What Would We Be Capable Of If We Used 100% Of Our Brains?

Everything we know is a lie, people. I hate to break it to ya, but most of us have been believing (and I dare say perpetuating) a false claim for decades now. As someone who prides themselves on possessing a somewhat useless library of factual tidbits to call upon in social situations, this discovery was a massive kick in the balls. Like, this has left me more woke than I’d be if someone told me Anne Hathaway‘s boots weren’t, in fact, goddamn Chanel.

What, pray tell, could leave us all so shook? Oh, y’know, just the mind-blowing revelation that the whole “we only use 10% of our brains” claim is entirely incorrect.

Yep, add that to your dinner party conversation topics list and smoke it.

Given that it’s now clear we use more than a measly 10%, you’re probably wondering exactly how much we do legit use. Scientific America‘s article ‘Do People Only Use 10% Of Their Brains‘ sheds a lil’ light on the topic:

Evidence would show over a day you use 100 percent of the brain, says John Henley, a neurologist at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn. Even in sleep, areas such as the frontal cortex, which controls things like higher level thinking and self-awareness, or the somatosensory areas, which help people sense their surroundings, are active, Henley explains. ….[I]t turns out though, that we use virtually every part of the brain, and that [most of] the brain is active almost all the time.

Be it during meditation, sleepy time, or mindlessly watching horrifically trashy reality TV, our brain’s always active – and most of the time it’s using every bit of juice it’s got.

So why is the revelation that we use most of our brain 24/7 such a hard pill to swallow? Well, for a lot of you (myself included), we’ve kinda been living our lives thinking, “Hey, I’m actually an offensively intelligent superhuman – the only reason I ain’t slaying left, right and centre at literally anything I put my mind to is because 90% of my noggin is dormant.” This untapped potential has swiftly just been pulled from underneath us, which really bloody sucks. Marc Ettlinger, a Research Neuroscientist at the Department of Veterans Affairs in the US elaborates on all the feels you may/may not be experiencing RN:

There is a sense people have that they aren’t reaching their full potential. Whether it is laziness or constantly facing limitations in what we can ‘do’ versus what we can ‘imagine’, we cling to this belief that there is some secret way to unleash the untapped capacity of our mind.

Pretty much everyone I know – from workaholic professors to rich entrepreneurs – feels like they don’t perform to their peak capacity. That should tell you that the notion of underusing our (brain) potential is primarily a matter of perception and not reality.

That being said, not all hope is entirely lost. The Scientific American article mentioned earlier concludes by saying, “Ultimately, it’s not that we use 10 percent of our brains, merely that we only understand about 10 percent of how it functions.” Just because we haven’t unlocked some magical way to completely up the ante of how our brain is hardwired doesn’t mean we won’t stumble across something in the future.

Perhaps someone will make some hectic drug (as is commonly depicted in popular culture), or perhaps we’ll stumble across an even creepier method of unlocking superhuman abilities.

One such example of this is Sony‘s upcoming release Flatliners (starring Ellen Page and Diego Luna) is about five medical students who are hoping to gain insight into the mystery of what lies beyond the confines of life, subsequently embarking on a daring and dangerous experiment. By stopping their hearts for short periods of time, each triggers a near-death experience. As the investigation becomes more and more perilous, they are forced to confront the sins of their pasts, as well as contend with the fkd consequences of trespassing to the other side.

This psychological thriller looks insanely chilling, and I reckon it’s because its premise isn’t outside the realms of comprehension. Have a look at the trailer and decide for yourself.

If you started reading this article to legit find out how you can become a smarter human only to be slapped across the face with a crappy revelation (causing you to now feel like you want your money back) then fret not – there are ways to narrow the gap between yourself and any superhuman-like being. The Best Brain Possible’s article ‘How To Use 100% Of Your Brain‘ sheds a bit of light on how to make your brain work that bit harder:

It’s true that increased connectivity between neurons is associated with greater ability. Studies have shown that musicians, who play stringed instruments, have larger areas of their brains dedicated to their active hands. Brain scans of London taxi drivers have revealed that the more years a driver has on the job correlates to a larger portion of their brain being recruited to store spatial information.

These findings demonstrate Hebb’s law: neurons that fire together wire together and neuroplasticity, the ability of the brain to change its physical structure and function based on repeated experience, behavior, and thoughts.

You have a use or lose it brain. Any unused connections go dormant to free up resources needed to strengthen those connections that are most often used. Neuroplasticity is competitive, and functioning areas of the brain not receiving any stimuli will be quickly taken over. In experiments where participants were blindfolded, their visual cortices started reorganizing themselves to process sound in just two days.

That’s right, folks. To become a smarter being, all you need to do is have new experiences. Change up the way you normally do things and you might start seeing a marked difference. The alternative would be waiting for a magical solution (that will probably never exist) to be uncovered as life passes you by, and ain’t nobody got time for that.