The Crucial Stages of Human Development: Brain, Mind, and Personality

This article is based on an interview featuring Dr. Venkatesh Thuppil, an emeritus professor at St. John’s Medical College in Bangalore. He currently holds the positions of CEO and Director at the Foundation for Quality India (FQI) and Director at India’s National Referral Centre for Lead Projects (NRCLPI). Dr. Thuppil is also the National Chairman of the Indian Society for Lead Awareness and Research (www.inslar.org). Renowned as the Lead Man of India, he previously directed the George Foundation’s Lead Free Project, a pivotal effort that led to the introduction of unleaded petrol in India in March 2000. Additionally, he played a crucial role as National Chairman in establishing Gazette notifications to limit lead content in paints.

Every child must undergo the initial three stages of human development correctly. The primary phase of human development is known as “Buddhi Vikas” or intelligence development. This stage is crucial because it’s where the brain begins its development, starting shortly after conception in the mother’s womb. During these initial years, the brain’s foundation is laid, and it’s influenced significantly by the “pancha bhutas” or five elements. To support proper brain development, pregnant women should ensure they receive good nutrition. Therefore, the first stage of human development revolves around brain development, which continues during the first four to five years of a child’s life. Providing the right support during this critical period is essential.

Following brain development, the next stage is “Mano Vikas,” or the development of the mind. Interestingly, modern medicine is still uncertain about the precise location of the mind within the brain. Some children claim that if they “make up their minds,” they can achieve remarkable feats like securing the first rank or climbing Mount Everest. However, understanding the mind remains challenging yet accessible.

To elaborate, think of the brain as an uncultivated land where anything can grow, be it weeds or valuable crops. Similarly, our brains can flourish or deteriorate based on the thoughts and inputs we receive. Parents and grandparents play a pivotal role in this regard, providing informal education through stories, scriptures, and legends, which every child enjoys.

Unfortunately, schools often neglect teaching these foundational aspects of development, particularly the power of storytelling. These early stages of development significantly influence the quality of the brain and mind, which begins around the age of 10 or 12.

Subsequently, there’s “Vektra Vikas,” or personality development. Personality isn’t determined by physical attributes like height, weight, or skin color but by factors such as clothing, communication, wisdom, humility, and accomplishments.

It’s essential to question whether homes and schools offer children the freedom to express themselves through their clothing and speech, while also imparting knowledge about their ancestry and values. This nurturing environment shapes their personality, a process that continues until the age of 18 or 19.

During youth, interests often gravitate toward sports, while adulthood brings responsibilities like family, work, and learning. However, it’s crucial to balance these commitments and also foster introspection. As we grow older, we should evaluate our lives, taking stock of the good and bad experiences, leading to self-realization.

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Structured formal education sometimes overlooks this essential aspect of self-exploration and identity development, as its primary focus is on conformity. Instead, we should nurture each individual’s potential, allowing them to shine like a unique gold mine rather than producing copies.

In conclusion, life comprises six activities, and while we have no control over the first and last activities—birth and death—we do possess control over the ones in between. The first activity is play, followed by learning, then working and earning. These stages require various levels of control, ranging from supervision to self-discipline and conscience.

In my current phase at the age of 73, I cannot engage in the first two activities, but I can still contribute by returning what I’ve learned and earned to society. As I can’t take anything with me in the end, the final return should be the legacy we leave behind. Education should be more about guidance and direction rather than punishment, ensuring that individuals of all ages can learn from their mistakes and grow.

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About the Author

Santosh Avvannavar

Santosh Avvannavar Alumnus of NITK, Surathkal & IISc, Bengaluru CEO QtSTEAM I Mentor QtPi Robotics I RJ I Columnist Soft skills Trainer, Author, Counsellor & Consultant Best Seller of 'She: Ekla Cholo Re' TEDx Organiser & 11 time read more...

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