Become More Intelligent Than You Are Now
Do you ever feel less intelligent around other people? Are you embarrassed when you don’t know the answer to a question? Everybody has those times when they just feel like they don’t know anything. Of course, you can’t know everything, but no matter how smart you are, you can start becoming more intelligent today by actively focusing on enhancing the skills that aid intelligence.
Improving Your Mind's Abilities
- Improve your memory. Much of what is considered intelligence is simply the ability to remember things well. Observing something or paying attention is not enough. The key is to retain that information. Associate things you want to memorize with things you already remember. Associating new information, observation or data with old memories would make it easier to memorize in comparison to creating new memories. Your technique of connecting and associating memories would be unique. Practice, practice and soon you will be developing new techniques to learn and retain new information faster. Only the first attempt is hardest.
- Be more curious. How do some people get to know so much? Good memory skills are only part of the answer: you also have to be curious. If you’re satisfied going through life with little or no understanding of things you’re unfamiliar with, you won’t learn much. Make a conscious effort to be more curious by reminding yourself that developing your curiosity will broaden your horizons and help to make you more intelligent.
- Exercise your mind in different ways. Most of us are good at the things we excel in naturally or the activities we do everyday. Challenge yourself to learn a new skill or to think in a different way, however, and you’ll actually become more intelligent. Choose something you’d like to learn to do (play the accordion, for example) or a subject you don’t do well in (maybe math) and focus on that thing. Initially, you may be uncomfortable and feel even less intelligent than you did before, but if you study or practice diligently, you’ll become more confident, and you’ll make new connections in your mind.
- Meditate. If you could just regularly practice meditation then it alone will improve all other aspects and habits, mentioned in this or any other self improvement article, naturally. It is scientifically proven that meditation not only improves your concentration but also makes you feel happier and joyful
. For more benefits of meditation read the referenced article.
- Here's a simple but profound meditative practice: Just be aware of your breath. Like inhaling and exhaling cycles and gap between them, belly movement etc. Read How to Meditate for more depth.
- Study more effectively. If you find yourself at a loss when your teacher, lecturer or tutor puts you on the spot, or if you perform poorly on exams, you may not be studying enough. Even if you study a lot, improving the way in which you approach the studying process can make a big difference. Some help can be found in these articles:
- Do your homework if you're in school and your post-lecture revision at college. The homework is there for practice, the revision is to help you to digest what you've just learned. When you do it, you'll become more confident in that subject.
- Mostly, homework time is not the same as study time, so you can't count homework as studying. Studying involves deeper reflection and breakthrough understandings that stick in your memory.
- Avoid the temptation to procrastinate, finish your homework at the last minute, or copy someone's paper to hand in. That isn't learning––it's making do and forgetting straight afterward; this is hardly useful when you're out in the work world and need to remember and use your knowledge.
- Don't learn simply to learn, it will not work. Find a way to be interested in it, make it fun and you will learn faster, and remember more.
- Read a lot. Just about everything that humans know can be found in print, whether in books and magazines or on the internet. Become a voracious reader, and you’ll expose yourself to more ideas and information. If you’re a slow reader, consider learning speed reading. Consider jotting down notes, and perhaps looking up a word or two in the dictionary.
- If you are a slow reader, you may simply need to accept this rather than trying to read faster and lose your sense of comprehension. Set aside uninterrupted time for reading, and ask that nobody disturb you. Choose quality of reading over quantity and set yourself both mini-goals and mini-rewards for completing blocks of reading.
- Visit the library frequently and pick up anything which looks interesting to you. The subject matter is not quite as important as is the act of reading. Always have something good to read at hand.
- Research. Curiosity without initiative is like having a car that’s out of gas—it won’t take you anywhere. Fortunately, when it comes to knowledge you’re never far from success. If you read a word that you don’t know, look it up in the dictionary. If you wonder how airplanes fly, read a book about it. If you want to know more about politics, pick up a newspaper. Go online and explore the world in depth.
