Saturday, October 7, 2017

Are you growing, or just growing older?

If you want to grow, you can.

Shhh! Don’t tell anyone, but it’s really not that hard. BUT… it doesn’t happen by accident.

Every study out there reveals the incredible benefits of keeping your brain active and growing (but did I mention that it doesn’t happen by accident?)

Every leader must grow… or risk becoming a former leader. CLICK TO TWEET

What would you pay to obtain better reasoning abilities, remember things more often, learn things easier, make better decisions, deal with stress more easily, and become more flexible when adapting to change? Seriously, what would you pay? The real price: free!

A Harvard Business Review article about neuroscience (exercising the brain) reveals some incredible long-term benefits. Here’s where it gets good: some specific “exercises” can help our mental health (and most of them are easier than jumping on an elliptical machine).

The brain has neural networks and cognitive abilities that can be strengthened from use or weakened from lack of use. To sum it up in only two words: STAY ENGAGED. Here are some proven strategies for exercising the brain:

First, disengage from work and actually play. Play affects part of the brain that nourishes “our highest level of cognitive functions.” When this area of the brain is engaged, it helps us to “reason, understand, remember, and develop creative capacities.” No wonder entertaining the kids is so much fun (at least for a short period of time!).

Second, consider that you might be wrong, and look at contrary opinions. (“Whoa, Rob… let’s not get carried away!”) It ends up that the mental activity and processing power of considering new opinions is good for you (yeah, and so is spinach, but I don’t eat that either!). Especially if you’re a Type A personality, take a chance and be more open to others’ thoughts… your kids will be proud of you!

And finally, humor, mentoring, and new technologies are good for your brain as well! Why mentoring? The research shows that spending time with a young person exposes you to new information and ideas. New technology? Don’t worry—there’s an app for that!

The Bottom Line: Growing leaders tend to have “more complex neural networks” and they deal better with crisis. Wow—don’t you want to be like that? I do.

Will you commit to one of these opportunities for growth? Leave your comments below.


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