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  • Writer's pictureRashidi Kabamba

Cognitive Flexibility

"The measure of intelligence is the ability to change" - Albert Einstein

People fear change, people fear the unknown. What are you going to do when life throws you curve balls and your today is not the same as tomorrow? This is where I come in, and my crucial advice which will prepare you for the unknown. Now the topic we are going to be speaking about today, is cognitive flexibility, which I will be defining below.

Cognitive flexibility "is the ability to shift thinking or attention in response to changes in the environment or situation. When you have cognitive flexibility you can change your behaviour based on how the environment changes. This type of thinking is all about changing your opinion, your beliefs, and how you cope with change. Before, I go more in depth into this let me go into the understanding of what cognition actually is.

Cognition, according to the google definition is "the mental action or process of acquiring knowledge and understanding through thought, experience, and the senses." Now basically with cognitive flexibility you are going to be acquiring your knowledge and understanding through new ways of viewing things with your senses, having different experiences, and changing your thinking and thoughts. It's all about change, change, change because some situations that you will be in life are going to require different views and perspectives in order to overcome the situation.

By reading the Stress-Proof Brain by Melanie Greenberg she was able to go more in depth into cognitive flexibility and its benefits. She stated that having cognitive flexibility is like working with mental clay and shaping your responses based on the situation and formulating your conclusions based on that. If you are mentally flexible, you are going to be able to deal with stress easier because the purpose of stress is to tense your mind-body connection. When you are mentally flexible, you can think around your stress and create solutions in order to alleviate your stress in various ways.

For instance, as an entrepreneur there are various stressful situations that you go through and stressors which arise, such as lack of capital, uncertainty, letting go and pivoting, etc. Now let's take a lack of capital for example, let's say you're going to have to raise funds in order to fund your project and pay employees in order to do certain jobs. Now let's see you feel stressed and depressed because you don't know how you're going to raise the money and it's making you feel mentally obstructed. Now with cognitive flexibility, you focus your energy on the positive side and change how you view that situation from positive to negative. Instead of looking at it like you lack funds, you say to yourself you lack funds right now, and you start looking at other ways to create solutions to solve your problems. This is how you make your mind a mental clay and form your thoughts according to the situation you're in and adjust your thoughts accordingly. With that being said, the next topic we will talk about cognitive inflexibility and why your mind can't become flexible, peace!! :)

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