How much attention do you give your brain? What benefits does it have in your life to make sure your brain functions optimally? What is the effect of brain optimization? In this article everything about the shift of focus on the body to the brain.
From farmer to knowledge worker
My grandfather was smith. His father, my great grandfather, whom I have never known, was a farmer. My grandmother was housewife. My father is an engineer in the chemical industry and my mother works at home care for the elderly and the disabled. And I? I'm a knowledge worker, just like my girlfriend.
This change in a few generations is exemplary of a social trend. Farmers became the largest occupational group in the agricultural revolution. Most people worked on the land with crops and livestock. A lot of labor and physical work.
Through the Industrial Revolution, factory workers became the largest portion of the workforce. The work was done in factories instead of on the fields. What did not change were the long workdays and physical stress on the body.
Progress of the economy
With the progress of the economy, working conditions improved. Child labor was abolished in most countries and rules were set as to how long you should work and what the employer should take care of. The government has introduced all kinds of laws and regulations to protect workers' health.
The revolution we are currently in is the digital revolution. The percentage of farmers and workers of the working population is getting smaller. A growing part of the population will work as a knowledge worker. Think of consultants, researchers, lawyers, scientists and marketing experts.
In today's world of work, especially in professions formed in the digital revolution, your physical condition makes less of a difference. If you had a strong and fit body as a farmer, you could get more done one day. To have an advantage in present society your cognitive ability is essential.
Attention to the body
If my grandfather would travel to this time, he would be astonished. "What are these types of buildings, called so-called gyms?" In the past, there was no time to form your body as a hobby. There was no time for fitness or bodybuilding.
Nowadays, it is very important for some people. For me it is a form of meditation. After a day of computer work, I do not have to think so much during my workout. What about you?
Nowadays your cognitive abilities are distinctive in the workforce; your intelligence, your memory, your creativity and your speed of thinking. Of course, there are various forms of intelligence. With a high IQ you can achieve a lot, but you also need to convince others. For this reason, a high Emotional Quotation (EQ) is also important. It is not solely IQ that matters.
Down below, I write about 4 areas in your life in which attention to your cognitive abilities (attention to how your brain functions) can bring you benefits. In your work, in your sports performance, in your personal life and for your health.
The first thing you can think of is your work. Are you a knowledge worker? Where the physically strong farmer could do more on his farms in one day, a cognitive strong knowledge worker could do more in his or her work. Whether you are a lawyer, marketer, accountant, controller or HR specialist.
2. Sports performance
But not only in your work you get more done. This also applies to your sporting performance. Of course, depending on the sport you practice, there is a lesser or greater share for your physical ability. But your cognition, and especially your focus and concentration, contribute significantly to your performance.
Running and CrossFit
I myself experience this in the various sports I have practiced or practiced. In running or cycling matches you have to strategically think about your own fitness and reserves, but you should also 'read' your opponents. In CrossFit workouts I have to perform the various exercises technically well (even when I get tired) to get a good score. In volleyball matches it sometimes came down to a fraction of a second in which I had to decide how to hit a smash along the opponent's block.
Recently, I also noticed it during an Olympic Weight Loss training. If I had a working day with a lot of distraction, then I had less focus during the training. The more focus in a training, the more kilo's I can 'lift'. This sport is not about brutal power, but about explosiveness. To be explosive, your brain must be able to control your muscles properly. You need to focus on that.
In short, sports and exercise also requires a lot of your brain.
3. Personal life
In addition to your work and your sporting performance, you can benefit from your brain in your personal life. For example, if you regularly play (board) games like Risk of Poker or if you like to read literature.
If you read with attention, you can really 'soak up' the impressions and the message that the writer wants to convey. You are better able to tell others what you have read and you are better able to make connections with your own experiences or with other books you have read.
An important factor, perhaps the most important, is your health. More and more diseases and conditions are so-called brain diseases. Think for example of Parkinson's disease, ADHD and Alzheimer's disease.
My grandmother, the woman of the smith I wrote about, died of Alzheimer's disease. Alzheimer's is a nasty disease in which you lose parts of your memory. Especially for the family and friends, this is a tragic illness, because the patient does not recognize them at any given time and the memories you've experienced together have been lost in the patients mind.
Now, in the midst of the digital revolution, your brain is important. How good your brain is doing affects how you perform at work, in your sport and how much you can gain from your personal life.
In the following articles, I write about the different aspects of your cognitive abilities, such as memory, creativity or improving your EQ. But especially: what can you do to boost your brain?