Advertising
Advertising

5 Simple Ways to Get Smarter in Life and Business

5 Simple Ways to Get Smarter in Life and Business

Although intelligence means something different to everyone, psychologists and scientists have tried to pin it down to just our IQ, as if a number can be representative of our entire mind. They used to believe that intelligence is entirely inherited. This means you’re either born with or you aren’t, and it can’t be changed or improved upon.

Today, we understand that intelligence is a much more abstract concept. It is not set in stone. It can be influenced by our environment, our mindsets, and our commitment to constantly improve ourselves.

There are two key factors over which we have control if we want to get smarter.

1. The environment we choose.

This is the classic Nature vs Nurture debate.

Nature: our genetic makeup.

Nurture: the environmental factors which influence our development.

Turns out it is not so much Nature vs. Nurture as it is Nature and Nurture, more specifically how they interact. Intelligence is only partially inherited. The full potential of our intelligence is determined by the environment we set it in. This means the people we surround ourselves with, the new challenges we give ourselves, and the shows we choose to watch, are just a few examples of factors that influence our intelligence. Nature and nurture interact together to create intelligence. Even though we can’t (yet) change our genes, we are in control of many factors in your own environment.

Advertising

2. The mindset we choose.

What about when things happen in our environment, which we have no control over? It comes down to our mindset.

Current research indicates that the only limit to one’s intelligence is what the individual believes is possible and how their behaviors either foster or limit their intelligence.

What does this mean? 

If you have always been told you are unintelligent by your teachers or your family members you are likely to have set a mental limit for yourself and what you can achieve, thus preventing you from reaching your full potential.

Michael Strasner, personal and professional coach for over thirty years, says our beliefs come from our past experiences and the interpretations we make from those events.

When we make the effort to identify the negative beliefs we have about ourselves and remove them from our thoughts then we are truly free to become anything we want, including more intelligent.

Choose the growth mindset.

Advertising

The growth mindset, a concept founded by psychologist Carol Dweck, perfectly describes the qualities which are essential to developing our intelligence.

dweck_mindset

    The qualities are:

    • Embracing challenges
    • Persisting in the face of setbacks
    • Viewing effort as the path to mastery
    • Learning from criticism
    • Finding lessons and inspiration in the success of others

    Ironically, we sometimes need to make mistakes and immerse ourselves in situations where we are in a state of disequilibrium in order to improve our intelligence. Although this may initially feel uncomfortable, it ultimately brings us much further in life than the person who’s main goal it is to appear smart in the eyes of others.

    4 Simple Ways to Get Smarter

    1. Challenge Yourself

    Lev Vygotsky developed the theory of the Zone of Proximal Development during the last ten years of his life. He believed the optimal tasks for developing our cognitive abilities are ones which are too difficult for us to master on our own, but we are able to complete with some assistance from more capable peers.

    As soon as a task becomes effortless for us to complete on our own, it is a sign that we are not challenging ourselves enough and are not encouraging any potential growth in that specific area.

    Are there any areas in your own life where the tasks have stopped requiring your conscious effort? Unless you don’t wish to improve, don’t get too comfortable.

    Intelligence is like a muscle. It can’t become stronger if it is not challenged by heavier weights and exercises.

    Advertising

    2. Read Smarter

    Reading just about anything will improve your awareness and open your mind to new thoughts and ideas.

    According to an article by Glen Stansberry, “Those that read have higher GPA’s, higher intelligence, and general knowledge than those that don’t.”

    While the concept of reading books to get smarter is not exactly novel (pardon the pun), few of us actually do it.

    The reason is: we’re not reading smart. We can read even more books by increasing our reading speed, using technology like Spritz, and even dropping the books we don’t love.

    687474703a2f2f692e696d6775722e636f6d2f4c4f746d7966392e676966

      If you haven’t read our article on how to read over 60+ books a year, I highly recommend checking it out.

      3. Hangout With People Who Are Smarter Than You

      Perhaps we aren’t exactly, as Jim Rohn said, “the average of the five people you spend the most time with” but he was definitely heading in the right direction.

      No matter how strong we are, those closest to us can (and will) have an impact on our behaviors, thoughts, and feelings.

      Advertising

      It may feel more comfortable to have friends who aren’t overachievers, because it takes the pressure off of us, but ultimately one of the best ways to become more intelligent and grow as a person is to surround ourselves with intelligent and ambitious people.

      The same goes for when we surround ourselves with people who genuinely believe we are intelligent and capable. They will subconsciously show more respect and enthusiasm towards our abilities and ourselves.

      We register these slight differences in behavior and mirror their high expectations with our excellent results.

      4. Become an Idea Machine

      In James Altucher’s new book, The Choose Yourself Guide to Wealth, he shares a daily habit of his with fellow readers. Everyday, no matter what, he writes down 10 new ideas.

      It is easier said than done. Altucher says, the more we practice it, the easier it will become for us to think of ideas and solutions during times of conflict, where it is essential to be able to react quickly.

