NeuroPlasticity 101-Pt. 2 Growing Your Behavior

The Beginning of  A New Idea

I’m not sure how many of my readers know that one of my first fascinations was the production of good food.  I remember my father, sitting in front of a box of Entenmann’s chocolate fudge cake, helping himself to another piece………complaining……… he couldn’t believe how bad it is.

Somewhere I had been presented with the story that “homemade” was better than “store bought,” and took it to heart.  Any of you who have suffered through the renditions of an unenthusiastic, or inept cook could offer a valid argument.  Luckily, many might say, at nine years of age, I never considered that side of the coin, and I began my self-guided apprenticeship in the culinary arts, which led to my first professional career..

Rummaging through an overstuffed kitchen drawer, I released a compendium of soft-covered cookbooks, with recipes, and accompanying photos in black and white.  After all, it was 1960, and those cookbooks were the free offerings of some of the ingredients manufacturer’s designed to get the housewife of the ’50’s to use their products in her day-to-day food preparations.

Some were a little food stained, a page missing here or there, but they became the early models of what would become a medium of expression that still intrigues me today.

So what has that to do with neuroplasticity?

As I embarked on that journey, it seems I made some conscious and unconscious decisions. The first was that I would focus my attention on desserts; pies, cookies, cakes, then breads when I discovered the magic of yeast.  Somewhere I had developed a sense of the ideal version of whatever I was making, and I would aim for it; taste, texture, appearance, structure. Honestly, I have no idea where that aesthetic came from……I was nine years old, all I knew was what seemed right to me…

Checking The Feedback

I would ask the opinion of my family, and anyone else who I allowed to taste my wares. Sometimes responding to their feedback, sometimes not.   I was sure, however, that repetition would be the key to perfecting the techniques, and managing the variables that I needed to pay attention to.  There were many bombs, failures, and half-assed executions, but hey I was a kid…it was a hobby…………I was playing with components of intricate chemical reactions, involving “exotic” ingredients.  I was learning that a recipe was a suggestion of, a description of, an experience someone else had, sometime in the past, somewhere else, other than my kitchen, with ingredients that may or may not be exactly the same as mine. Sometimes, I would get rave reviews…………….which I would ignore, toss the remains in the garbage, and go back the kitchen knowing that the next iteration would be significantly better, or I would be driven to make an exact duplicate of the one I deemed to be perfect.

If I could duplicate it every time, I had conquered it.  If I could I could duplicate it perfectly, and faster, I controlled it. If I could duplicate it perfectly, faster, and have all the bowls and utensils cleaned and put away, before the baked item came out of the oven, I had truly mastered it.

If they had a machine to measure what was going on in my brain, in my nervous system, you could’ve seen the changes over time taking place in my neurology.  The neuromuscular connections needed to roll out a paper thin wrapper for an apple strudel, the tactile requirements to determine when the sugar and the butter and attained the right consistency to create the perfect structure for the cake, taking into consideration, the temperature of the ingredients, and amazingly the relative humidity, even the altitude of the kitchen (that’s another story.)The dexterity required to elegantly decorate a celebratory cake with rosettes, and piping.

My brain was making connection after connection, repetition after repetition, day after day. The more I focused on “doing better,” and accepting it was an ongoing process, the more I gave my plastic brain the opportunity to grow in the direction I intended. Looking back as a kid, it seems effortless.

It was only decades later, deeply involved in the work I do now….. facilitating individuals who want to discover and connect with their
fascinations, and mentoring them to master effectiveness through the ability to sustain a positive attitude in the direction of their
choice……….fostering the success and satisfaction that eludes many people for their entire life, yet is endlessly available in every moment…….I realized it began with the quest for mastery in my mother’s kitchen in 1960……..I understood what had happened, and what continues to happen……LEARNING……….allowing my plastic brain to do what it does, make new connections and rewire itself to facilitate me wherever I choose to put my attention.

As I was taught by my mentor, Dr. Joseph Riggio, “where you put your attention, that’s where you get the results.”

Here’s the catch.  Who chooses on what, and where you put your attention? You or someone else???????

I’ll begin the next installment answering that.

Mark Schwimmer

PS-I’ll be in New York City on September 15th doing Power Range-Repatterning Balance in  Action, where in a small  group, you will learn your Somatic Signature…..the skeleton key to connecting with your idiosyncratic direction to satisfaction.  I teach this to every one of my private clients before any thing else. And you will be given the opportunity to learn how to make decisions from this new state of awareness.  It’s steal at the 2 For The Price of 1.

ONLY $197 and bring a friend for free.  Details here

PPS-For those who want to go deeper into the neuroplasticity realm….I am offering a weekend certification program in “the new hypnotism”..…the most powerful model I’ve come across for organizing and achieving desired outcomes.  Hypnotism has come a long way in the last two decades….with the advent of MRI and other measuring devices..scientists are now proving what hypnotists have known for hundreds of years. I put together the latest technologies around how the mind works, and how elite performers achieve greatness, and you come away with a powerful model for helping yourself and helping others, live exquisitely. Four weekends…Sat-Sun Sept. 29 and 30, Oct. 13-14, 27-28, and  Nov.10-11

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Leave A Reply (2 comments so far)


  1. Kc
    5 years ago

    : ) Many can say you were skilled so much in cooking due to being ..creatively inclined or you had many collective experiences stored in your subconscious from past lives which made cooking something very easy and special to you. For instance, I am particularly great in certain kinds of cooking….or even some people may only have a liking in particular foods…or “connection” (to food and another culture) since they were very young. We all have these instances to an extent with various subject areas.

    And indeed, there is more research going toward the subject of neuro plasticity…Scientists dont have much recent studies that have shown records of people above age 25….but its strongly suggested that we do have plasticity beyond 25…(even though its at a slower rate..also in different areas in the brain) (Source: New York Times, 2011 and Discovering Bio psychology)…

    With the help of hypnosis and disciplinary training ..with knowing what you want along with a certain drive for it…it is possible to lean toward increasing plasticity in my opinion…like a second chance…


    • Mark
      5 years ago

      Kc, I’m not inclined to work from the model that I am “creatively inclined or you had many collective experiences stored in your subconscious from past lives which made cooking something very easy and special to you.”

      Not because I think it is not real, but because, to act as if it were true, would be limiting for me. I would have to organize myself around the premise that my past lives, or recent past is informing my present. Again, I don’t do that not because I don’t think it’s possible, but because I have found I am exponentially more effective when I let desired future outcomes (what I want) organize my behavior in the present.

      There is more empirical evidence that I can direct my behavior now to create an outcome in the future. Not so much, other than anecdotal evidence, that my past lives actually have any impact on my present or the future I am building. Even if they did, I prefer Occam’s Razor, and choose to keep it very simple, just because it works for me. So my choice is the former. But who knows…I could be wrong.

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