Thursday, February 8, 2007

Improving the brain

Today's article "Smart Strategy: Think of the Brain as a muscle" reveals a study that finds that students do better if they are taught to treat their brains as muscles that can get stronger. The elasticity of the brain is an important new step in the development of education theory. And we'd do well, I think, to apply it to other endeavors, including careers and political organizing. Students who recognize that the brain can be improved (rather than just a static organ) are more concerned with challenging themselves. Students who think intelligence is fixed are more concerned with looking smart, and avoid risk. Activists in an organization can benefit from the same mentality: mistakes are the reps that make your brain work better next time. And crafting the structure of an organization, leaders can craft structures that nurture the brains of their employees and volunteers. The physical and emotional structure of the organization can mean the difference between a vibrant organization and a dull gray one.

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