Cognitive

Cognitive Fitness

The Idea in Brief

What do Alan Greenspan, Warren Buffett, and Sumner Redstone have in common? They’re still at the peak of their intellectual powers despite their advanced ages, defying the widespread belief that our mental capacity inevitably deteriorates as we get older.

Leaders who are as sharp at 60 as they were at 25 constantly hone their cognitive fitness: their ability to reason, remember, learn, plan, and adapt. According to Gilkey and Kilts, such executives practice specific techniques to stimulate development of new brain cells and neural networks: They use indirect experiences such as observation or simulations to form new neural pathways, regularly engage in play, search for patterns in seemingly unrelated fields of endeavor, and seek novel experiences.

But the best leaders do more than just enhance their own cognitive fitness. They also promote “brain-positive” cultures in their organizations by encouraging colleagues and employees to apply these four

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