Cognitive Fitness

In their classic HBR article, “Cognitive Fitness,” Roderick Gilkey and Clint Kilts share their thoughts about how to remain mentally healthy, especially now when the business world is more volatile, more uncertain, more complex, and more ambiguous than ever before.

“Until recently, there seemed to be no guidelines for active efforts you could make to stay mentally healthy. There were no brain exercises — no mental push-ups — you could do to stave off the loss of memory and analytic acuity that comes as you grow older. In the worse case scenario. you could end up with Alzheimer’s disease, for which there are no proven treatments.”

So, how to become cognitively fit?

Gilkey and Kilts recommend and thoroughly explain a four-step process.

1. Understand How Experience Makes the Brain Grow
2. Work Hard at Play
3. Search for Patterns
4. Seek Novelty and Innovation

“Cognitive fitness can affect every part of your life. On an organiozational level, it may be the ultimate lever for sustainable competitive advantage. Your critical task as a leader is to promote the highest levels of organizational performance by creating environments where people can achieved their brain’s full potential.”

* * *

Here is a direct link to the complete article.

I also highly recommend Marty Neumeier’s masterpiece, Metaskills: Five Talents for the Robotic Age.

Roderick Gilkey is a professor  at the Emory School of Medicine and Goizueta Business School. Clint Kilts is the Dr. Paul Janssen Professor in the department of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Emory School of Medicine.


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