      You might choose to write all of these ideas in one sitting, or you could carry around a small notepad and write down any ideas you have sporadically throughout the day.

      Conclusion

      I genuinely believe everyone is intelligent and capable of enhancing their own intelligence.

      The tips in this article are meant to help you see measurable changes in the way you think, the ideas you have, and the challenges you are able to face in real life. By measurable, I don’t mean an IQ test or your grades in school, but the progress you make towards your goals and the future you desire.

      Over to You

      Which of these tips to get smarter resonates with you? Are there any that you have not been utilizing?

      This was originally posted on Rype’s blog.

      More by this author

      Sean Kim

      Sean is the founder and CEO of Pulsing. He's an entrepreneur and blogger.

      7 Hardest Languages to Learn For English Speakers 7 Most Important Languages For English Speakers to Learn By 2020 18 Free Language Apps That Are Actually Fun to Use 10 Websites To Learn Something New In 30 Minutes A Day 7 Best Language Learning Apps and Websites

      Trending in Career Advice

      1 Clueless On Your Career? Sabbatical vs. Career Break 2 9 Tips for Starting a New Job and Succeeding in Your Career 3 10 Essential Career Change Questions To Ask Yourself This Year 4 10 Job Search Tools Every Jobseekers Need To Know About 5 If You Have This Key Behavior, You’ll Be More Successful Than 90% Of People

      Read Next

      Advertising
      Advertising
      Advertising

      Last Updated on August 19, 2019

      20 Critical Skills to Include on Your Resume (For All Types of Jobs)

      20 Critical Skills to Include on Your Resume (For All Types of Jobs)

      A resume describes your critical skills in a way that compels a hiring manager to want to meet you. That is a resume’s sole purpose.

      And make no mistake: Writing a resume is an art.

      Today each corporate job opening attracts 250 resumes on average, and somehow yours will need to rise above the competition. It’s actually harder to snag an interview from an online posting than to get into Harvard. But don’t let that intimidate you. Instead, open your laptop, roll up your proverbial sleeves, and let’s get to work!


      Employers generally prefer candidates with skills that show leadership ability, problem-solving ability, and perseverance through challenges. So in the resume, you should demonstrate that you’re a dynamic candidate.

      Refine the skills on your resume so that you incorporate these resume “musts:”

      1. Leadership Ability

      Even an entry-level employee can show leadership. Point out how your skills helped your department ascend to a new level. Capture leadership attributes with compelling statements.

      Example:

      “Led change that drove efficiency and an ability to cut 800 error-free payroll checks.”

      2. Problem-Solving Ability

      Most employees are hired to solve problems. Showcase that ability on your resume.

      Example:

      “Led staff in campaign to outrival top competitor’s market share during a down cycle.”

      3. Perseverance

      Have you been promoted several times? Or have you maintained margins in a down cycle? Both achievements demonstrate persistence. You look like someone who can navigate roadblocks.

      4. Technical Skills

      Consider including a Key Skills or Technology Skills section in which you list computer and software skills.

      Example:

      “Expert-level knowledge in Java.”

      Advertising

      5. Quantified Results

      Nothing is quite as attractive as objective results. Did you increase sales by 25 percent? Win three new clients? Surpass the internal goal by 15 percent?

      Use hard-hitting numbers to express your point. State the result first, and then provide a sentence or phrase describing the critical skills you applied to achieve the milestone.

      Example:

      “Boosted sales by 200 percent by developing new online platform that made it easier for customers to compare and contrast sizes, textures, and fit.”

      6. People Skills

      Employers prefer congenial staff members to prima donnas or mavericks. Relate your strongest soft skills.

      Example:

      “Organized, hard-working staffer who listens well and communicates effectively.”

      7. Passion in the Field

      Recruiters and hiring managers can intuit whether candidates care about their career performance by the dynamism behind the descriptions of their skills on their resumes. Are your efforts “transformational” or merely “useful?” Were your results “game-changing” or boringly “appropriate?”

      The tenor of your words reveals whether you’re passionate or passive. (But don’t overdo it. See the “Hyperbole” section below.)

      8. Being the Entrepreneur within the Corporation

      Whether you took the initiative to create a new synergy or worked independently to land an opportunity, share how you furthered organizational goals through your self-directed efforts.

      9. Your Adaptability

      Have you switched career paths? Weathered a corporate takeover?

      Make it clear that your resilience helped get you and your organization through the turbulence.

      10. Confirming Your Expertise

      Every job posting states experience requirements. Ideally, you want to meet these requirements or best them. But don’t exaggerate.


      While proving that you possess the credentials described in the job posting, you can still stand out if you are able to offer additional special skills to showcase your personality.

      Advertising

      Consider adding any of these special accomplishments, if true:

      11. Referencing Award-Winning Talents

      If you played center on your college basketball team that made it into the Top 10 finals, then working collaboratively and cooperatively are among your natural callings. Be sure to say so.

      12. Unveiling Your Work Persona

      If you were repeatedly singled out for your stellar performance in work settings, becoming employee-of-the-month, top revenue generator, and so on — it’s worth mentioning.

