Steven Campbell talks to Alexander “The Engineer” Lim, host of AuthorStory by alvinwriter.com about his book, Making Your Mind Magnificent.
“While you’re talking to yourself, your brain is believing everything you tell it, without question.” ~Steven Campbell
Steven started his career working in hospitals for twenty years, which gave him a good background in physiology, which he was taught in. He then got his Master’s degree in Information Systems and then began teaching computer courses. He has had a lifelong fascination with the brain, and over the years, he has taught students how to learn and how to study, including all that he learned about the brain in these courses. It was after he had retired from the academe that he began spreading the word about all that he had learned about learning and the brain, and he wrote the book in response to people asking him to write a book about the subject matter that he was speaking on, which was so powerful that psychologists attend his seminar, despite the fact that Steven doesn’t have a degree in psychology.
Steven noted that we human beings talk to ourselves thousands of times faster than normal verbal conversation, and that our self-talk comes in the form of images and feelings, rather than words. The brain, for its part, accepts without question that which it has been told, which means that, if it is told that it cannot do something, it will do its job and make sure that the person to whom it is a part of cannot do that thing. On the other hand, if the brain has been told that it can do something, it will likewise do its job and make sure that the person to whom it is a part of can do that thing, and will find ways of getting that thing done. Steven notes that the brain doesn’t care if what was told it is true, and refers to Phantoms in the Brain by Sandra Blakeslee and V.S. Ramachandran, which deals, in part, with the phenomenon of people still feeling limbs that have been amputated.
Steven remarked that psychology began with Freudianism, where it was believed that unresolved childhood conflicts were the source of one’s present-day behavior, after which behaviorism was initiated by Dr. B. F. Skinner, who theorized that one behaves the way one does because of cause and effect. This was then followed by theories that behavior is determined by one’s genes, and then by one’s environment (culture and the like). Steven notes that all of this stems from Dr. Albert Ellis’s book, A Guide to Rational Living, which was a cornerstone in cognitive psychology, which theorizes essentially that we are what we say to ourselves, and effectively says that all of the psychological theories previously brought up were all true. This is because everything one does today is primarily based on what one says to himself today, or what one is believing today, rather than due to cultural conditioning or events previously experienced in one’s life, which was a radical idea when it first came out in the 1960s. Dr. Ellis also theorized that how one feels about oneself doesn’t come from one’s past - from how one was raised, for example - but from one’s own beliefs about what has happened to oneself, and that these beliefs can be changed, with the feelings that will follow. This is based on neuroplasticity, which is a term coined by Dr. Eric Kandel in his book, In Search of Memory.
Steven is, himself, a living lesson of the subject of his book, as he told himself for over 40 years, that he was terrible at mathematics, but he was forced to become good at math when he was assigned to become a math teacher. He became so good at it, particularly since he had applied what he knew about how the brain learned, that students began to favor his subject over those taught by other professors, and it was then that he began believing that he was good at math - a message that his brain took in, locked on and then operated accordingly. Steven points out that the brain doesn’t care if what is told it is true or not, and that one can change one’s life by changing what one tells one’s brain, and what one believes in, right now.
Steven notes that the brain, when people sleep, creates the connections amongst all of the things it has learned and recorded throughout the day, organizing and making sense out of all of the things learned. Based on the latest studies, the brain has a hundred billion neurons, each of which are connected to an average of ten thousand neurons. The brain thus has a pattern based on a hundred billion to the ten thousandth power [(100,000,000,000)^(10,000)], which is an enormous number and means that the brain is virtually unlimited in what it can learn. The primary element that thus holds people back from learning is the self-talk that people engage in, and the reason this is only coming up now is because it’s only now that the technology is available where we can see the brain actually operating.
Where physical statistics are concerned, Steven points out that the brain takes up only 2% of a person’s body weight but consumes 20% of a person’s energy, 20% of the air a person takes in, 25% of a person’s blood flow, 30% of the water a person takes in and 40% of the nutrients a person consumes.
Steven has a regular radio show on KOWS.FM 107.3, which starts at 9am Pacific time, every Wednesday morning.
Purchase from Amazon: Making Your Mind Magnificent by Steven Campbell