No practice, just mental prep using advanced neuroscience: Here’s how Dr Cobus Oosthuizen rode Destin Sandlin from Smarter Every Day’s famous backwards brain bike with zero practice
Heard of the backwards brain bike? Millions of people around the world have watched the video, tried it and failed. But Dr Cobus Oosthuizen did the seemingly impossible: he rode it first-time with no practice whatsoever.
“I don’t make definitive statements that often, but I’m telling you right now you cannot ride this bicycle,” says Destin Sandlin of Smarter Every Day in the video about his now-famous backwards brain bike back in April 2015. And that’s been backed up by years of documented evidence and numerous public appearances around the world.
WATCH: THE BACKWARDS BRAIN BIKE
It took Destin, an engineer something of a thought leader himself, 8 months to learn to ride the backwards brain bike. And, after putting the challenge to others, numerous people around the world showed that it took months, weeks – in most cases up to a year – of practice to learn to ride it.
And the media concurred. Popular Mechanics wrote about it. Io9 by Gizmodo. National Geographic. Psychology Today. Mental Floss. Treehugger. There’s even a section dedicated on it at TEDed. And they all say it’s impossible to ride without a lot of practice.
Even Mythbusters took on the challenge and called the myth “confirmed”.
WATCH: MYTHBUSTERS SAY IT’S IMPOSSIBLE TOO
Not so, says Dr Cobus Oosthiuzen (PhD in Mentoring and Human Behaviour), neuroscience and NLP expert and founder of LifeXchange Solutions. He says everyone has missed a vital insight into how the brain works.
And he has not only ridden the backwards brain bike, he did it first-time. With no practice at all. And he’s showing you how in five videos, explaining his thoughts and mental preparation and, finally, his attempt.
WATCH: VIDEO 1: DR COBUS SAYS HE CAN RIDE THE BACKWARDS BRAIN BIKE
MONDAY 2 SEPTEMBER 2019
In Video 1:
- Dr Cobus Oosthuizen explains his approach in tackling the challenge
- He refers to Destin Sandlin’s brain bike video and Smarter Every Day
- He also highlights the brian bike myth “confirmed” on Mythbusters’ video
WATCH: VIDEO 2: HOW BACKWARDS BRAIN BIKE BECAME THE CYCLOPS
TUESDAY 3 SEPTEMBER 2019
In Video 2:
- Dr Cobus Oosthuizen explains why he renames the bike the Cyclops
- He reprogrammes his brain to form a NEW neural pathway instead
- He does 2 minutes of mental rewiring live – you have to see it!
- He encounters a surprising and fascinating problem when visualising his first attempt.
WATCH VIDEO 3: THE BEST TIME TO REWIRE YOUR BRAIN
WEDNESDAY 4 SEPTEMBER 2019
In Video 3:
- Dr Cobus Oosthuizen is up before dawn to show us his ideal mental programming phases
- He explains exactly what he’s doing when he does his mental rewiring
- And he’s doing it again late at night – some NB clues here to the best times for brain rewiring.
WATCH VID 4: THE BIG ATTEMPT
THURSDAY 5 SEPTEMBER 2019
In this video:
- Dr Cobus Oosthuizen does the “impossible” – watch him get on the backwards brain bike and ride it, first-time, with no practice.
- He explains how he mentally prepared himself, how neural pathways and programming works
- And he invites you to connect with him and learn to do it yourself: at work, with your team, at home, in your personal challenges – wherever, this stuff works!
NEUROSCIENCE INSIGHTS: TRUTH BEHIND THE BACKWARDS BRAIN BICYCLE
Important: Dr Cobus is not saying that anyone is wrong. The neural pathways associated with riding a normal bike is extremely complicated. And that definitely makes riding the backwards brain bicycle incredibly difficult.
“Yes it will take you a long time to learn to do it if you just jump on start trying,” says Dr Cobus. “You have to rely on neuroplasticity to help you change the existing neural pathway of knowing how to ride a bike. But THAT is where I believe everyone missed a vital insight into how the brain works.
“Your brain is incredibly powerful. And, if you just get on the bike and try, your most powerful resource will be working against you. My take on it is, don’t get on the bike until you have your brain on your side.”
WATCH VID 5: THE DEBRIEF: THIS IS HOW HE DID IT
WHO IS DR COBUS OOSTHUIZEN?
A PhD in Mentoring and Human Behaviour, Dr Cobus Oosthuizen is the founder of LifeXchange, a company in Cape Town, South Africa that specialises in neuroscience applied to personal development and business.
There are two sides to LifeXchange: 1) the non-profit entity helps individuals reach personal goals, while simultaneously helping the SA government and organisation rehabilitate high-risk members of society (gangsters, homeless, prisoners etc.), while the commercial side 2) LifeXchange Solutions uses neuroscience to help businesses manage complex change and growth through organisational development – check out the Goede Hoop Citrus Strengths Workshop and the Feedem Neuro Workshop.
For over 13 years, Dr Cobus has been researching, studying and applying neuro-linguistic programming and neuroscience to rehabilitate gangsters from Cape Town’s notorious Cape Flats – and around the country. It’s been hugely successful. And he and his team apply the same insights to help businesses achieve real growth.
But in the process of learning how the mind works to create real change, Dr Cobus picked up a remarkable skill: He’s phenomenally adept at understanding and rewiring the human brain. That’s what he teaches. And that’s what he used to conquer the backwards brian bicycle – to prove your brain is way more powerful than you give it credit for.
HOW DR COBUS’ CYCLOPS CHALLENGE WORKED
Dr Cobus’ attempt at the backwards brain bicycle, which he calls “the cyclops challenge” (see why in the videos) started in September 2019, the day he received the bike:
- He committed to attempting to ride the bike with no practice or training
- For three days, he just did a total around 30 minutes’ mental preparation
- He made a video every day, every step of the way to show it works
- And then he got on it and rode it right, first-time
WATCH: MYTH BUSTED: YOU CAN RIDE THE BACKWARDS BIKE FIRST-TIME
And he shared insights into how to do the same along the way. It’s five videos with all his insights and tips. Plus: His final attempt where we’ll see if this stuff works or not. Watch the full Cyclops Challenge playlist on the LifeXchange YouTube Channel.
Why? Because if Dr Cobus can do this, then surely he can help any individual or organisation achieve incredible new goals. Stop smoking, get fit, lose weight, be a better parent? Check out the NPO LifeXchange Community.
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This is not the first time Dr Cobus has done things that seem completely impossible. He’s completed one of the toughest desert races in the world with basically no physical training. Check out the full story: proof you can rewire your brain. Or, revisit the podcast series: Energise Your Life.
In Cape Town? You can see Dr Cobus live in October at LifeXchange’s annual HR Workshop.
And discover more refined insights specifically for growing your business with LifeXchange’s unique Human Development Cycle.
Also see how Erik Erikson’s Theory applies to your business, discover the weird science behind employee motivation and do this simple test with a colleague to understand the phenomenon of mental pushback.
Or maybe you want to know how to build a resilient team that’ll rally behind you in a crisis? See how by understanding the insights of the Circle of Courage.