It can be too easy to make excuses, to tell ourselves that â€˜we are what we areâ€™, to decide that we are this way or that and that thereâ€™s very little that can be done to change. But there is a huge amount of evidence to suggest that how we decide to live and our approach to life can have a massive effect on how your body and mind ages. Tim Drake is an expert in this field, his latest book is entitled â€˜You can be as Young as you Thinkâ€™.
Drakeâ€™s experience and research has led him to think that we have 3 ages rather than just the one, our birthday. These are;
- Birthday age.
- Body age.
- Brain age.
It is pretty well drummed into us that our physical health is massively dependent on us keeping active, but there is comparatively little emphasis on our brain health. Interestingly, Drake tells us that we can be 15 years either side of our Birthday age physically, depending on our lifestyle and level of fitness. Our brain age however, can be anything at all! You can check your brain age by using the app devised by Drake and his co author Chris Middleton, its free from the App Store, â€˜Brain Age Testâ€™.
There are certain key behaviours that give us away with regards to our brain age. Drake defines them
in the following way.
- Open to Change.
- Future Ready.
- Open to People.
- Love Fun.
- High Energy.
- Afraid of Change.
- Low Energy.
Do you still dream?
Dreams are kinda hard to entertain when you feel you have to be more concerned with the practicalities of life, the monthly mortgage payment or an impending hospital consultation. We tend to slip into survivalist mode as the years pass, we lose our naivety and start to feel like our role as an adult, worker or parent is to show as much stoicism as possible. Drake points out that this can lead to a dangerous state of stasis; â€œIf you are not growing as a human being, then youâ€™re in stasis or youâ€™re going backwards.â€ He suggests we work towards a state of â€˜enlightened selfishnessâ€™. Itâ€™s not about ignoring the wisdom weÂ accrue with the passing years, but more about staying open to new and better ways of thinking and living because society changes so rapidly. This is beneficial to those around you as Drake states; â€œWithout learning and growing you canâ€™t help other people to learn and grow.â€ This knowledge can help you formulate new dreams, helping you to keep striving for a life that is as happy and fulfilled as possible.
Drakeâ€™s 6 Wisdoms of Youth
- Openness to Change.
- Being open to people.
- Action orientation.
- Having fun.
- Being positive & still dreaming.
- Looking after yourself, then others.
Young brains work.
These considerations are no less applicable to the issue of inspiring those that we work with. Drake is emphatic about making sure you don’t forget how to bring fun into your life, including your work. He believes that fun is the key to unlocking the imagination. Another way in which this theory is being applied to the world of work is in the changing styles of people management. Drake has noticed a discernible shift from more traditional methods of people management towards providing people with leadership instead, which is a very different approach. He defines the differences between a manager and a leader as follows;
- Manages with control/by giving orders.
- Based on job title.
- Uses fear to motivate.
- Covers up mistakes/Never appears weak.
- Supports by providing help where necessary.
- Staff encouraged.
- Motivation through inspiration.
- Staff loved and nurtured.
- Only human – admits mistakes.
Generally speaking, Leadership is based on a set of positive values and actions, whereas management plays on a more negative set of values and actions. The difference it can make to your life by adopting a positive rather than a negative approach can be huge Drake says: Â â€œPhysiologists
and psychologists will tell you that we are hardwired to respond to negative or positive – we cannot fight it.â€
Another observable shift in todayâ€™s young brains is that people want to make a difference with their work. This trend has even reached the Harvard Business School, which is as capitalist as they come. Where its graduates used to aim to join the ranks of Wall St and become lawyers, they are now looking for more meaningful work. Drake found that 25% of 2010 graduates from Harvard went into jobs with the NGO or Not for Profit sectors. This hints at the more general shift from creating economic value to creating social value.
Drakeâ€™s 24 hr challenge.
So, if you think that maybe you could benefit from giving your brain a refresher course on how to be young, start by taking this 24 hr challenge. It is pretty simple but Drake claims it is very effective. All you have to do is;
Â Say nothing negative to anybody, about anything, for 24 hours.Â
So, no gossip, no tittle tattle, no moaning! If you find that you slip up and you say something negative – start the 24 hours again. Once you have done 24 hours, move your target to a week, then a month. Drake insists that once you hit a month of saying nothing negative your life will be changed for the better.