5 Reasons to Think Hard About Cognition (and Your Success)

Whether it's brain training or finding ways to better decisions and problem solving, cognition is back in fashion for those seeking entrepreneurial or managerial success. Except that this time it's more than just a fad. No, research and practice are finally catching-up with our loftiest expectations.

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So here are 5 hefty reasons to let the cognitive wave carry you to far-flung shores:

1. What employers want is nearly all highly-cognitive. Recent surveys show that the best and most valued employees are strong on problem solving, decision making, planning and analysis....not least of which is the ability to pick-up new skills quickly. Moreover, employers are swift to point out how many workers are weak in these areas.

2. I've been very fortunate to have trained over 1200 entrepreneurs face-to-face. How many of these suffer from feelings of overwhelm, do you think? On a regular basis, I'd say more than 30%. If you're talking about feeling overwhelmed from time-to-time throughout a typical month, then it's closer to 100%. But there are standard techniques of business (greater strategic focus, more outsourcing), coupled with cognitive techniques (prioritization, meditation, periodic optimization of effort) to solve most of the pain of overwhelm.

3. A lot of overwhelm, feeling stressed and anxious comes down to cognitive load. And cognitive load is related to (limited) working memory. Can that be increased? Can you become - in effect - smarter? Yes you can. Try this.

4. And while we're on the subject of being smarter, it turns out that a 10-point increase in IQ has been related to huge pay increases. So, train your working memory, increase your IQ 10-20 points in 3-4 weeks, and watch the cash blow in!

5. And where do profit, out-performance and long-term ambitious goal-hitting come from? What causes success for businesses and organizations and individuals? One answer is: problem solving. Organizations are problem solvers for their customers and stakeholders. But how many of us are trained in advanced problem solving? Beyond specialist and narrowly-defined study in school and college, almost no-one. But that really could change. Great problem solving techniques are out there and waiting to be learnt and applied. That's one area of skill-acquisition in which huge value can be created. And soon.

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