The #1 thing our brains ask of us

In 2015, the engineer and “Smarter Every Day” founder Destin Sandlin discovered something surprising: he could no longer ride a bike. 

He’d grown up bicycling; he hadn’t had any injuries. Physically, he was capable of it. He just couldn’t ride it…because he’d accidentally “unlearned” how.

Destin had spent the year learning to ride something he called a “backwards bicycle” – a bike that had been re-engineered so that when you turn the handlebars to the right, the bike goes left. When he first started, he could ride his normal bike fine, and this bike was impossible. Physically, it’s not any more difficult than riding a regular bike.

Mentally, though? That’s a whole different matter. Basically, to ride the backwards bike, your brain has to rewire itself to understand that the handlebars work in the opposite way that you expect. Everyone who has tried it, many of whom are confidence that they can...

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