“The human brain is primarily a pattern recognition system. Once the mind has identified a pattern; it latches on to it very quickly and will continue on in that direction instinctively. The moment the mind identifies a pattern, it automatically follows it through and once our brains have caught onto the logic behind something, it then becomes the natural way of analyzing, which means every new situation will be viewed in light of a previous one” (Dr. Wale Akinyemi). In light of the above statement, indeed, if Henry Ford had asked what people wanted they would have said faster horses as they were only accustomed to horses and camels as the only mode of transport and this is the only pattern and logic that their minds knew. The logical and pattern system of the brain is advantageous in various ways but it’s also a key hindrance to creative thinking and innovation.
The pattern and logical system of the brain has various advantages; in sectors such as in the law enforcement, it has helped to solve crimes as most crimes follow certain patterns. Similarly in the medical profession, doctors try to get to the root cause of a disease by identifying a pattern of the disease in the lineage of a patient. In our lives, our days are mainly governed by habits formed from patterns where one wakes up at a certain time, does grooming, exercises, does morning devotion, eats breakfast and then goes to work or to certain common places. This leads to one having a certain pattern of how one lives each day. In most families you find that people in a family have a pattern of how they prepare their meals and do house hold chores; and a new child joining a certain family either by birth, adoption or a as a distant relative coming to live with that family, eventually adapts to their new family’s patterns and methods of doing things.
The pattern and logical system of the brain is as a result of the programming that takes place in our minds as a result of certain factors such as one’s background, experiences, association and environment that one is exposed to. When these factors are positive they program one’s mind to move in the same direction and as a result bring positive outcomes and results to one’s life. For instance when a child is born into a family where the parents like music, compose lyrics and have a music studio, the child’s brain will be programmed to also like music, and since the resources to nurture such an interest are readily available to the child, the child might go on to become a famous music star and artist. The same goes for a person who has friends who are athletes and like running. While initially the person may not have been interested in such athletic activities, with time because of the association they have with their friends, they will be inclined to start liking such an activity and will eventually join their friends as they do their practice. Eventually, in the future, you might find such a person becoming a famous international athlete and this will be as a result of the programming his mind underwent when he interacted with his friends.
While the pattern forming and logical system of the mind has its benefits, it also limits the brain to work at its optimum as the habits and patterns formed by the brain make it lazy to do other functions such as creative thinking – once a person has been trapped in the logic pattern of the brain, it becomes difficult for that person to think outside that box. A story is told of a young girl who used to observe her mother cooking fish; the mother would cut off the head and the tail of the fish every time before placing the fish in the cooking pan. After observing this for some time, the girl was curious and asked her mother why she cuts the head and tail of the fish. Her mother thought for a while and then replied that she learnt this from her mother who would always do the same when cooking the fish. The grandmother of the young girl came to visit the family and this was the young girl’s opportunity to finally get an answer to her question. So, after the grandmother had settled in, the young girl asked her the same question. Her grandma thought for a while and said ‘I always saw my mother cut the head and tail of the fish and so when I got married, I continued to cook the fish as I had seen my mother do.’ Frustrated by the fact that no one was giving her a satisfactory answer, the young girl went away sad as she did not understand the reason for this tradition in her family. After a few weeks, a golden opportunity presented itself for the girl. Her great grandmother was turning 100 years old and the whole family went to visit her. After the celebrations, the girl finally got a chance to ask the great grandmother her question. Her great-grandmother thought for a while and told her the reason she cut the head and the tail of the fish before cooking it was because her cooking pan was small back then and so the fish could not fit in the pan when it was whole. This came as a total surprise to the girl as the family which the daughters married into had bought bigger pans but continued with this tradition simply because no one was willing to question why they had that practice.
It thus becomes very critical for any individual who wants to make a difference, improve their lives, accomplish their purpose, and be innovative to question why they do the things they do. Are the things they do out of their own conviction that the things are beneficial and are adding value to them? Are they as a result of some traditions and patterns formed in a certain environment, passing down from family traditions, or as a result of associating with certain types of people? Once the brain is trapped in the pattern and traditional system of thinking in a certain way and doing things in a certain way, breaking out of that system will take deliberate effort to challenge the mind to view things from a different perspective. Unfortunately, this is a tragedy in the world today as people don’t question why they do certain things and continue doing things like other people around them do, consequently, leading to a generation of average and normal people who live ordinary, normal and average lives. But, in a real sense these people (if they knew themselves and broke out of the traditions and patterns that have trapped them) could become great innovators inventing great things and great accomplished experts offering solutions to the challenges in the world.
For Henry Ford to invent a motor vehicle when all he knew as a mode of transport were horses and camels; for Bill gates to invent the Microsoft software when no one had ever imagined it; for the Wright brothers to invent the air-plane when their professor and lecturer had told them it was not possible; it took a transformation of the mind from the normal and logical thinking they were all used to. It took a lot of imagination and creative thinking. It took an inquisitive mind to question things. It took gathering a lot of knowledge in those areas and practical application of the knowledge to first believe that it was possible to invent these things and later pursue these beliefs and produce what they had all only imagined before. Hence, in conclusion, success does not just happen – it takes a transformation of the mind; it takes deliberate effort to get knowledge and wisdom, deliberate effort to associate with people who inspire you to be better and challenge you, to think outside the norms of your traditions. Hence, to succeed in life and accomplish your purpose, you must be intentional about the things you do. As the Bible says, be transformed by the renewing of your mind so that you can prove the acceptable will and purpose of God for your life, because to him or her who is transformed in their mind and who believes, anything is possible.