Cognitive Flexibility - 10 Skills To Future Proof Yourself
In this final post on 10 Skills You Need To Future Proof Yourself, we’re focusing on ‘Cognitive Flexibility’.
What is ‘cognitive flexibility’?
The easiest way to think of ‘cognitive flexibility’ is having good mental agility.
This is the ability to easily switch between different tasks; to be fluid in moving from one to the other.
It is not to be confused with ‘multi-tasking’ which is a myth as the brain is not capable of carrying out multiple tasks simultaneously.
It’s an important skill to develop as the changing world of work means you are often asked to carry out a broader set of tasks than your job description implies. This obviously places an importance on your ability to switch between activities.
Someone with strong cognitive flexibility will be able to solve problems more creatively, acquire new skills more quickly and not feel overwhelmed when presented with new challenges.
Why is it important?
It opens up your employment opportunities by making you employable across a broader set of skills.
Mental agility allows you to effectively handle new and unexpected scenarios, saving you time, money and stress.
It increases your creative problem solving abilities. The more problems you solve the better your life will be.
How do I get better at it?
Here are 7 ways to improve your ability to be ‘cognitively flexible’:
1) Mindfulness meditation. This is proven to increase the ability of the brain to switch tasks.
2) Expose yourself to new experiences. Travel is one of the best ways to do this.
3) Switch up your everyday routine. Take a different route to work. Cook a new meal from scratch one night.
4) Practice your creative thinking.
5) Mix with diverse groups of people. They will inspire new ways of thinking.
6) Get good quality, regular sleep. This helps to regulate your emotions, making you calm under pressure.
7) Take up a new hobby or learn a new skill. This promotes new neural pathways in the brain.
5 books to read
The following books will help you with your ‘cognitive flexibility’:
1. Who Moved My Cheese: An Amazing Way to Deal with Change in Your Work and in Your Life by Spencer Johnson
3. Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain by John J. Ratey
4. Elastic: Flexible Thinking in a Constantly Changing World by Leonard Mlodinow
5. The Art of Thinking Clearly: Better Thinking, Better Decisions by Rolf Dobelli