Is your life on ‘cruise control’ or in ‘creative flow’?

Years ago, a dear friend and I were discussing life choices and I distinctly remember her saying, ‘The enemy of the great is the good.’ 

In other words, by hanging on to what is good in our lives, we inevitably forgo something better.  This comment stuck with me.

In a world where we are prone to compare ourselves to others, and have an insatiable appetite for ‘bigger and better’, I believe it’s very important to appreciate what we currently have.

I believe that it’s a genuine art and skill to be content within our self; even if outer circumstances do not reflect what we think we want them to look like.

These reflections however are different, they are about ‘being more’ – of what we are truly capable of being.

Have you ever been cruising along in life, in your comfort zone, knowing that conditions could be better… but also knowing they could be worse too?

So what do you do?  Grasp onto the status quo and avoid shaking things up?  Or do you push forward into new terrain, with the possibility of seizing more growth, skills and opportunities?  Even though by doing so, you may also risk losing current comforts, with no guarantees of advancement and the potential for situations to get worse…

If you are like many other people, there is a good chance you choose to stay put, in the middle lane and do your best to keep everything exactly as is.

The catchy 1970s hit song by The Hues Corporation, “Rock the Boat”, is extremely catchy and fun, and the lyrics also convey this message:

Our connection is going along really well. We are enjoying it, so why do anything to disrupt it?

This makes for a good argument.  However, according to modern day neuroscience, it is actually the surest way for a relationship to become stale and eventually fizzle out.  Oh, no!

Ever notice in your own life when relationships are typically the most exciting… in the early stages, right, when everything is fresh and new?

Did you know that it is hardwired into your brain to appreciate and seek out novelty so that your brain can grow?

There is a region located in our midbrain that is known as the “novelty centre” of the brain, and it quickly responds to new stimuli.

A research experiment found that the novelty centre of the brain was activated by novel images – brand new images that hadn’t been seen before versus images that only slightly differed from more familiar ones, which did not get a brain response.

According to Dr. Düzel, professor in Cognitive Neuroscience,

“When we see something new, we see it has a potential for rewarding us in some way. This potential that lies in new things motivates us to explore our environment for rewards. The brain learns that the stimulus, once familiar, has no reward associated with it and so it loses its potential…”

Turns out that when we are exposed to novelty, the hippocampus and the amygdala, which are located near your brain’s novelty centre, also fire up! 

Both of these brain areas play large roles in learning and memory; the hippocampus compares stimuli against existing memories, while the amygdala responds to emotional stimuli and strengthens associated long-term memories.

Best of all, novelty turns on one of your brain’s most valuable ‘super powers’ – NEUROPLASTICITY.

Neuroplasticity is the ability of the brain to create new neurons and form and reorganize synaptic connections. This is especially prevalent during learning situations, new experiences, and the healing that ensues after an injury.

Some key ingredients that activate neuroplasticity are new sensations, new actions, and new environments.

Here are some ways to approach it:


There are countless courses and programs available in-person and online. To effectively activate your neuroplasticity muscles, it is best to choose one that you can attend in the flesh, so you’ll benefit from 3 dimensional stimuli and a change of scenery as you learn the new skills.


Engaging with people in an effective and meaningful way, requires us to be in the present moment, pay attention, and not be stressed.  Interestingly, those are also criteria for sculpting your brain in an effective way as well. When we meet new people, we benefit from fresh perspectives and new sensory input, such as scents, body gestures, tones and rhythms.


We can easily get into the habit of eating the same things, listening to the same music or radio station, wearing the same style of clothes, but there are many other options out there. Make an effort to go outside of your norm and try something different. This will activate new brain cells and networks as you engage your senses in new ways.

As an added perk, you can leverage your brain’s increased plasticity by setting aside time to learn right after taking in novel stimuli. This is because your brain will be more open to making new connections during and right after it.

So with all this in mind, go ahead ‘Rock Your Boat’, and make some Brain Waves!