      13. Capitalizing on Commonalities

      From Googling the hiring manager, you discover that she was formerly a Peace Corps volunteer in Belize. Listing your Spanish immersion course in Central America may draw her attention to the other outstanding skills on your resume.

      14. Highlighting Creative Tactics

      If, for example, in your HR role, you piloted an employee incentive program that became an industry model, include it. Such innovative thinking will command an employer’s attention.

      15. Specifying All Accolades

      Listing any honors received instills confidence that you will bring that level of perfectionism forward in a corporate environment.

      16. Transferable Skills

      You spend your spare time conducting your community orchestra. Highlight this after-hours pursuit to show that you have the critical skills needed to keep a team on task.


      Take note: Hyperbole can hurt you. So, show your credibility.

      Although it may be tempting to use embellishments to boost your experience, improve your job title, or enhance your education, resist. These days, a five-minute search will reveal the truth. And taking self-inflation too far could easily come back to destroy your career.

      Hiring managers have their antenna up for resume hyperbole. A survey shows that 53 percent are suspicious that candidates are often dishonest.

      Follow these guiding principles when writing your own resume:

      17. Accurately Describing Your Degree

      Make sure to differentiate between certificates attained and degrees earned, along with the name of the institution awarding them.

      Advertising

      18. Stating Job Duration with Honest Dates

      Honesty is the only policy when reporting the length of a particular job. If you’ve been out of work for an extended period of time, state the reason you have gaps.

      Whether you traveled, had to cope with a family emergency, or went back to school to change your professional track, communicate the positive outcome that came from the hiatus.

      19. Claiming Only the Skills You Truly Possess

      Unless you’re proficient in a software program or are fluent in a second language, leave any mention of them off.

      Conversely, if you feel like you must include them, then accurately qualify your level of competence.

      20. Being Honest About Your Role in a Project

      You may think you were the lead person because you did most of the work, but chances are your supervisor thinks otherwise.

      Besides the 20 critical skills to include on your resume, here’re some important notes for you.

      Bonus Tips for Writing a Resume

      You Only Have 6 to 7 Seconds to Impress the Employer

      Hiring managers and artificial intelligence “bots” may spend only 6 to 7 seconds perusing your resume, which means you need it to teem with essential skills, quantifiable achievements, and action words.

      If, in fact, you believe that a “bot” will be analyzing your resume before it even lands on a hiring manager’s desk, be sure to include some of the actual key words from the posting in your document. There’s no reason why you can’t customize your resume to each job posting.

      Another tip: Be sure to show your resume to a few individuals who work in your field, so that you can fine-tune the information as needed.

      Starting at the Top

      The Objective at the top of your resume is optional if you’re seeking the same job you already have, just at different company. However, if you’re switching fields, it’s critical to include an Objective, which is a one-sentence summary of the job you want.

      For example:

      Objective: To become web editor at a thriving news website.

      Advertising

      If you’ve been in your field for ten years or more, you will probably want to include an Executive Summary. This is a one-sentence takeaway about who you are, including the critical skills you amassed throughout your career.

      For example:

      Executive Summary: Award-winning creative director with over ten years experience managing teams on three continents.

      Depending on your field, you may also want to add some skills as bullet points in the Executive Summary section.

      And what about your Education? If you graduated from college within the past ten years, include your Education just below the Objective section (and forgo the Executive Summary). If it’s been over ten years since you graduated, then include your Education at the very end of your resume. Only cite your grade point average (G.P.A.) if it was exceptional—3.7 G.P.A. or higher, or if you won scholastic awards.

      Ideally, the critical skills you amassed during college, at your previous job, and throughout your career will add up to a riveting portrait of a professional who’s ideally suited for your dream position: You.

      Tailor, Tweak, and Fine-Tune

      If you’re targeting different kinds of organizations, you’ll need customized resumes for each outreach.

      Don’t be afraid to parrot some of the words on the list of requirements back to the company. Many times, organizations will actually use the key words mentioned in the job posting when screening resumes.

      Approach Your Resume as a Skills-Based Story

      Like any good storyteller, lay out the framework at the beginning. Include the skills you’ve mastered and state how you can add value—wording your sentences in a way that reflects the specific job you’re seeking.

      Are you vying for a sales position? Quantify your results: “Responsible for 50 percent of all sales that resulted in $750,000 in annual revenue.” Use your critical skills, peppered throughout your resume, to tell the exciting story of your distinguished professional career!

      Researching the organization that you’re targeting will help you make your examples specific. Does the company cater to a particular audience or clientele? Be sure to note any experiences you’ve had with similar audiences.

      Putting It All Together

      A resume is not a laundry list. It tells a cohesive story. Your story should highlight your qualifications and critical skills in a way that makes a logical, well-constructed case for your compatibility with the organization and its advertised position.

      Packaging your story into the concisely prescribed format of a resume means that it will read as a synopsis — one that will hopefully land you the job.

      More About Work Skills

      Featured photo credit: Bram Naus via unsplash.com

      Read Next