25 Tips on How to Become Smarter
How do I become smarter?
Have you ever asked yourself this question? Me too!
Well, here’s a fact: you don’t become a genius overnight. Rewiring your brain and learning new things take time to process. Increasing your intelligence depends on the small things you do each day.
Here are 25 of them to help you get started.
1. Explore New Areas
Incorporating new information and experiences into your life by exploring new areas stimulates your brain to create new neural pathways. And more neural pathways help you become smarter.
At first, you may feel that these moments are useless, but trust me, at the end of the day, you will eventually be looking forward for more of them.
2. Visit New Places
I don’t necessarily mean that you have to go out of the country. Visiting new places could be taking a different route to work or eating in a new restaurant instead of the “usual”.
This may feel a little bit awkward at first — especially because we often settle down and get comfortable with our habits.
Get out of your comfort zone. Visiting new places and doing things that are not part of your routine forces your brain to tackle new challenges and learn.
3. Continue Learning
Education is a lifetime pursuit. And you don’t have to be enrolled as a post-graduate student in a university to get one (though it’s a good opportunity).
Remember that there’s no such thing as “I’m too old to learn new skills and concepts”. So challenge yourself. Increase your intelligence by taking classes, creative or academic. Learn new skills by taking online courses or by asking a friend to teach you his trade.
Adult education is one of best investments of energy, money and time you can make.
As Brian Tracy puts it:
“Those people who develop the ability to continuously acquire new and better forms of knowledge that they can apply to their work and to their lives will be the movers and shakers in our society for the indefinite future.”
4. Watch and Read the News
Do you still read a newspaper? Great! Reading a newspaper or watching the news for thirty minutes a day helps your brain stay active.
Digesting new information is always a good habit. And it pays out to be aware of what’s happening around you too!
5. Read Books
How to become smarter? Read books (I can’t stress this enough). Reading is the most basic yet effective way to stimulate brain activity.
It provides you with new vocabulary and shows examples of proper grammar usage. It also allows the reader to enjoy and indulge in the beauty of elegant sentences.
Reading helps you make big picture connections. Whether you choose historical literature, fiction or non-fiction, reading is a great way to pique your imagination — allowing you to create tangible places, people and experiences and helping you become smarter in the process.
I love what Charles Munger said:
“In my whole life, I have known no wise people (over a broad subject matter area) who didn’t read all the time — none, zero. You’d be amazed at how much Warren reads–and at how much I read. My children laugh at me. They think I’m a book with a couple of legs sticking out.”
6. Approach Work in New Ways
For an adult, the workplace — not the school — is a canvas for new, exciting experiences. And it pays to approach work in new ways, regardless of the type of job you have.
Don’t be afraid to take on opportunities that help you solve problems in a creative way. Think outside the box and contribute fresh ideas to the team instead of stressing over the problem.
7. Challenge Yourself
Your brain is like a muscle. Like weightlifter who constantly challenges himself to develop his muscles, your brain also needs exercise on a daily basis. Remember that the brain can do wonders with enough focus and stretching.
Underestimating yourself prevents you from being successful. So believe in your abilities and go beyond what you though was possible.
After all, you have a superbrain.
“If you are facing a new challenge or being asked to do something that you have never done before don’t be afraid to step out. You have more capability than you think you do but you will never see it unless you place a demand on yourself for more.” –Joyce Meyer
8. Train Your Brain
There are so many apps and programs that offer daily brain training. A great example is Lumosity, a program developed by neuroscientists at the University of California Berkeley.
They produce various puzzles and games designed to increase neuroplasticity and to help you become smarter.
9. Got a Problem? Ask 5 “Whys”
The 5 “Whys” approach is a solid start to unearthing the root cause of a problem. Asking questions gets the brain working to find an answer.
So instead of worrying about a problem, why don’t you start solving it by asking why?
10. Put Technology Aside
Technology is great. It has done many wonders for us and will continue to do so in the years to come. But there’s problem.
Over-depending on technology can dumb you down. It stunts the brain’s ability to solve problems and adapt to new environments.
If you want to become smarter, toss technology away for practical things like solving basic arithmetic or algebra.
Make your brain work for you — it’s all worth it at the end of the day.
11. Foster an Artistic Mindset
An artistic mindset creates new opportunities to find new solutions, fresh inspiration, and peaceful confidence.
The blend of these elements in both personal and professional environments allows ordinary people to shine by becoming an innovative thinker and inventive leader.
