How to increase your capability

I had some questions from my last post on cognitive capability on how to increase it.  Here’s the answer:

Don’t smoke.  The is the single most important thing you can do to increase your capability.

The second is 30 minutes of movement per day.

The third is healthy diet.

Not what you expected?   The thing is, the only way you can increase your cognitive capability is to not die.  This is because while your cognitive capability will unfold at it’s own rate, that rate has been shown by research to be predictable over time.

Remember, cognitive capability as we’re talking about here is not intelligence or knowledge, it’s about your ability to handle complexity.  And research has established that if we know your cognitive capability at your current age, where you will be at 70 is predictable.

This is controversial stuff, and if this is going against your grain, it’s worth reading the research for yourself.  Human Capability by Jaques and Cason is a good place to start.  Then there’s a whole library here (you need to register).

Cognitive capability determines what level of complexity your mind can handle, both now, and in the future.  You don’t want to have a job that is higher in complexity than your cognitive capability – this will lead directly to indecision, stress, anxiety, and even possibly breakdown.  Andrew Olivier has written a great article on this.

Because you can’t influence the rate at which your cognitive capability unfolds, there is no need to concern yourself with increasing it (which would be the same as trying to increase your height).  Instead, the focus is to make sure you have the factors in place that will allow you to gain a job at a higher level when your cognitive capability is ready.

What are these factors?  You’ll see these in a previous post;  I like how Jaques and Clement line it up in Executive Leadership – you need knowledge, skills and experience, you need wisdom, you need to value that work, and you need to have eliminated any behaviours that make people not want to work with you.

These are the things that you can work on, so when your cognitive capability is ready for that higher level job, you’ll not only be able to get the job, it won’t blow your mind.

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