10 ways to immediately increase your intellectual capacity

If you want to grow in life and be successful, finding a way to increase your intellectual capacity may be your secret weapon.

And it is not as hard as you might think.

There is a whole host of daily habits you can acquire to help you become smarter, and the 10 ways below have nothing to do with drugs.

10) Expand your horizons.

Do this by trying something completely new. Apart from learning new skills, you’ll meet new people and discover new possibilities. And science is with you on this. Research has shown that the brain responds to new things by creating new neural pathways. Each new pathway becomes stronger with repetition extending our new skills and strengths.

Don’t say no to an opportunity that feels a bit out of your comfort zone – the only way to get rid of that awkward challenging feeling is to tackle the challenge head-on.

9) Indulge in some daydreaming.

For a long time, getting lost in thought was seen as a sign of being unable to concentrate and focus -a trait best to be avoided. A new study, however, suggests that daydreaming isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It might be a sign that you’re really smart and creative. People with efficient brains may have too much brain capacity to stop their minds from wandering. So go ahead, allow yourself to daydream, you might come up with really creative (read smart) solutions to whatever is facing you now.

8) Read.

Read for fun and read to increase your knowledge. Most highly successful people read 60 books a year. Now, we don’t all have that capacity or the time to indulge, but we have more time than we’d like to admit. Reading up on the latest developments in your field is first priority, but all reading doesn’t have to be informative – reading, especially something you enjoy, can improve your intellect by stretching your mind to think about things you normally don’t think about. Listening to audio books is another great option which allows you to continue other activities like driving.

7) Train your brain.

You can have endless fun with this. Crossword and Sudoku puzzles immediately come to mind. Crosswords and Sudoku are leisure activities that increase intellectual ability. Working through puzzles or finding words in patterns uses a great amount of brain power, creating new pathways in the brain, enabling you to function at a higher level.

6) Continue learning.

Things are moving so fast that we don’t actually have a choice, we have to keep learning and adjusting. The workplace, your industry will force you. Best to develop an aptitude for continued learning. It’s necessary for survival, let alone success. In fact, career success and success in life depends on our willingness to learn.

In the words of Anthony J. D’Angelo: Develop a passion for learning. If you do, you will never cease to grow.

5) Get into a debating habit.

Debate an issue with a friend or family member, but be sure to choose the viewpoint opposite to the one you hold. By focusing attention on information that is different than your beliefs, your intellect is challenged and your brain develops new neurological pathways. We tend to focus our attention on our own opinions, beliefs, and facts that hold true for us. Exposing the mind to opposing ideas, expands its horizons and your ability to grasp different points of view, contributing to a more tolerant and open-minded attitude, useful in negotiations in all walks of life.

4) Learn a foreign language.

Because language is complex, speaking or learning a foreign language gives your brain a good workout. Learning another language is one of the most effective and practical ways to increase intelligence, keep your mind sharp, and has the added benefit of increased tolerance, because in learning a new language you also learn about the culture in which the language operates.

3) Physical activity.

Physical exercise is not only important for your body’s health- it also helps your brain to stay sharp. The brain is like anything else in your body–you either use it or you lose it. We actually get a brain boost by visiting the gym. Physical exercise have positive effects on brain function on multiple fronts by increasing the size of the brain and improving general health, this new study shows.

2) Get enough sleep.

This point can’t be stressed enough. Research has proven that when we are sleep deprived, it puts our performance in jeopardy and it impacts everyone around us. Extensive research has proven that sleep deprivation is the antithesis of optimal intellectual performance. Studies have shown that working through the night has the same effect on the brain as being intoxicated. Getting enough sleep is crucial of optimal functioning and it’s a simple thing to do, but most of us don’t realize it.

1) Dress the part or fall apart.

When we put on certain clothes we might more readily take on a role that might affect our intellectual abilities, in other words, what we wear has a direct impact on our intelligence. Amazing, right?

You may have heard of the study that had people dressing up in doctors white coats. Dressed in that professional garb, study subjects performed the way they believed a qualified doctor would, with care and focus, in other words, more intelligently.

The phenomenon actually has a name: enclothed cognition — the effects of clothing on cognitive processes.

So, how we dress affects our own behavior and of course, it also has an impact on how others perceive us and our intellectual capacity.

NOW READ: People are baffled about how many squares are in this picture. We reveal the correct answer.

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Justin Brown

I'm Justin Brown, the founder of Ideapod. I've overseen the evolution of Ideapod from a social network for ideas into a publishing and education platform with millions of monthly readers and multiple products helping people to think critically, see issues clearly and engage with the world responsibly.

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