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Brain CEOs

Our grade-school teachers had it right: The ability to plan, organize, and follow through on a task contributes far more to success than raw talent. At least that’s the word from neuroscientists studying something called brain C.E.O.s (which here I think means cerebral executive operations, though it seems like a good CEO would need healthy C.E.O.s!) . Here’s what the New York Times reports today:

“You can be truly smart and still struggle in life if you lack the ability to plan, organize time and space, initiate projects and see them through to completion, and you cannot resist immediate temptations in favor of later better rewards.

“When those capacities are damaged or underdeveloped, even people with intelligence and talent may flounder. They are often misunderstood as being willfully disorganized or lazy, possessing a bad attitude or, from a parental viewpoint, ‘doing this on purpose to drive me crazy.’

“More and more, however, neuroscientists are saying such puzzling underachievers may suffer from neurological abnormalities affecting ‘the brain’s C.E.O.’ This control center, really an array of ‘executive functions,’ orchestrates resources like memory, language and attention to achieve a goal, be it a fraction of a second or five years from now.”

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