Learning &

Learning is one of the greatest skills of the brain. We are learning since we have been a baby. Thinking of learning, many of us thinking of the time at school and learning vocabulary or dates. But we learn a lot more than just languages and a few special skills. We learn rules of life, attitudes, principles and much more that unconsciously determines our life. We often adopt the behavior and mindset of our caregivers and the groups in which we feel comfortable. And we are not aware of many of these ways of thinking. But they make up a large part of our personality.

Learning is like going against the tide. If you stop it, you are moving backwards


Most people are willing to learn,
but very few are willing to be taught.

Winston Churchill

Learning increases flexibility

The brain is flexible and learns to adapt to all situations and create arrangements with it. This is the way how we keep on developing. But development isn’t just happening. We have to do something for it.

As a child you may have played with building blocks a lot. In doing so, the one or the other has often fallen out of your hand. You noticed that the blocks always fall down, never up. Whoops, you’ve already learned a physical rule and saved it in your brain. Without being aware of it. We have also learned to walk, speak, negotiate, assertiveness or resilience.


Experience is not what happens to you. Experience is what you make out of what happens to you.

Aldous Huxley

What happens in your head
when it is learning?

What actually happens during learning?  Today it is assumed that the information lies in the networks of nerve cells .  New contact points, so-called synapses, are constantly being formed between the 100 billion nerve cells when we learn something. 

In order to be able to learn and for new networks and synapses to form, you need dopamine. It is the molecular helper of learning. And the side effect is, dopamine (and with it the learning process) makes us happy. 

The brain becomes what we use it for. If we use it for problem solving, it becomes a problem solver.  If we are creative, it develops creativity. And if we nag all the time, it develops networks of pessimism. If we want to develop further, then it is up to us to set the issues correctly.

What managers need to learn

Whenever we should tell what we have learned in our life, most people will think of walking, talking and learning many things in school. These can be languages, math rules or scientific facts. Mostly explicit knowledge that we can access at any time.

Most of what we have learned, however, is not available consciously. It is called implicit knowledge, to which we have no direct access in our brain. This knowledge includes rules of life, attitudes or beliefs that determine our being. But also character traits that we are not aware of. How do we react to pressure or to honesty?  It is estimated that more than 90% of our lives are controlled by our subconscious. For their personal development, managers should get to know their subconscious better and learn how it operates. So that we can act more consciously and make wiser decisions. But above all, being able to act with full self-awareness. That is one of the most important tasks of neuroleadership.

How we learn

In our past we have learned many things because our surroundings have dealed with certain situations, showed a behaviour and we adopted it. We took over many attitudes from our parents, friends or teachers.

Today, however, we can consciously choose what we want to learn and how. We can learn to think the thoughts we want and feel the way we want. We just have to use the brain accordingly and direct its development. New networks form when we face challenges. Only when we encounter new situations do we have the opportunity to learn something new. And we can bring ourselves into these situations. So that our brain evolves in the direction we want it to move.

"Our brain becomes what we use it for."

Gerald Hüther