Updated: Sep 4, 2020
I've often heard that we use only 10% of our brain. The myth has practically achieved trope status in fiction (Example: the movie Lucy).
It's an interesting thought and a nice clean number: 10%
Except it isn't true. We use 100% of our brain.
Unfortunately, we cannot explain away our irresponsible thoughts or behavior because our minds are somehow only operating at ten percent. We cannot justifiably say, "I would have done better had I been able to use more of my brain." Any shortcomings of ours are ours to own, and not to be blamed on some fabled percentage.
But, it is true that we use only about 10% of our brain at any given moment. We use different parts of our brain at different times according to out mental needs.
Your brain works just fine. In fact, if you're trying to loose weight, you'll be happy to know your brain consumes about 20% of your daily intake of calories. You may also be delighted to know that the average human brain consists of nearly 60% fat. The brain is the fattiest organ in the body.
Another donut, please!
What would happen to us if we actually used 100% of our brain all the time?
The following calculations show that if we did, our body temperature would rise by over 47 degrees Fahrenheit. This would kill us.
Note the calculation highlighted in yellow, stating that the average adult (with an average brain) radiates about as much heat as a 100 Watt incandescent light bulb. This means that 15 adults in a room put as much heat into a room as a 1,500-Watt electric heater. Open a window!
Furthermore, 100 Watts over a 24 hour period turns out to be just over 2000 Calories--a number eerily close to the 2,000 (female) 2,500 (male) recommended daily allowance of Calories.
What is the tidy conclusion to all of this?
Instead of blaming our physiology, let's take responsibility for our thoughts and actions and commit to owning up to better and wiser choices.
And don't forget the donuts.