- Learn how to look things up. If you know how to use references, from an internet search engine to an encyclopedia, you’ll be able to find the information you want more quickly and effectively. Effective researching skills will nourish your curiosity because you’ll become more confident in your ability to access knowledge. If your research skills leave something to be desired, take a class or workshop on how to research, ask a librarian or teacher, or simply practice researching. Or, just press the "help" tabs on the internet and computer programs and read.
- Figure things out on your own. There’s a lot more to intelligence than “book smarts". We can all learn to perform everyday tasks at work, home, and school better and more intelligently. If you don’t know how to do something, resist the urge to ask somebody else to do it for you or show you how. In most cases, you’ll be able to figure it out on your own, either by trial-and-error or by researching. While it usually takes longer to figure something out than it does to ask about it, you’ll learn more about the overall process, and you’ll remember it better. Most importantly, you’ll exercise your problem-solving skills instead of your “do as you’re told” skills.
Linking with Others to Improve Your Intelligence
- Ask for help. It’s great to figure things out on your own, but sometimes you don’t have enough time to do so, despite your best efforts. Don’t give up; ask somebody to show you how. Make sure to pay close attention and ask any questions that you have, so that you’ll never have to ask the same thing again.
- Most people love to be asked questions about something they're really good at. It's a way of showing that you value their opinion and knowledge and it gives them an opportunity to pass on some of that knowledge. If someone reacts badly to a request for help, it can often mean that they don't feel sure about their own knowledge or they're pressured for time; in both cases, this is not a reflection on you and you can either ask another time or realize that the person feels a little insecure and try to reassure this person that you value his or her advice a great deal.
- Teach others. In order to teach something to somebody else, you’ve got to know it pretty well. When you try to explain an idea or skill to somebody else, you’ll not only remember it better yourself, you’ll also find that the other person’s questions will help you find out how well you really know what you’re talking about. Don't let not knowing a topic inside out hold you back from teaching though; you will learn as you go and there is no shame in saying, "Wow, I don't know the answer to that, let's both go and find out!" Putting aside defensiveness is a sign of maturity and maturity adds to your emotional intelligence.
- Volunteer to pass on what you know. Knowledge is something to be shared, to build a better world. Don't hide your star under a rock; share your experiences, skills, talents and knowledge with other people so that they too can grow in confidence and ability.
Fun Ways to Increase Intelligence
- Learn a new word each day. Go through the dictionary and find a word that you don't know yet, then practice using it throughout the day. When you come across a new word when doing #3, look it up.
- Find a hobby that interests you. Many people increase their intelligence by attempting to get better at something that they're already good at. For example, not only does it make a computer programmer look smarter if they know C++, but it can help you with your job.
- Surround yourself with intelligent people. Being around people that are smart in their own fields and knowledge can help you become more knowledgeable. Don't feel inferior––feel blessed that you have amazing resources to draw upon!
- Read the news. Keeping up with current events will let you know what's going on in the world. You can catch up on what the world is doing while exercising (step 3).
- Practice your writing skills. Writing allows you to input your knowledge into creativity. Whether you write short, fantasy stories or reports on WWII, it's always great to practice your writing skills. Try exercising your brain and writing a little something every day, whether it be describing your emotions or writing descriptive paragraphs about the weather. Sometimes, just brainstorming can help you create fresh, new ideas.
- Learn a new language. Learning new languages is a great way to get smarter. Children who learn two languages or more have more grey matter than those who don't, and their brains make more neural connections. And grey matter is responsible for processing information, including memory, speech and sensory perception. Knowing another language also increases your empathy for others, which is an important part of improving your emotional intelligence.
- Spend time apart from others and from distractions. Solitude is a time for reflection, deep inner thinking and rest. It is in solitude that you digest all that you have learned from your day or week, and can sort through the issues that are important to you. Solitude helps to keep you calm, it reduces stress and it's a nice way to get to know yourself better. Add a little quiet time away from everything else to your day, every day.
