Be Smart

Intelligence isn't just something you're born with; you can make yourself smarter with a little bit of hard work! To be smart, exercise your brain with puzzles and creative tasks, develop your people skills, learn as much as you can about as much as you can, and continually strive to broaden your horizons by keeping an open mind and stepping outside your comfort zone. Increasing your intelligence may seem difficult, but as long as you have an eagerness to learn, it's a very doable goal.


Exercising Your Brain

  1. Work on puzzles like the Rubik's Cube. Doing puzzles like these will keep your brain working and increase your mental capabilities. Your brain is a muscle: you have to exercise it!
    • Sudoku is a great puzzle to try to solve and it expands your thinking. These can be purchased in books, are often printed in newspapers, and are easily found for free online.
  2. Do artistic activities. Drawing, sculpting, painting and other arts unleash your creative side and expand your problem solving skills. A creative brain can think outside the box to find ways to get things done better and faster.
  3. Do math. Learn how to do mental sums or speed math. The hard thinking that is required for math will make your brain work hard and help develop the connections that will help you think better and faster.
  4. Write stories or poetry. Creative writing forces your brain to work on inventing situations and dialogue, characters and environments. This will make you a better thinker and help you process information. Using language like this will also improve your vocabulary and speech. Writing is also a fantastic way of expressing yourself and your thoughts.

Developing Your People Skills

  1. Simplify. Talking about things that no one else can understand does not make you smart. Genius is the ability to translate the complex into the simple. Practice explaining concepts to others. See just how simple and clear you can make your explanations.
  2. Learn to listen carefully to others' opinions about controversial things, or things they know about and you do not. You do not have to agree with them but remember everybody has something to teach you. Asking questions may allow you to re-evaluate your own beliefs, or point out the flaws in theirs. Keep an open mind. The more intelligent you are the more questions you will ask of the people around you.
  3. Be nice to people. Practicing kindness in the face of challenges is a sign of maturity, class and intelligence. Remember that you also have a lot to learn from other people. Being kind to them will allow you access to their lives and experience. Who knows what you might learn?

Educating Yourself

  1. Aim to Self Educate Yourself. Keep in mind education isn't the junk you are forced to do in school for diplomas and degrees; it's an understanding of the world around you. People who are naturally curious for some reason begin to stop asking questions the moment they hit school. The truly brilliant mind however, always questions their world and tries to make sense out of it. That is the secret to "genius".
  2. Work on your vocabulary. Use a few definitions from the dictionary each day, or subscribe to a "word-of-the-day" service online. You can also take the vocabulary tests in Readers Digest or buy a book on increasing your working vocabulary. Read the dictionary one word at a time. This will take you at least a year but you will grow intellectually.
  3. Read a variety of books. Reading a lot is often described as the secret to intelligence. The smartest people in the world tend to read every single day. You may not always enjoy it, but reading will open up your mind to a variety of new ideas and experiences. Keep your reading diverse by reading books of all genres.
  4. Educate yourself about the world around you. Cultivate an interest in subjects like current events, interesting facts, funny and inspiring quotations, good books and movies, scientific studies and interesting inventions. Educational television, like PBS, is a great way to learn. Learning to think critically about the world around you by being aware of cause and effect in events will make you much smarter.
    • If you can read much faster than you can speak, it is much more efficient to read a book, or better yet a non-linear electronic document like a wiki than to watch a show for all but the most intellectually demanding or video-dependent learning. Commercial television is particularly bad because its ultimate purpose is to do just enough to keep you at the TV and its ads, not satisfy you so you can do something else.
  5. Make connections. Find uses for information, rather than just collecting useless trivia. Burying information somewhere deep in your brain is not useful; you have to be able to access it in situations. Think of situations in which a piece of information will make sense. Then share it and watch it grow!

