Here at Zappoint we don't print our IQ on our business cards, but we do care about stimulating our brains to the max. So we're always on the hunt for ways to improve our braininess. One such hunt recently took us to a Quora thread about THINGS YOU CAN DO EVERYDAY TO GET SMARTER.
It's a long list but I picked out 10 that you can implement immediately see significant results. Here they are:
1. Come up with 10 ideas every day. Think about how to reduce poverty, how to solve a daily problem you have, interesting movie ideas, or anything. It doesn't matter what subject your ideas fall into, as long as you're working your brain and your idea muscles. Your list might even lead to a new startup idea or writing subject.
2. Play devil's advocate. Take something you recently learned and generate a unique opinion on it that wouldn't immediately come to mind. Try to support it with evidence, and be open to the idea that new evidence will change your opinion. Repeat this every day, and you'll become much better at thinking outside the box.
If you're feeling stuck, try reading and critically evaluating the editorial section of papers. They will help you understand how other people form arguments and express their opinions.
3. Read a chapter in a fiction or non-fiction book. Aim to read a book a week. You can always find pockets of time to read, whether on your daily commute or while you're waiting in line. Goodreads is a great way to keep track of everything you read and to also find a community of other readers.
Fiction books are great for understanding characters and getting absorbed into another perspective, while non-fiction books are great for introducing you to new topics, from politics to psychology.
4. Instead of watching TV, watch educational videos. Sometimes, it's more fun to watch things about a subject you love than to read about it, and you can learn a lot from other people's experiences.
You can find fun, educational videos on Khan Academy or watch TED talks. You can also find good ones on Youtube's channel SmarterEveryDay. In videos, the information is often presented in a digestible, memorable way, so you can be assured they'll stick.
5. Subscribe to feeds of interesting information. Follow interesting voices on Facebook and Twitter, so you'll always learn something new when you look at your newsfeed or dashboard. For example, if you want to keep up with the latest news in science and technology, subscribe to the "I Fucking Love Science" page on Facebook. You can also follow email newsletters, such as Cal Newport's Study Hacks and Today I Found Out.
6. Share what you learn with other people.
If you find someone to debate and analyze ideas with, you can add to each other's knowledge and gain new perspectives. Also, when you can explain ideas to someone else, it means you've definitely mastered the concept. You can even share what you learn without directly talking to someone. Many people like to start blogs so they can engage others in online dialogue. =
7. Make an "I Did" list.
At the end of each day, write down what you completed. This will help you feel better about all the things you accomplished, especially if you're feeling discouraged. It will also help you reflect on how productive you were and how you can re-structure your to-do lists for the next day.
8. Stimulate your mind. Going on a daily run is a great way to get your brain flowing and to keep your mental health in shape. It's also a great way to think through difficult decisions or process new information.
9. Hang out with people who are smarter than you.
Spend as much time as you can with smart people. Every day, you should strive to have a coffee date or walk with someone who inspires you.
Always be humble and willing to learn. Ask as many questions as possible. If you are always around people who are more knowledgeable than you, you'll have no choice but to learn more.
10. Do something scary.
"Getting out of our comfort zone always makes us wiser." Every day, push yourself a little further. Try public speaking by joining a ToastMasters class, lead a meeting by volunteering a proposal at work, or reach out to someone you really admire by sending a quick letter or email.