You might be under the impression that intelligence is a fixed quantity set when you are young and unchanging thereafter. But research shows that you’re wrong. How we approach situations and the things we do to feed our brains can significantly improve our mental horsepower.
That could mean going back to school or filling your bookshelves (or e-reader) with thick tomes on deep subjects, but getting smarter doesn’t necessarily mean a huge commitment of time and energy, according to a recent thread on question-and-answer site Quora.
1. Be smarter about your online time.
Every online break doesn’t have to be about checking social networks, and fulfilling your daily ration of picture addiction. The Web is also full of great learning resources, such as online courses, intriguing TED talks, and vocabulary-building tools. Replace a few minutes of snapchat, Instagram or twitter with something more mentally nourishing- a book or an article here or there.
2. Write down what you learn.
It doesn’t have to be pretty or long, but taking a few minutes each day to reflect in writing about what you learned is sure to boost your brainpower. “Write 400 words a day on things that you learned,”.
3. Make a ‘did’ list.
A big part of intelligence is confidence and happiness, so boost both by pausing to list not the things you have yet to do, but rather all the things you’ve already accomplished. The idea of a ‘done list’ is summed up in “Make an I DID list to show all the things you, in fact, accomplished,”.
4. Get out the Scrabble board.
Board games and puzzles aren’t just fun, but also a great way to work out your brain. “Play games (Scrabble, chess, Battleship, doesn’t matter),” “Play Scrabble with no help from hints or books,”.
5. Have smart friends.
It can be rough on your self-esteem, but hanging out with folks who are more clever than you is one of the fastest ways to learn. “Keep a smart company. Remember your IQ is the average of five closest people you hang out with. Surround yourself with smarter people. Always be humble and be willing to learn.”
6. Read a lot.
OK, this is not a shocker, but it was the most common response: Reading definitely seems essential. Opinions vary on what’s the best brain-boosting reading material, with suggestions ranging from developing a daily newspaper habit to picking up a variety of fiction and nonfiction, but everyone seems to agree that quantity is important. Read a lot.