Maintain Your Competitive Edge as You Age
If you believe that accelerated loss of your mental acuity is inevitable with
age, and that the loss of your competitive edge is certain to accompany that
memory loss, you're not alone. But you are wrong. Age does have some effect on
memory, but it's not an especially significant factor. Nonetheless, people tend
to use their age as an excuse for poor or weakened performance.
you walk into a room and then you can't remember what you walked into the room for
In fact, the opposite is true: For most people in business, the prime earning
years are their 40s and 50s because they have invaluable maturity and experience.
However, sometimes people in middle age enter a very self-defeating cycle,
doubting themselves and losing confidence in their abilities. Be Like Mike...
With Your Brain.
No matter what your age, developing or training the memory is, in many ways,
like playing a sport. Consider basketball: Although certain individuals are
undoubtedly genetically more gifted ballplayers - they're 7 feet tall, extremely
strong, very fast, and have great hand-eye coordination - anyone can learn to
play basketball reasonably well, with training and a lot of practice, even if
you're 5'2" and not much of a jumper.
People commonly misperceive memory as a talent, not a skill. While some people
do possess the genetic gift of a brain wired for superior recall, the truth is
that everybody can make major improvements in their memory function with
training and practice regardless of age, education, IQ, or any other factor.
You're not going to be a superstar professional athlete without some God-given
talent, but most people, when it comes to using their brains, don't need to be
superstars; they just want to lead productive lives. And that is definitely
achievable. Older Really Can Mean Wiser.
Age is a factor in training your physical body, and it's no different when
training your brain. Although few people can run a mile faster at age 40 than
they could at age 20, if you're motivated and committed, you can still run a
pretty darn fast mile at age 40.
Your results will be quicker and more dramatic when you're younger, but a very
inspiring key difference between athletic training and brain training is that
while you can't get stronger, faster, and more coordinated as you get older,
it's totally realistic to expect to continue to grow wiser - more effective
mentally - in later years.
Wiser is fine, but doesn't everyone inevitably get more forgetful when they age?
Yes, hormonal changes as we age do have some impact on our memories, but people
tend to blow this factor way out of proportion and make it way more of an issue
than it really is. In most cases, you're actually not more forgetful than you
ever were; you just notice more when you are forgetful.