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Increasing diversity is something I have been doing my whole life, which has been a bit outside of the norm. However, by increasing my diversity, I have subsequently increased my skill set and my problem solving skills beyond measure. Since this is a topic near and dear to my heart, I wanted to shed a little bit of light onto the subject, from a more scientific perspective.

New Skills

Learning new skills and increasing our diversity can only help increase our overall long term cognition.  But how is this so?

Well, there have been a few studies done recently discussing this very fact.

  • Harvard Article
  • Wiley Cognition Study
  • Older Adults Cognitive Function

These studies discuss how learning new skills can affect things such as:

  • increasing the myelin sheath density (which increases the information flow in your brain)
  • increasing problem solving skills
  • improving memory
  • slowing age-related cognitive decline

I am a big personal fan of increasing my myelin sheath density. This is due to the fact that the denser the myelin sheath, the faster information can flow. The myelin acts as an insulator to the neuron, so the more insulated it is, the faster the neuron can transmit information.

By increasing how fast the neuron can transmit the information, the faster we can learn to problem solve. Basically, our brain begins to send out information at a much higher rate, and putting the puzzle pieces together, faster than ever before. Therefore, it is not only easier to solve problems faster, but also much easier to access your memory bank because of the increased speed of the flow of information.

Pretty cool, huh?

Diversity Affects

Now you know how learning a new skill can increase your brain cell function. But, learning a new skill, which increases our diversity, can not only increase our cognition. It can also:

  • make us better employees
  • better spouses
  • make us better friends
  • better problem solvers
  • keeps our brains younger, longer

Therefore, learning new skills, and creating diversity, can only help us in the long term game of life.

Diversity and Brain Cell Function

Diversity at Work

But, on top of increasing your overall cognitive and problem solving skills, incorporating more diversity into your work-life can drastically change your perspective. When you aren’t doing the same thing every single day, or working with the same people, there is an air of excitement that develops.

When you get excited, you increase dopamine levels in your brain. This increase in dopamine levels give you a reward for learning, which helps you to retain the information and want to keep doing it again and again.

By giving yourself a hit of dopamine, released due to your excitement that life isn’t the same old monotonous dribble, you are increasing your chances to learn new things and diversify. So there is something to be said, scientifically, for changing things up and continuing to learn new things every day.

This might mean that you have to push yourself outside of your comfort zone at work to take up some new skills. But, the overall benefits can outweigh the few moments of discomfort you may feel about being thrown into the water without a paddle.

It’s time to learn to swim!

The Takeaway

For me, personally, I like to keep my schedule as diverse as possible, because then I never get bored. I don’t burn out from a job, because I am not doing the same thing every day.

By increasing my diversity, I have trained my brain to shift tasks at a much faster rate than the general populace.

This not only makes my days more exciting, and my problem solving skills pretty damn good, but makes me an excellent person to work with. I am faster, and more efficient, than a lot of other people I have worked with because I have developed this high level of diversity, which has in turn widened my skill set beyond most “normal” levels.

So, if you are looking for ways to not only make yourself more marketable, but also to increase your cognitive longevity, then consider adding in some more diversity. Learn a new skill, or 5. Push yourself out of your comfort zone. Both your current self and future self will thank you.

And if you would like to learn more about diversity and how it can benefit you in so many ways, please keep an eye out for my new book (The Art of Being a PITA) that is being released this month by Wisdom House Books.

What are some things you have done to increase your diversity that has increased your brain cell function? Anything completely off-the-wall really get your brain going?