Without your brain, you wouldn’t be you and you couldn’t do anything at all. Because you do have a brain, you’re capable of all kinds of stuff, like reading internet drivel and building sandcastles. Be happy about the things your brain can do. It’s actually quite remarkable. But most people spend more time being not-happy than they do being happy, at least about the performance of their own brains. Why’s that? Because they aren’t able to achieve the goals they want to. Things fall through the cracks, get put off. In many ways, the self-control part of the brain feels like a fussy 4-year-old, unpredictable and difficult to control. If that’s the one making the decisions, how can we get anything done?
Prudential, in their new ad campaign, has a lot of reasons why it’s tough to achieve goals with the brains that we
have. You probably have a long list of things you’d like to get done (like investigate life insurance options). But you procrastinate, or you choose another activity instead, or you use money for retirement savings on some other purpose, or any number of other problems. Prudential demonstrates ways in which these faulty decisions are actually triggered by fundamental processes in the brain itself.
Let’s take procrastination, for example, something all of us are guilty of at one time or another. Without getting too technical, there is one part of the brain which manages decisions, but also works to keep the impulsive part of the brain under control. As the day wears on, the first brain region loses energy and can’t manage impulsiveness as well anymore. So we wear out and manage our time more poorly as the day goes on. Understanding this enables you to work around the problem (like taking a break and starting fresh in a few minutes). Prudential has all kinds of handy Life Pro Tips for brain function, and you can check out all of them in their interesting video series.