Find ways to incorporate creativity into the dull grind of daily tasks.
12. Learn to Draw or Paint
Remember those stick figures you used to draw when you were still a kid? Painting or drawing is one of the best ways to stimulate your mind.
It improves your imagination as well as develop your hand-eye coordination. Drawing or painting sends synapses to neurotransmitters to help more permanently and vividly store your memories.
“Drawing makes you see things clearer, and clearer, and clearer still. The image is passing through you in a physiological way, into your brain, into your memory – where it stays – it’s transmitted by your hands.” –Martin Gayford
13. Come up With 10 Ideas Everyday
Develop your brain’s ability to think creatively and innovatively. You can start by writing 10 new ideas every day.
This could be anything from a new recipe that you want to cook to DIY projects that you want to try at home.
And you know what’s better? Turning these ideas into reality!
14. Share What You Learn with Other People
Based on my personal experience, I learn most when I share my knowledge with other people.
If you share what you learn, you are telling your brain that that piece of information is important and meaningful. And these types of information are usually stored in your long term memory thus making you smarter.
I love what Phil Collins said about teaching others:
“In learning you will teach, and in teaching you will learn.”
15. Write Down What You Learn
Are you familiar with the saying: “A dull pencil is better than a sharp mind”?
Nothing is truer than that. Writing cements that piece of information in your long term memory, enhancing your ability to learn.
So if you want to have a superbrain, make it a habit to write down what you learn today.
And oh, you’ll find these notes very handy too in case you bump your head and forget everything!
16. Play an Instrument
Learning to play an instrument has a lot of benefits. It improves hand-eye coordination, mathematical skills, concentration and memory.
Playing an instrument forces various areas of your brain to work together. While some instruments are harder to play than others, most of them share at least one or two of these amazing benefits.
17. Talk to Interesting People
Every person has his own set of unique experiences. Since no two people interpret information, store memories and process daily information in the same way as the other, collaboration is a must if you want to become smarter.
Learning from another person’s perspective can help you see opportunities, ideas and techniques that you may have missed otherwise.
Since we have a tendency to be bias towards our own point of view, talking to people, silencing your thoughts and becoming a good listener is often challenging. But hey, it’s all worth it!
18. Cultivate Physical Health
How to become smarter? Stay healthy.
Remember that the body feeds the brain. If your body is tired and sick, don’t expect your brain to stay sharp and active.
Emotional health is also important so make sure you have someone or something to motivate and inspire you always.
In connection with #18, studies show that people who exercise every day have higher I.Q. scores than those who do not. It tells us something huh?
Exercising stimulate cell growth in a process called neurogenesis. It also forces your brain to produce more neurotransmitters like dopamine (happy hormone) which reduces stress, increases energy and improves concentration.
Controlling and calming the brain is as powerful as enhancing activity through instruments and puzzles.
For years, doctors have been studying the effects of meditation and so far, the results are convincing and impressive. Meditation calms the brain and helps the person develop a stronger sense of focus.
21. Play Devil’s Advocate
I asked a good friend once about some advice on how to increase intelligence and I was amazed on his response: “Become a devil’s advocate”.
I thought he was joking but when he explained it to me, I was more than eager to give it a try. So do you want to play the devil’s advocate? Here’s how:
Take a piece of information you recently heard or learned about. Form a unique opinion toward it and list down some statements that support your position. The best way to do this is to imagine yourself inside a courtroom trying to defend your stand against the prying eyes of the opposition.
Playing devil’s advocate is a great tool to enhance your ability to think outside the box.
22. Hang Out with People Smarter than You
You become your friends. If you hang out with people who are smarter than you, then chances are, you will become one.
There’s nothing wrong about becoming a “sponge” as long as you are eager to learn. Keep in mind that being humble, asking questions and showing genuine interest is also important when you surround yourself with people who inspire and challenge you every day.
“You are as good as the people around you” –Yaro Starak
23. Do Something Scary
Doing something, extraordinary and even frightening things can light up that bulb inside your head.
Give it a try and challenge yourself.
24. Use a Word-of-the-Day App
Do you know that knowing more words will help you become smarter?
Bringing a pocket-sized dictionary is no longer a trend today so step up and search the Google Playstore or Apple Appstore for word-of-the-day apps that you can try.
25. Follow Your Questions
Every now and then, things that pique your interest or curiosity will pop out of nowhere.
Don’t let that learning moment pass. Pursue it until you find all the answers to your questions.
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