Can People Really Change?

Can People Really Change?

Some years ago I wrote a book titled You Are What You Think.  In it, I explore how your thoughts create your emotions, and what you can do to change your negative thoughts into positive ones and in doing so change your negative emotions into positive ones.

Since I wrote that book, the knowledge about how the brain works and develops has exploded.  So now I have written a sequel which has just been released by Revell Books.   It’s title is Rethink How You Think.  It’s based on the findings of the fascinating research on the brain, and how real change is possible.

For example, we look at the lack of power in what we call our willpower.  In other words, why is it we can’t stick to a diet, among other things we determine to do. Brain researchers say that the key lies in our subconscious mind.  Don’t think of the subconscious as the dark evil place described by Freud.  To these researchers, it is an emotionless part of the brain, over which we cannot exercise conscious control.  It is where our “buttons” live–those buttons that other people tend to push.

What’s interesting is that the subconscious part of the mind is basically programmed by the time we are six or seven years old.  It’s like the hard drive of a computer.  It is that which is at the core of the brain, and all we do over the subsequent years is add an app here or there.  So the question is “How do we reprogram our brain’s hard drive?”

Until recently, that would have been an absurd question.  The scientists who studied the brain used to say that by the rime we are in our twenties, our brain is what it is going to be.  No changes on the horizon.  But in the last twenty years, neuroscientists have found that the brain has what they call “plasticity.”  That means it is always able to change and develop new ways of acting, even if you’re in your eighties.

To make changes in the brain, three ingredients are necessary:  1.) We have to learn new things; 2.) we have to exercise aerobically at least four times a week; and 3.) we have to learn how to focus our attention.  This is what I call “discursive meditation.”  It is the key to making change, and it is the main focus of my new book.  We’ll give you some more from the book in the next postings

(You can order either or both books at Amazon, or at your Christian Bookstore.)

Question:  Have you wondered why, when you try so hard to vow to do something, you fail over and over again?

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4 Responses to Can People Really Change?

  1. Dave,

    I’m wondering where connection with others and accountability comes in here. I’ve noticed it’s very hard for me to change habits without some grace and accountability from my close friends. I will definitely buy the book and share it with others.

    Great post! Thanks!


  2. debbie cianfrani says:

    I am for sure going to get this book. I have already read “you are what you think” ( several times) and it helped me soooo much. I am looking forward to reading this new one. Thanks Dr. Stoop for all you do. God Bless you.

  3. David M Eck says:

    Thanks for the post. I just picked up the kindle book and I can’t wait to read it!

  4. Family_Man says:

    Re:”But in the last twenty years, neuroscientists have found that the brain has what they call “plasticity.” That means it is always able to change and develop new ways of acting, even if you’re in your eighties.”
    – That’s very good news. I have a friend in his 60’s who argues that people cannot really change.. I’ve wondered if he was correct.

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