Are you tired of feeling like you haven’t unlocked your smart gene? Do you want to know the secret to being more creative, having a great memory, and excelling in problem-solving?
Some people have an easier time understanding maths or coming up with out-of-this-world solutions.
But they’re not inherently smarter than you. We’re all born with a clean slate.
Science has proved that neuroplasticity exists. With practice, you can grow brain cells and get good at just about anything that really interests you!
Habits change lives. And they can make you smarter. Think about it:
Doing something daily for a week will give you a week’s worth of practice. You’ll have seven days of experience, insights, and brain cell development that you didn’t have before.
But what exactly should you do?
Well, the internet is full of ideas. You can choose between hundreds of habits. But there are nine that I found particularly effective. Here they are:
Meditation can help to improve your focus, attention, and cognitive function. If you regularly meditate, you can train your mind to be present. This will enhance your ability to think clearly and solve problems.
Starting is simple. This is what I do:
- I find a quiet and comfortable space to lie down without distractions. Contrary to what you may think, you don’t have to sit like a monk! I like meditating in a different spot each day.
- While keeping my eyes closed, I take a few deep breaths. This helps me relax.
- I focus on my breathing, the sensations in my body, and finally, the things I want for my life.
- If a negative thought pops up, I acknowledge it and let it go.
You’ll get the hang of it if you do it daily. Start with a few minutes and gradually increase the time.
If you’re into manifestation (which I highly recommend), you can focus on whatever you want to manifest while meditating.
Meditation is also a great way to spark creativity. Think about whatever inspires you and…
2) Write down your ideas.
Writing down your ideas stimulates your brain by improving your creativity. When you do this, you’re actively engaging your mind.
If you aim for a specific number of ideas, you’ll challenge your brain even more!
You can approach this habit however you like. Meditation is just one way.
Sometimes I prefer setting aside time in the morning. On other days my ideas come flooding at night. Whatever works best for you is fine.
Grab a notebook or digital tool and write down ideas related to personal goals, hobbies, or even random concepts. The key is to keep your brain active and encourage it to generate more thoughts.
You can also do this when you…
Reading is another excellent exercise for the mind. It exposes you to new ideas, perspectives, and information.
But I know what you’re thinking:
Picking up a book and making time to actually read it is a schlep. And where would you even begin? Fiction? Non-fiction?
Truth is – it doesn’t matter! And you do have time.
Reading has nothing to do with books. You can literally explore different subjects in the palm of your hand. Like you’re doing right now!
You just have to know what to look for. Here are some ideas:
- Take something you’re interested in but know nothing about, and look it up on Wikipedia. Cross-reference everything that stands out.
- Search for experts in the field you’d like to excel in. Look for their blogs, articles they’ve written, and inspirational quotes they’ve shared.
- Think about practical things you want to learn. Search for how-to’s, hacks, and tips.
Get into the habit of reading for 10 – 15 minutes daily. You can do it when you wake up, during your lunch break, or just before bed.
If you incorporate reading into an existing routine, you’re more likely to stick to it. You can also join a support group or book club. Besides support, you’ll get the opportunity to…
4) Talk to smart people.
Surrounding yourself with people who know a thing or two can help you become smarter.
Apart from sharing what they know, they’ll also:
- Challenge your perspectives.
- Introduce you to new ideas.
- Offer valuable feedback if you ask for it.
Now you’re probably thinking, “How can I identify smart people to talk to?”
Have you ever wondered why some people always talk about specific things? Being interested in those topics is just one reason.
Another is that whatever people talk about often is likely what they have the most knowledge of. You should actively seek out conversations on these subjects with them.
And when you’re in the midst of it…
5) Ask questions.
It sounds simple enough, doesn’t it?
Getting in the habit of asking questions is essential for intellectual growth. And honestly, whatever is on your mind is good.
I used to be afraid to ask silly questions. But I realized that subject experts are so passionate about teaching other people that they don’t mind dumbing down what they know.
Here are some tips when asking questions:
- Avoid yes or no questions and aim for open-ended ones instead.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for clarification.
- Listen actively so you can ask follow-up questions if you need to.
When you’re confident that you know more about the topic…
6) Share what you learned.
Sharing what you know with others is a great way to solidify your understanding and deepen your knowledge.
You can also make it a daily habit to share things you’re already an expert at with people just starting to learn. Retrieving information from your memory to teach others is called “active recall.”
When you do this, you:
- Reinforce what you know
- Identify any gaps there are in your understanding
Believe me – there’s no better way to see how much you know about something than telling others about it and being asked questions.
7) Learn new skills.
Another habit that will instantly make you smarter is learning new skills. Let’s rewind to the start:
When you’re born, you don’t know how to roll, sit, crawl, or walk. Without learning these skills, you’ll never be able to.
Learning skills challenge your brain and expand your capabilities. You rewire your brain to form new neural connections every time you do.
It’s easy to learn new skills. You don’t have to aim for the most complicated one on someone else’s list! Think about your career, hobbies, or anything that interests you.
Choosing skills you will use (even if only once a month) is best.
Once you have a skill in mind, do this:
- Break it down into smaller skills. For example, if you want to learn how to create macrame pieces, start with the basic knots.
- Organize your sources. Look for experts teaching the skill online, in-person workshops, and books or courses.
- Create a learning plan. And stick to it!
Consistency and persistence are key when learning new skills. If you keep at it, you’ll be a master in no time! And once you are, you should…
8) Apply what you learn.
You can’t improve without regularly doing the things you learn. There are many real-world challenges that an online class can’t teach you.
It’s the bridge between theory and practice that really deepens your expertise.
Applying your skills will enhance your problem-solving abilities, critical thinking, and creativity. In short, it makes you smarter!
A few years ago, my husband started learning Bengali. He’d been working with clients who spoke it for months, but since they could speak English, he never really cared about their native language.
Today, he meets them halfway. He’s still far from fluent, but having basic conversations with his clients has helped him strengthen his skill and those relationships.
You shouldn’t be afraid to make mistakes. The only way to learn is through trial and error. Continuously improving your skills is the best way to stimulate your brain.
9) Get enough sleep.
After listing everything you can do, mentioning that you need to get enough sleep to become smarter is appropriate. Don’t you think?
The science behind sleep is complex. But understanding its primary function is pretty straightforward. In a nutshell:
- Your brain’s ability to process information regenerates when you sleep.
- A lack of sleep will make it difficult to concentrate, learn, remember, or respond.
- Sleep also affects other systems in your body. Various studies show that a chronic lack of quality sleep increases your risk of developing health issues, including those that affect the brain.
Getting enough sleep is a habit you absolutely need to get into. Researchers recommend 7 – 8 hours for healthy adults, but you should listen to your body. You might be okay with a little less or need more to function properly.
Keeping your brain refreshed will help you have an easier time creating new, beneficial habits that can make you smarter.
Intelligence is subjective. We all learn differently, and unfortunately, modern school systems can’t accommodate this. Most schools fail to divide students according to what they need or want to learn.
If you went to the same kind of school that I did, you know that the only kids who seemed smart were the ones who excelled in whatever subjects or sports were being taught there.
And if you weren’t one of them, remember that you’re smart too. Ignore what you’ve been conditioned to believe about intelligence and unlock your inner genius with habits that focus on the areas in which you want to grow.