- Get enough sleep. Some researchers say, while you sleep, your brain makes new connections. For example if you don't understand how to perform a math equation completely and you 'sleep on it', there is a chance that your brain will have figured it out while you slept.
- Eat breakfast when you're young. It's a very important meal as it provides the brain fuel needed to kick your thinking cogs into gear. As you age, the amount and timing of breakfast may vary but still be sure to have something to start your day with some energy input.
- Be active. Movement is a key part of being a human being. Sitting on your backside all day isn't conducive to leading a fully engaged human experience. Get out and about several times a day, and fit the computer work and play around the rest of your life, not the other way around. A healthy body results in a healthy mind.
- Some psychologists now say there are multiple types of intelligence, such as interpersonal intelligence (how to interact and get along with people) and bodily intelligence (coordination, athleticism). Nurture these aspects of yourself; even if they don’t make you “smarter" in the traditional sense of IQ, they can help you lead a happier, more well-rounded life.
- Classical music can be helpful for embedding new knowledge and helping you to study. There's no harm in at least trying it!
- Use your initiative. Scary maybe but incredibly useful for the rest of your life. Read and study beyond what is expected, learn laterally and think broadly. Look for gaps and things that could be done better and work out ways for fixing, changing, overriding the status quo. From entrepreneurs and inventors to parenting and workplace relations, using your initiative is a way of breaking free from ruts, solving hairy problems and making your world a better place to be in.
- TV can be useful for learning provided you choose wisely and keep the watching to a minimum. Select educational programs, documentaries and well informed news pieces. Keep all TV viewing to only a few hours weekly. Don't fall into the habit of watching because you're tired; that's when you need to sleep or do something more energized.
- Some subjects or fields are considered "smarter" than others. This is unfortunate because all fields of knowledge are vital and it is in the bringing together of many different perspectives that the wicked problems (those really big problems that seem unsolvable, like climate change or global recessions), that humankind comes up with amazing solutions. Find your interest and niche and pursue it to its zenith; it is by knowing and doing something really well that you can contribute your part to making this world a much better place.
- Learning new things is confronting but learn to embrace the initial fear and do it anyway. Learning new things boosts intelligence and keeps you alert, invigorated and curious. Persevere to push past the initial reluctance, and then you'll wonder why you didn't start the new thing sooner!
- Consider tutoring. Learning one-to-one can really boost your knowledge and skills in ways you can't get from simply reading or watching videos.
- Don't ever dwell on negative feelings of being mentally inferior to others. Let that emotion encourage you to reach and even surpass your full potential. Anger is a secondary emotion, meaning it's caused by another emotion. So find that deep emotion down in you and use it as fuel for your motivation. It's not always easy to sort out emotions but give it your best to understand the viewpoint and position of others so you can develop and open your mind to the people and opportunities around you.
- Read a lot! Don't just read any one particular genre (like science fiction) but read biographies, history or science books, and even historical fiction. If you can, bring a pen and notebook so you can take notes. In this manner, you always have this information in a book. Be sure you read these notes constantly!
- Don't look at what someone else has, but rather what you have and can offer. If you pay attention of how "smart" someone else is, this will limit the opportunity for you to increase your intelligence.
- Don't be disappointed for too long when you fail at any attempt; pat yourself on the back for even trying and then give it another go. Keep going until you succeed.
- Prolonged use or abuse of alcohol or illicit drugs can damage brain cells; in turn, this can make you less able to focus and can decrease your ability to think clearly, concentrate and contribute to society in a valuable way.
- Do not put your ego first when trying be smarter. Arrogance or acting superior to others is a manifestation of feeling resentful and angry that things aren't the way you wish they were. Express your anger in more constructive ways––try to turn the negative energy into a positive one to achieve what you want to do.