Developing Good Habits

  1. Ask questions often. Asking questions and questioning everything around us constantly is what makes us smarter. There's nothing wrong with not knowing the whys or the hows! Everybody has something that they don't know. But by developing a healthy habit about asking when you don't know something, you'll find yourself getting smarter and smarter.
  2. Set goals once a week. Ask yourself during each goal-setting session, how many of last week's goals did I achieve? Why didn't I accomplish some of my goals and what can I do to give myself a greater chance of success?
    • Constantly work hard to achieve each of your goals. Without goals, you would have nothing to hope for. Reward yourself after accomplishing your goal.
    • Be organized. You don't need to be a total neat freak, but wasting time is not smart. Of course, there are many geniuses who are completely disorganized (think of the absent-minded professor) but if you're making an active effort to be smart, taking a conscious approach to how you spend your time is a big step in the right direction.
  3. Devote time to education. Educating yourself takes time, and if you want to get smarter it is going to require effort. Don’t expect it to happen overnight. You need to spend a lot of time actively thinking and learning if you want to really be smart.
  4. Always learn. There are many sources of information out there. For example: books, documentaries, and the internet. School is just one source of information. If you have straight A's, that doesn't mean that you are smart. Exercising an open mind will make you more intelligent and constantly learning will help you get there.

Expanding Your Horizons

  1. Learn a Language Apart from being a linguistic exercise, it may bring you into contact with new people and ideas. You may feel less of a stranger when you visit a place and you know some of the language. Also, at some point you will realize that there are some phrases or concepts in other languages that have no direct translation in English! This can be a challenging and fun exercise for the mind. (Note, try to be patient and positive when studying a language as it may take time to reach the level you desire.)
  2. Travel the World Try to visit other countries too. Visiting cities in your country or in a different one gives you an open mind and teaches you about the universe. You will be able to understand other cultures (how people live in a different place, how they behave with each other). You will also be able to understand that there is so much to see and do anywhere. You will be fascinated on how there are so many different people and cultures in the world. That will make you smart and interesting.
  3. Be open-minded and willing to learn new things. Just because you're great at one thing doesn't mean you have to stick to it! Find ways to step out of your comfort zone. This is where the learning happens.


  • There is more than one type of smart. There's book smart, street smart, people smart, emotional smart, technology smart, and many other types of intelligence.
  • Smart can also mean having a smart physical appearance, especially in the UK. Make sure you are smart and know which smart you need or want to be. Getting it wrong may smart.
  • Know the difference between being smart and being knowledgeable. Being smart is not the same as knowing a lot about the subject. Being smart means you understand problems and can think of ways to solve them. Being knowledgeable means you know a lot about one or more topics. Are you both smart and knowledgeable or just one?
  • Don't just go online, research one fact, and wow people with it. Pick one topic to learn about instead.
  • If someone asks you a question that you don't know the answer to, ask them to explain or to ask it in another way. Maybe they have not framed their question well, or they are being indirect; maybe they are not asking a question at all, but expressing another idea? For example, "do these pants make me look fat" is not a 'real' question but a way to ask for reassurance. If you have determined that they really want an honest answer from you, and you don't know the answer, ask them why they want to know, or the context of their question. Once you understand what they want to know, but you don't know the answer, be honest and say you do not know.
  • Pay attention in class, during a lecture, at a conference or around the meeting table. Staying alert helps you pick up information and cues that others miss. It saves time and keeps you smart.
  • Don't become to think you are better than everyone because you are smarter than them.
  • Pay attention to the class. If you don't get something, ask the teacher about it. Don't be afraid to ask!


  • Know your limits, take a break every now and then to reassess yourself and manner of completely achieving your primary goal.
  • Don't put yourself down. When you do this, you begin to believe that you're not smart and this can turn into a self-fulfilling sense of "giving up". Tell yourself you can do it, even if it requires effort and time.
  • Don't become a know-it-all, do-it-all, or Win a Gotcha War. It is obnoxious! It is better to be subtle, not obvious.

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