Short Cutting Your Success

by Michael Berry on June 1, 2016

Housed in row after row of 8 foot by 15 foot steel black cabinets, the massive Blue Gene computer built by IBM covers a quarter acre of space at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California. Blue Gene can conduct 500 trillion operations per second. Impressive, until you realize it can only simulate a cockroach brain or a portion of the brain – not the behavior – of a mouse.

Your brain has 100 billion neurons that operate in vastly superior ways to its computer equivalent, the transistor. A transistor is a simple electrical switch that can either turn on or off. Our neurons are infinitely adjusted to varying degrees of open or closed. Additionally, our neurons have the ability to connect and disconnect to each other as needed.

According to Henry Markram, Director of the Blue Brain Project at École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, Switzerland, “To simulate a human brain we would need a super computer 20,000 times more powerful than today’s super computer and a memory 500 times the size of the entire Internet.”

To do what we take for granted with our brains would theoretically require a computer the size of several city blocks with a river to cool it and its own dedicated nuclear power source. Yet your brain creates almost no heat and runs on about 20 watts of power, or the same as a small light bulb.


In our universe, efficiency creates advantage. Our brain is amazingly efficient. One efficient use of our brain’s computing power is creating shortcuts. One of these shortcuts is called the hierarchy of recognition.

We all use the hierarchy of recognition naturally. The first few (or few hundred) times we see something we use a lot of our brainpower to understand what we feel is important to understand. Then, once we become satisfied with what we know, we stop looking so closely.

We can all remember what it was like to start into to eyes of our spouse or lover the first time we realized that we loved them. As time goes on, we stop gazing because we are satisfied that we already know what is there. We settle for seeing a familiar outline of them, but for the habit of efficiency we look no further. They may become upset when we fail to recognize they have changed their hairstyle, and we may become upset when a mere acquaintance notices the change. This can easily lead to feeling unappreciated by those who supposedly love us the most.

Although they may be a convenience, these mental shortcuts cause many problems in our lives. They keep us from keeping up. They lock us into the understanding of what was or what may have been, instead of what is now. They limit our perception and therefore our opportunities by staying the same in a rapidly changing world.

Thinking in concepts instead of individual moving parts is another way we use shortcuts. These concepts include the way the world is, the way people are and the way that things work. We develop thinking patterns that tend to categorize everything we encounter. This is helpful because without them our massive brainpower would find it agonizing to make even the smallest decisions over and over again. But it is limiting.

How we categorize and where we draw distinctions determine how useful our brain is as a tool for us. We may deeply desire wealth, but if our brain is programmed to only recognize patterns that create poverty we will never be able to create the wealth we desire. Or we may put wealth into a category “only for the lucky ones” while placing ourselves in the category “not lucky.” As our brain shortcuts take hold, this concept becomes ingrained over time. This in turn creates more of the same results, becoming a self-fulfilling prophecy: the limiting belief creates more lack of wealth. This cycle continues until it is disrupted, we become aware and choose to change it.

This is stepping into the Big Game. It takes a certain belief and approach to life to create bigger and more desirable results.

Personal development is our business and our life.
Michael Berry
In personal development we learn that “we all see and experience the world not as it is, but as we are”.

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