If you recognize opportunities in problems, then life becomes a continuous festival of being given one chance after another to enhance your creative potential.
Contrary to popular belief that our brain power declines as we age, The Mature Mind by the late Gene D. Cohen, M.D., Ph.D., argues that there are actually positive changes taking place in our minds throughout our lifetime. Drawing on a wealth of scientific research and interviews, he reveals that the mind continues to grow and flourish well into the second half of life. His research shows how the brain has the capacity to “remodel” itself with age and how it can “recruit” new reserves to compensate for the effects of aging on other parts of the brain.
We all face challenges every day in our lives. When we are younger, we tend to look for black and white or definitive right or wrong answers because as humans we aren’t as comfortable with ambiguity. However, as we age, Cohen claims we experience “developmental intelligence” or what many of us would refer to as wisdom. This more advanced form of thinking and processing of information provides us with the creative skills to become more effective problem solvers as we age. We also tend to see more opportunities within each challenge, giving us a unique perspective and coping mechanism to carry us through the latter stages of our lives.
For example, a successful businessman received numerous accolades and awards for the positive impact his company’s products and services have on families with special needs children. His passion and intellect were his greatest assets and they served him well in creating his company. However, most of his employees and family members found him to be rather arrogant and critical. His impatience and lack of people skills made him difficult to be around. As his emotional development matured over time and caught up with his intellectual development, he morphed into a wise and creative much sought after mentor. He was then able to successfully transition his company to the next team of leaders, overcoming one of his greatest challenges and creating a new era of opportunities.
Rather than fear the challenges of the aging process because of the things we may lose or give up, we need to embrace it as a time of increased wisdom, possibilities, and creativity. As we leverage the positive changes occurring in our brains as we mature, we gain a better understanding of ourselves, our motives, and our challenges which allows us to live a more intentional life. And our mature minds develop a wealth of wisdom that we should share with our loved ones to help them develop these higher level reasoning skills as they grow. Parents, grandparents, and elder friends provide an important link in helping children and grandchildren learn how to problem solve as they encounter a myriad of challenges throughout their life journeys.
Many of our certified Legacy Navigators® working within CCRC and senior living communities have seen the power of The Mature Mind in action as they are trained to assist seniors in writing and sharing their Life Reflection Stories and Ethical Wills/Legacy Letters. By taking the time to share their wisdom, values, experiences, and stories with loved ones, these seniors are ensuring this rich knowledge and these essential life skills are passed on to the next generations. They in turn have found greater purpose and joy in their lives.
May you continue to use your creativity to turn your challenges into opportunities!
Creativity – Problem Solving is the Life Slice card featured this week. The deck of 52 beautiful and inspirational cards can help you live a life of celebration and purpose. Or share them with a friend or loved one as a meaningful gift from your heart.
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