The brain is a complex, many-layered thing, and it takes dedicated effort to master its internal labyrinth. The good news is that it can be done; you just have to be willing to work for it. If you’re serious about becoming a smarter, more cognitively aware person, here are just six tips for giving your intelligence a boost.
Read books. Read newspapers and magazines. Read forums, blogs, news sites, virtual journals and online opinion pieces. The details of your reading habits don’t really matter; what’s most important is that you’re continually broadening your vocabulary and exposing yourself to new ideas. So no, scrolling through your text messages every day doesn’t count as reading.
2. Understand How You Learn
Are you an auditory or visual learner? Or maybe you’re a kinesthetic one? There are many different techniques for engaging these learning styles as you study or master a new skill. This is what cognitive learning is all about; it isn’t just reciting names and dates, it’s about realizing how your individual brain processes the world and how you can take advantage of that for self-improvement.
3. Improve Your Memory
The first step is to quit relying on your smartphone to remind you of all your appointments and to-do lists. The second step is completing daily memory games to help you build up your recall and strengthen your short- to long-term memory functions. Your memory is like a muscle, and the more you exercise it, the better it will become.
4. Take the Other Side in a Debate
This is how you’ll develop critical thinking skills. What’s an issue that really matters to you? It can be social, cultural, political or personal. Once you have it on your mind, force yourself to think about “the other side” and how they view it. Don’t just perfunctorily go over their opinion; make yourself really understand where they’re coming from, and do research to support your new position if necessary.
5. Emulate Great Thinkers
A good role model will help you stay on track in terms of improving your intelligence. People like Robert Rosenkranz i2 can serve as inspirational guides and give you something to work towards while you continue on your journey of self-education. The most important thing is finding the right idol. No matter what your area of interest, look for role models who have actually founded, accomplished or created something.
6. Admit Your Own Weaknesses
Did you know that more than half of people surveyed considered themselves to be above-average in terms of intelligence? More than 50 percent of people can’t be higher than above-average; that demolishes the average. If you’re serious about improving your smarts, the most intelligent thing you can do is admit to yourself that you aren’t that brilliant. You always have room to improve. You can always do something more.
These are just six ways to boost your brainpower and think more critically about the world. Remember, this is an ongoing process and one that can’t be rushed. You aren’t going to wake up one day and suddenly feel like a genius. Self-education is a slow and steady practice where the rewards creep into your life as you realize that you’re smarter, happier and more well-rounded than you ever were before.