Cultivating a Culture of Striving: Boosting Cognitive Skills

Representation of cognitive pathways activated in a culture of striving.

Have you ever considered the power of ambition? The human drive to achieve isn’t just a basic instinct; it has profound effects on our cognitive capacities. Recent research by Tim Buszard and Rich S.W. Masters delves into the fascinating relationship between a ‘culture of striving’ and enhanced cognitive abilities.

Read more: Cultivating a Culture of Striving: Boosting Cognitive Skills

The Deep Dive into Ambition and Cognition

According to the illuminating findings from Buszard and Masters, environments that encourage and nurture the pursuit of excellence can result in heightened usage of the working memory. This essential cognitive system temporarily stores and manipulates information, playing an indispensable role in attention control, which is foundational in a myriad of life’s spheres, be it academics, professional life, sports, or even recreational activities.

Understanding the ‘Culture of Striving’

The concept of a ‘culture of striving’ is not merely about individual pursuits. Instead, it encapsulates the broader societal and cultural milieu that places a premium on the pursuit of goals. In such environments, the working memory is extensively engaged, leading, in turn, to advancements in attention control skills

Practical Implications: Applying Insights to Everyday Life

So, armed with this knowledge, how can we harness these insights in our daily routines, workspaces, classrooms, or on the sports field? Here are some actionable takeaways:

  1. Establish a Striving-Driven Environment: Whether you’re an educator, coach, manager, or parent, you have the power to create a milieu that champions the drive for success. Celebrate persistence, effort, and ambition.
  2. Enhance Your Working Memory: While there are inherent limits to our working memory, various strategies, like memory palaces, mental visualization, and cognitive games, can fortify it.
  3. Augment Your Attention Control: Given the intertwined nature of working memory and attention control, bolstering one invariably aids the other. Techniques like mindfulness and meditation can be especially potent in honing your focus.


The pioneering research by Buszard and Masters unravels the intricate ties binding culture, cognition, and achievement. It serves as a poignant reminder that our personal endeavors are influenced not just by individual efforts but also the cultural tapestry surrounding us. So, whether you’re gunning for a personal best at the gym, chasing a pivotal work deadline, or merely aiming to stay on top of your daily chores, remember that cultivating a culture of striving can elevate your cognitive prowess. Who knows? You might just outdo your own expectations!


  • Howle, T. C., & Eklund, R. C. (2020). On elite and super-elite Great British athletes: Some theoretical implications from Hardy et al.’s (2016) findings. Progress in Brain Research.
  • Photo by Ayelt van Veen on Unsplash
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