As a Boomer, I am thrilled to learn that your brain ages extremely well. In Dr. Sandra Chapman’s book, Make Your Brain Smarter, we learn that a Boomer’s best brain years are still ahead of us! Like many other things the more we invest in our brains the bigger the potential payoff.
If you have not read my first post on this subject (Become a CEO – Cognitive Entrepreneur Officer) you should go read that first before continuing with this one. In Dr. Chapman’s book she provides a wealth of interesting research findings on how the Frontal Lobe of our brain functions as the brain’s central command system. If the connecting science and technical functioning is of interest to you, I would suggest you buy the book. There’s a link at the end of this post to do that.
In a blog post setting, I thought it might be best to focus on the applied action steps outlined in the book. In particular, the suggestions she makes that are specifically targeted to what Boomers can do to make our brains smarter. Some of you may feel that her suggestions are no news to you. However what is key is that we consciously put Dr. Chapman’s suggestions into practice. These are our own “Know Brainer” workout sessions.
Dr. Chapman suggests Boomers ask themselves three questions to determine if their brain power is where it could and should be:
- Am I able to weigh the risks and benefits of decisions?
- Am I able to come up with creative solutions to problems?
- Am I a flexible thinker?
The message she delivers over and over again in the book is that yes it is important that you remember things so you can function properly in your daily lives. However the best investment you can make in your brain health is not related to memory but to enhancing your three core cognitive areas that are already Boomer Strengths.
1. Strategic Attention.
In today’s post, I focus on actions she suggests we put into practice to optimize the first of these cognitive areas.
Brainpower of none: “When you hit a mental wall, quiet your mind to regain brain energy and find fresh solutions.” Stop frantically searching for answers or trying to solve issues at hand. The brain thinks more clearly when it is in a quiet state such as when you first wake up, are just going to sleep or during, before or after meditations or quiet times. Use silence to think deeply.
Brainpower of one: Dr. Chapman tells us that as she gained more knowledge and experience of how the brain works herself, she learned that one of the most toxic things you can do to rob your brain of energy and high mental performance is to multitask. Your brain really is not wired to do multiple things at once. Instead of multitasking, she advocates to perform tasks sequentially. Focus on one task at a time. You should task toggle as much as you can.
Brainpower of two: Dr. Chapman uses a T. Boone Pickens quote to make her point here. He said,” When you are hunting elephants, don’t get distracted chasing rabbits.” Every day identify and dedicate the majority of your time to your two most important “elephant” tasks. In other words, focus on just two pivotal goals you want to accomplish. When you need a break you can take care of some of the rabbits on your to do list. If you neglect your elephants, they may trample you. The same is not true for rabbits – they will keep coming back.
Over the next two weeks I will create follow-on posts identifying actions we can take to enhance the other two Boomer cognitive strengths – Integrated Reasoning and Innovation.
Here’s a link that makes it easy for you to buy the book at Amazon. Make Your Brain Smarter: Increase Your Brain’s Creativity, Energy, and Focus