Unless you are a neurologist or psychologist, you have probably never heard of myelin.  You might even be thinking that I misspelled the title of this article.  I didn’t.

Before we discover what myelin is, please know that myelin is the key to understanding how skills are developed.  If you want to be better, faster, smarter, or stronger – you will need to know how to build myelin.

Side Note: All of us that want to improve daily should attempt to be amateur neurologists and psychologists.

So what’s myelin?  It is created by chains of nerve fibers carrying a tiny electrical impulse – like a signal traveling through a circuit. Its primary function is to wrap nerve fibers similar to how rubber insulation wraps a copper wire, making the signal stronger and faster by preventing the electrical impulses from leaking out.

When we fire our circuits the correct way (perfect practice), our myelin responds by wrapping layers of insulation around that neural circuit.  Each new layer adds more skill and enhanced speed. Thus, the thicker the myelin becomes, the faster and more accurate our movements and thoughts become.

So what steps can we take to build myelin?  Here are four key action items to apply.

  1. Encourage Risk – more myelin requires more discomfort. Meaning we must get out of our comfort zones to grow our nerve-wrapping.
  2. Fail Forward – You either win or you learn. Sometimes the best learning comes from learning what not to do.  Give yourself a chance to fail, knowing that the failures will help increase your winning percentage in the long-term.
  3. Promote Learning – to enhance your brain, you must remind yourself to think creatively, analyze new content, synthesize new material, or execute a new task. Block time to do  this every single day.
  4. Celebrate Struggle – the growth is in the sweat. Enjoy the pain and trust the growth process knowing that the end result will be more insulation, and ultimately better results.

You want to be better, stronger, and faster?  Start with these four mission critical execution items and watch the demand for your time and expertise expand along with your nerve insulation layer.



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