Brains are truly remarkable devices. They can grow and change shape depending on what we feed them. We are constantly challenging ourselves to taste that sweet chemical cocktail that our brains release when we really achieve something. When your brain gives you the reward you worked towards, the feeling is unparalleled. Yes! Saying no to cake, jumping up when the alarm clock rings and keeping just one of those New Year’s resolutions all result in that addictive ahhh feeling. Once we know we can do something previously thought impossible, our brains give us big dose of positivity in the hope that we keep up the good behaviour … this is what I call “a welcome bonus” from your brain!
Often the greatest possible welcome bonuses come from applying a new skill. Learning to drive, mastering new software, or applying leading-edge interpersonal tactics can give us a huge sense of satisfaction. So how do we maximise the welcome bonuses, get the learning loyalty points and convince our brains to give us the results we need?
William Deresiewicz, American scholar and author, gives us a major clue: “It’s only by concentrating, sticking to the question, being patient, letting all the parts of my mind come into play, that I arrive…. How? By giving my brain a chance to make associations, draw connections, take me by surprise”. A chance? Let’s find out more what that means.
The brain is often thought of as a muscle, and muscles crave exercise to reach their full potential. A more accurate description, however, would be to think of the brain not as a single muscle, but as an entire body of muscles that each require a different kind of stimulus to achieve maximum growth. After we pass the initial stages of learning and practicing a skill, its common to experience diminishing returns. Think of eating nothing but pasta for a year straight and imagine how that would impact your physical appearance. Our brains react similarly and need a variety of nutrients and new exertions to avoid plateauing. Thankfully, the easiest way to do this is to learn and to find new and creative ways to apply the knowledge and skills we have encountered.
To this end, Reuven Feuerstein, Israeli cognitive psychologist and learning theorist, concurs: “For learning to be meaningful we need to find a way of ‘bridging’ or transferring knowledge and strategies from one situation to another”. Put differently, to get the welcome bonus ahhh feeling, we need to get a head start on imagining and practicing how we would use our learning to widen our understanding. We need to connect what we know already to what we have learned. Merely knowing how to do something does not have the same impact for our brains as actually following through with an action.
How do we make this happen? CPS has a proven solution, based on well researched data. CPS Learning programmes are tailored specially around the welcome bonuses your brain craves. The opportunity for a sense of achievement, the “ahhh I did it!” experiences are built into the fabric of the learning architecture. Some programmes even have a specific adoption springboards where learners visualise and create a new charter at work using the skills they have adopted. Learners experience a sense of inner momentum around their new skills, and once momentum begins it is incredibly hard to resist. CPS has 20 years of experience in ticking both William and Reuven’s boxes by allowing learners to immediately link their learning to the real word. This all-important step of translating knowledge into action and RESULTS in the real world, the new world of work, is often overlooked and the impact speaks volumes. Experience learning the CPS way. Enjoy a rainbow of welcome bonuses, and your brain will do the rest.