up in her mind whether or not to warn me to move but had decided that this would probably shock me and could cause me to move into the path of the oncoming cyclist. She put her slight ‘shock reflect’ to bed and also decided to move calmly up the grass bank, calculating that I would not have time to react before the cyclist had already passed us.

WOW – all that in such a short amount of time. I know these thought processes happened as Sam is very chatty and told me all about them once we had been overtaken.

In the normal run of things, our brains are acting automatically, taking decision after decision about which piece of sensory information to focus on at any given second. In fact, we have around 11million bits of information per second which our senses are processing. On a conscious level we are only aware of 40-50 of these. So, decisions like the one Sam made often go unnoticed; this one was only memorable and noteworth as the brain interpreted it as a ‘dangerous’ situation (the brain is good but not so discerning at times).

What does this mean for you and me? It means that we get to choose. Due to the enormous amount of information available, our brains will distort, delete and generalise information. It is true that where focus goes, energy flows. This also means that we can make choices which may seem out of the ordinary (for you), unusual (for you), different (for you). And what happens when you make new choices? New things happen, shifts occur and new experiences can open up.

Now, I’m not saying these shifts have to be meteoric or huge life changes but heck, who doesn’t want to make the odd tweak to make life a happier thing to live. Whether it’s a new dish in a restaurant, a new activity to do with your loved ones, a different career choice or just moving out of the way in a conscious way – why not tap into some more of that information that our amazing brains are processing all the time.