Whether it is the architectural changes in the brain or improvements in our organizations, learning supports us at the micro and macro levels. What's good for the brain is also good for business.
Until the late 19th century, it was generally accepted that at some point in our lives, our brains reached a maximum capacity of sorts. Despite the concept of neurogenesis (i.e., the generation of new neurons within the brain) being around since 1901, it's only been in the past 75 years with the introduction of Hebb's Law that science has begun to acknowledge and study the "plasticity" of our brains and its ability to form new neural pathways throughout our entire lives.
In their most basic form, new neural pathways are created when we are exposed to new experiences and information, or simply when we learn. While the process happens much more rapidly and easily in childhood, we know the plasticity of our brains enables us to create and strengthen new neural networks at any age. Essentially, your brain is a like a full-time construction zone, and when you're learning, it's an active building site.
While this may not be as significant as when the ancient Greeks proved that the world was round, the architecture of how we learn has a tremendous impact on our lives and careers. When applied to today's professional landscape, our careers and organizations would benefit by keeping in mind that what's good for the brain is also good for business. Here's why.
1. Learning opens new neural pathways in our brains.
In the brain, our neurons act like first-time explorers making their way through unknown terrain slowly and uneasily. Then, as the neurons travel over the same areas, their path strengthens and their step quickens. Depending on how often the neurons are transmitted, the path starts to look more like a highway getting neurons from point to point as quickly and efficiently as possible.
These neural highways become a dense network the more you have a particular thought or idea. The denser the network, the easier it is to recall and use it in real time. So, essentially, when people focus on learning and creating new neural pathways, they are simultaneously keeping themselves open to finding new and better ways to operate.
2. Learning supports new opportunities in our careers.
As individuals, learning about ourselves not only creates new neural pathways in our brains, it gives us better control over our emotional responses and bio behavior. As we develop an awareness of ourselves, we are able to use this knowledge to better respond to the demands of our personal and professional lives.
This is important, because if we weren't able to recognize occasions where we are stressed or under particular pressure, we would always be at the mercy of anything that triggers our emotional responses. Instead, self-awareness allows us to step outside of ourselves and navigate our working environments appropriately.
3. Learning enables new results for our organizations.
Once you have an enhanced understanding of yourself and begin to apply it in your life, it becomes embedded into how you navigate your world. From here, you can begin to realize breakthroughs in your life that have previously plagued your progression. After experiencing professional development opportunities, learners can also be particularly motivated to apply the new knowledge derived from their training into their roles.
Learning supports the way we function at the micro and macro levels. Through learning, we open new neural pathways in our brains, new job pathways in our careers and new business pathways in our organizations.