Yes, look you and Stephen Hawking in the same sentence. It was said that we only used 10% of our brain capacity.  But this has turned out to be a myth. Now that we can measure more effectively… ‘Brain scans, such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or positron emission tomography (PET) show that humans regularly use all of the brain. Some parts may be more active at any given time or during a particular activity. Some parts of the brain may be less critical than others for vital functions, such as breathing, speaking, understanding or walking. But no part of the brain is known to be completely unused or unnecessary.source

It appears then, that it is not how many brain cells we use, but rather how well we use them. There have been, through time, unusual people with remarkable brain capacities. For most of us we recognise Stephen Hawking is the first example we think of .  By way of giving some explanation his physics tutor, Robert Berman, said in ‘The New York Times Magazine’ .

‘It was only necessary for him to know that something could be done, and he could do it without looking to see how other people did it. He didn’t have very many books, and he didn’t take notes. Of course, his mind was completely different from all of his contemporaries’. source

So the answer is yes, you and Stephen Hawing have similar physical brains. That might be where it ends. Never mind what he studies, for most of us, just knowing where our keys are, getting the bills paid on time, collecting the kids on time etc is enough of a challenge.

Effective Use

Before we even get to talking about effective brain use lets issue a community service message: don’t drink, or don’t drink to excess, quit smoking anything, in other words do not do anything that kills of brain cells. Are they killed? There is very little regeneration of neurons, so just in case they are gone when they are gone, cut down the risks.

We can help ourselves, and help our children if we know which side of the brain is dominant. A balance is desirable but mostly we lean one way or another. School curriculums generally cause boys to be stronger one way and girls the other. There are exceptions of course, and sadly this can mean struggles. However if we can see a pattern to the struggles we might find it easier to see a way through them.

here’s a semi serious test that might give you some clues. Do some research, read some books, see what you can learn, stretch your 10% to the max