Use it or lose it.

I'm reading Norman Doidge's book 'The Brain That Changes itself' in the hopes I can understand a bit more about my autistic son's neurones, but I've come through the first two chapters a little challenged about the way I use my own brain.

One of the big principles with the brain is that you must 'use it or lose it'. Every time you do something, for example, practice the piano, you strengthen a part of your brain. Everytime you don't do it, that part is used for something else. Or, even worse, it dies off.

As people get older, the best thing they can do for their brain is to learn something completely new - like a language, or a new skill or sport.

As I was skim reading through the book at speed, taking about half of it in, as I normally do, it suddenly occurred to me that I am actually training myself not to think well, not to read accurately, and to only half learn things. I often find myself thinking, "Oh, I'll do that properly later when I have time," but I realised that the more I do this, the less I will actually be able to do things properly as time goes on.

Even as I write this blog post, I realise that I'm not very 'present'. I am busy thinking about other things I could/should/might be doing at the same time and I'm only skating on the surface of the words and the ideas I'm putting down. 

I am challenged to take the simple step of slowing down when I read, with the thought that surely it's better to read and remember one book well, than three books only partially. It is painful to do, but it will be for the long term good of my brain!