At last and it’s never too late!

Our executive functions are hugely valuable to us. The quality of them differentiates the people who achieve their goals from those who don’t. They separate the people who get promoted from those who don’t. They even are linked to distinguishing those who are happy from those who aren’t.

There are several brain areas involved in these executive functions. The biggest chunk of growth and development in these areas occurs when we are babies and children. However, you can still shape them when you are an adult. The good news for our children or grandchildren’s generation is that specific activities that help develop these important brain areas and skills are being put on the curriculum, at last.

In an elementary school in Vancouver students sit three times a day and focus on their breathing. They also receive lessons in brain anatomy and training in optimism. It may sound obvious, we teach children about nutrition and how important it is to eat healthily and regularly, so of course we should teach them about their brain. This previously just wasn’t the case though.

Imagine future employees who have received training in paying attention, exercising self-control and self-regulation. Studies have shown that these skills have been more important to success and well being than measures of IQ.  20 schools in London are following the MindUP programme supported by the Hawn Foundation. There are nearly 175 in Canada and 75 in the US so it is only a matter of time before children know more about how their most important resource works than most adults.

The work place has the potential to be a fantastically productive place where people love spending time. Statistically, comparatively few companies have achieved this. The ones that continue to do this tend to be filled with employees who have good self-control, the ability to self-regulate, emotional intelligence and healthy executive functions.