You may have noticed recent research which seems to demonstrate that ‘brain-training’ games do not lead to a more agile mind. They just make you more proficient at Super Donkey Derby, or whatever it is that you practice a lot. This has come as something of a gift to the Press who have been listing all sorts of things that are ‘proven’ to boost brain performance. I have noticed the following: eat fewer calories, maybe 30% less (!); eat more raisins, pasta, eggs, rosemary, basil, oregano, thyme, sage, cinnamon, turmeric (i.e. switch to a Mediterranean diet, eat curries, or chew a bouquet garni); drink more coffee or cocoa; read more, learn another language or play word games; make space to talk to your colleagues; get more exercise, especially running; work less, chill out; write stuff down; and don’t bother with fish oil capsules… Now you know.
I’m sitting at my desk looking out at a field. It’s March and the field looks cold and damp. It’s also empty. The cows are still inside, no doubt chewing on some of last Summer’s silage. As the weeks progress the grass will grow and the trees will come into leaf. And the things that I do at my desk will change. I will start to write reports on people who are aiming for better jobs, and sometimes try to work out why someone has not quite lived up to their potential; to plan assessments, think up thought-provoking development & leadership events, and design new psychometric tests and questionnaires. Tests! I suspect you have done some when applying for jobs. But what you may not know is how they’re composed. The answer is slowly and carefully, looking out of a window, watching the cows. It also requires large amounts of (good quality) chocolate.