Neuroplasticity describes how experiences reorganize neural pathways in the brain. Long lasting functional changes in the brain occur when we learn new things or memorize new information.
New scientific research explains why it is possible for humans to think and operate in a different way to their ‘default setting’. Neuroplasticity primarily occurs through processes called sprouting and rerouting. Sprouting is the creation of new connections between neurons, or nerve cells. Rerouting involves creating an alternative neural pathway by deleting damaged neurons and forming a new pathway between active neurons.
When we wrote Why Men Don’t Listen & Women Can’t Read Maps, brain scans showed that 3 out of 5 biological females had a brain operating system that we call ‘female’. The results were similar for males – 3 out of 5 males thought like males. The remaining 2 out of 5 had a brain operating system that was more opposite to their biological sex. For example, a man who thinks more like a woman or a woman who thinks more like a man.
Understanding the evolving science of neuroplasticity allows you to embrace your own style and be flexible to adapt when its advantageous for you to do so. When others are not open to change, you will at least have the strategies to communicate with them effectively by adapting to their style for a short time. While research indicates it takes around 144 days or for a new brain map to be written, simply practicing thinking differently for 10 minutes a day is a great start.
No matter how you acquired your ‘default’ brain setting, you have it. You either think more in ‘male’ terms or ‘female’ terms. It is simply a label that allows you to identify your characteristics, strengths and weaknesses, and learn the skills you need to adapt to any situation. Each brain setting has its own strengths and weaknesses and once you become familiar with these, you can gain a greater understanding of how other people – especially your partner, family and colleagues – think and behave. When you learn to interpret others’ communication style, you can avoid arguments, get others to agree with you, and build stronger, and lasting relationships.
Learning new skills or ways of thinking trains the brain like any other muscle – the more you flex it, the stronger it becomes. Therefore, by switching between the male and female thinking styles, you can strengthen the neural pathways that allow the process to become more ‘natural’ with time. There are specific strategies to switch between the two thinking styles, but it’s important to do what works for you as an individual. For example, for a female brained person who practices direct speech (male behaviour) at the office to ‘reset’, they may go for a walk, take a short break before entering the home after work, or have a shower to help them ‘switch’ back to their default brain setting.
If you are normally someone who waffles, you can learn to be more direct. If you are normally someone who is direct and stern, you can learn to soften your points and give more detail. It is simple, though not easy, to observe your relationships and see where you could be meeting the other person half-way and getting a better result by doing so. Successful relationships are built on understanding and mutual agreement to strategies that work for both of you.
Learning to identify how others think and behave from the way they talk, to their body language, gives you the power to identify their skillset or specific traits you can apply in your relationships. Empower yourself by learning more about male and female brain operating systems and you’ll soon be getting more people onside, avoiding arguments and creating an environment where people want to be with you and say ‘yes’ to you. Learning how to think like the opposite sex pays big dividends.
Improved relationships are worth the investment it takes to adjust your personal style. You’ll learn everything you need to know from books like Why Men Don’t Listen and Women Can’t Read Maps and The Definitive Book of Body Language.
Relationships can be win-win when you have the strategies.
Allan & Barbara Pease
© Copyright Allan Pease 2021