It’s not you, it’s your brain - how cognitive preferences affect the way we feel at work

It’s so easy to mistake an ability for a preference - to an outside observer they often look the same. It’s why managers and recruiters often struggle to differentiate between the kind of work we are good at and work we truly enjoy. This can lead to people being put into roles where they are able to perform at a very high level - but at a serious cost to their enthusiasm and long-term engagement.

An ability and a cognitive preference feel completely different - and it’s this critical difference that explains why some work can be incredibly energizing and fulfilling while other tasks can feel mentally exhausting.

By understanding the way that you are neurologically energized by certain types of activities over others you can make better choices in your professional roles and responsibilities. You can also stop feeling bad about the weekly report that you hate completing, or the networking event you are dreading. It isn’t because there’s something wrong with you or even the task at hand, it’s simply because your brain isn’t excited by it.

Gregor Jeffrey