Secrets of Science: Mind Glue

Written by Martin Lucas

Did you know Albert Einstein’s genius was due to him having dramatically more glial cells than the standard human brain?

You can read the full Einstein synopsis here. It was his ability to connect thoughts together at such a rapid rate that enabled him to seek new ways of thinking and then proving his ideas. And the rest is - literally - history. Glial cells protect and connect neutrons together; it’s the science of thinking in a very practical sense as they connect thoughts together. The speed at which this occurs depends on your ratio of glial* cells to neurons; the standard ratio is 3.76 glial cells per neuron.

*This is where ‘glue’ comes from as a term. It’s literally how your mind glues and connects itself.

Your mind is not dictated by your I.Q. as that is merely one measure of how well you output information. IQ is not the be all and end all of intelligence. Glial cells are the real key to intelligence. Consider your friend who listens to a conversation and comes back hours after everyone else to say ‘I get it, it’s because of….’. They are a bit slower than others but they get there in the end. Does this make them thick? No, they just have less glial cells than others. Now imagine the reverse of this; you know, that friend who can process and provide answers super quickly? Yep, you got it, they can think quicker than most. Conversely, that doesn’t mean they are smarter but it’s a fabulous combo if both your intellectual skill set  is solid and your glial cell ratio is high.

Science is dope! Philosophy is all about thinking about the world we know and what it means for tomorrow, problem solving in ways people don’t think about. With this in mind, have you ever considered what brings you new thoughts and ideas?

Experiences, People & Environment

Our collective life experience is what allows us to think beyond what we know today and is also the trigger for what we think about tomorrow. If you do more, see more and are curious to look around as you go about your business then you will be constantly enriching your mind. Take your mental health for example. Let’s say you are feeling a little down on yourself. Heaven forbid you have people around you belittling you, but if that is the case then you may start to believe it and your pattern of thinking slowly adapts to this belief. It’s not pleasant and yet is waaaaaaaaaay more common than many of us may realise. Equally, let’s say you feel super happy and you are careering through life smiling and looking to chat more, see more, do more. Then, you are feeding your mind with lots of new things and lots of positive emotion.

Feelings and emotions are controllable. In order to be happier we can literally feed our mind positive experiences.

If you doubt that, then who is in control of your life?

Can you go sit in the garden or a park tonight? Yes.

Can you call a friend for a chat? Yes.

Can you visit a museum / a beach / a forest / a restaurant this weekend?

Is anyone stopping you doing any of this? Hopefully you answered No. If you said Yes, then please call the bullying police!

In my eyes, the biggest risk for anyone to feel less than the best version of themselves is any combination of restricting their experiences of the world which can be the environment you put yourself in or the people in your life. Not all of those factors can be changed but it is very important to be aware of them. Your glial cells really need you to feed them lots of new and positive experiences as they can then connect lots of positive thoughts and you will, step by step, have a well-nourished brain.

Did you know that the brain never stops developing? Society has tricked us - because science took so freaking long to work the brain out - you see we don’t become adults and stop developing; that is merely a physical forming when we hit 21. The progressive physical decay thereafter gives us an impression that we are declining from our peak: wrinkles - slower running - making noises to sit down and to get back up again. The reality is that is merely physical. The brain itself is your computer; if I download an app to my computer what happens? I can use that app right? Same deal with your brain; you get back what you put into it. My studies suggest that the brain works in seven year development cycles, which manifest in major changes when each cycle peaks; I will save this for another day! Today, I want to finish with some fun by looking at the masses of people as though each person was a glial cell.

Culture is Nourishment

We’ve already established that your experiences, environment and the people in them are big factors in how you approach your own life. Well, the same logic is true for the mass of humans! How they behave as a collective is merely a result of their inputs; if it is true for one person then of course it’s true for lots of them together. This is known as adaptive behaviour. Consider yourself at work; if your desk buddy has a way of creating their weekly report then you will swap some best practice and ultimately will have a similar way of doing things. Whilst it won’t be an exact match it will be very similar and these types of behaviours are consciously and unconsciously adapted.

It does not end with your desk buddies; adaptive behaviours are the rules, the hidden secrets of your work, the division between teams, groups and offices. Simon wrote about a very common one: the gap between Sales and Marketing and that can easily become the culture of a company. Even to the point that it can become ipso facto for an entire industry, such as these examples:

Finance - Archaic, slow moving, high sexist challenges

Tech - Low emotional intelligence, high sexist challenges

Advertising - Generational Sales animals, mega-high stress levels

Those are based on analyses of entire industries. I have worked with, for and run mass analysis of hundreds of companies over the years, which is why we do a free analysis report as it focuses on each company including the unique industry, mindset and culture they have. We humans are not that complex when it comes to mass behaviours. We follow what others do; we work for our manager / leader not the company. Culture is like your brain; it needs to be nourished for it to be the best version of itself.

I do not subscribe to culture simple being fixed by providing employees a pool table, a fridge full of snacks or purple walls. They can be factors, factors being the operative word. The real skin in the game is how much mental freedom people feel, how cared for they really are, how well the leadership team understand them and the adaptive behaviours they are projecting. You can’t succeed unless you nourish yourself, which is as true for a collective mass of humans as it is for you.

Please get up and go for a walk as you will connect some new thoughts together. Loosen the glue of your mind :)