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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.

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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.

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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.

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    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.

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      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.

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      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.

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      Last Updated on June 13, 2019

      15 Best Entrepreneurs Books to Start Reading Now to Be Successful

      15 Best Entrepreneurs Books to Start Reading Now to Be Successful

      Knowledge is power, and you’re going to need a lot of it if you’re going to be able to steer your business to success.

      Without further ado, let’s take a look at the 15 best entrepreneurs books to get inspirations about success and grow your business.

      1. Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill

        This book has been dubbed the Granddaddy of All Motivational Literature, and it was actually the first book that gave a prescription of what it takes to be a winner.

        Napoleon Hill draws from the stories of millionaires like Henry Ford, Andrew Carnegie, and Thomas Edison to illustrate the principles he put forth.

        Get the book here!

        2. The Lean Startup by Eric Reis

          A lot of startups end up failing, but many of these failures are actually avoidable. The Lean Startup provides a different approach that is now being adopted all over the world and changing the way that companies are developed and products are being launched.

          In The Lean Startup, Eric Reis describes what is required for a company to penetrate the fog of uncertainty in order to discover a path to a sustainable and successful business.

          Get the book here!

          3. The E-Myth Revisited by Michael E. Gerber

            In a revised edition of the 150,000-copy bestseller, The E-Myth, Michael Gerber refutes some of the myths that surround starting your own business and shows just how commonplace assumptions can end up getting in the way of being able to run a successful business.

            Gerber succeeds in walking the reader through the steps that occur in the life of a business, from infancy, through the pains of growing as an adolescent, to the perspective of the mature entrepreneur.

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            Get the book here!

            4. Rework by Jason Fried

              Most of the business books that you get today will give you the same advice: draft a business plan, study the competition, look for investors, and all that.

              However, Rework shows you a more effective, easier and faster means of succeeding when running a business. By reading it, you’ll be able to know why some plans are harmful, why you don’t really need to get investors, and why you’re better of shutting out your competition.

              Get the book here!

              5. How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie

                This is one of the most successful motivational books in history, selling well over 15 million copies since it was released in 1936. The book is timeless, and it appeals to businesses, self-help startups, and general readers.

                Carnegie believes that a lot of successes come from an ability to communicate rather than having brilliant insights. In his book, he teaches how to value others and make them feel appreciated and loved.

                Get the book here!

                6. Outliers: The Story of Success by Malcolm Gladwell

                  Through this amazing book, Malcolm Gladwell is able to take the reader on an intellectual journey through the world of ‘outliers’. He asks the question of what truly differentiates high-achievers.

                  His answer to this question is that we tend to pay too much attention to what successful people are like, and less attention to where they are actually from.

                  Get the book here!

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                  7. Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert T. Kiyosaki

                    This is the best personal finance book ever written. It tells the story of Kiyosaki and his two fathers; his real father, and that of his best friend (his rich dad), as well as how the two men helped him shape his opinions on money and investing.

                    It refutes the myth that you need to earn high to become rich, and it distinguishes between working for money and having money work for you.

                    Get the book here!

                    8. The Ascent of Money: The Financial History of the World by Niall Ferguson

                      Niall Ferguson, in this book, follows the money to tell the story behind the evolution of the word’s financial system, from the beginning way back in ancient Mesopotamia to the latest occurrences in what he had dubbed Planet Finance.

                      Fergusson also reveals financial history as the backstory behind our very own history, with an argument that the evolution of debt and credit is as significant as the history of technological innovation and the rise of civilization.

                      Get the book here!

                      9. Liar’s Poker by Michael Lewis

                        Michael Lewis landed a job at Salomon Brothers after getting out of the London School of Economics and Princeton within three years, he had risen to the rank of bond salesman, making millions for the firm and cashing out steadily.

                        Liar’s Poker is the amalgamation of these years — a look behind the scenes at one of the most turbulent times in American business. His book is Lewis’s account of an era where greed and gluttony were the order of the day.

                        Get the book here!

                        10. Drive: The Surprising Truth about What Motivates Us by Michael H. Pink

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                          A lot of people see money as the best motivator. Michael pink says it’s a mistake.

                          In this provocative book, he asserts that the secret to high performance anywhere is the need to direct our lives, to learn and create, and to do better by our world and ourselves.

                          Get the book here!

                          11. Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity by David Allen

                            Outdated methods don’t work in today’s world. In this book, Allen shares some awesome methods for stress-free performance that he has shared with thousands of people all over the world.

                            His premise? That productivity is proportional to your ability to relax.

                            Get the book here!

                            12. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey

                              In this book, Stephen Covey presents a holistic approach for overcoming both professional and personal issues. With insights and anecdotes, Covey presents a way to live with integrity fairness, service and dignity.

                              Get the book here!

                              13. The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape the 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich by Tim Ferriss

                                In this book, Ferriss dishes on the tips he has learned from studying the New Rich, a subculture of people who did away with the deferred life plan and mastered time and mobility to developed luxury lifestyles for themselves.

                                If you’re looking to make your way in this revolutionary new world, this here is your compass.

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                                Get the book here!

                                14. Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion, and Purpose by Tony Hsieh

                                  The CEO of Zappos shows how a unique kind of corporate identity can help deliver a huge difference in the way results are being achieved — by creating a company that values and delivers happiness.

                                  Get the book here!

                                  15. Losing My Virginity: How I Survived, Had Fun, and Made a Fortune Doing Business My Way by Richard Branson

                                    From Virgin Atlantic Airways, Virgin Records and V2 to Virgin Cola, Virgin Megastores and a wide array of other companies, Richard Branson is the rockstar billionaire that a lot of us want to be.

                                    Branson, however, did business by following a simple philosophy:

                                    “Oh, screw it, let’s do it”

                                    Losing My Virginity is an unusual, borderline outrageous autobiography of one of the greatest business geniuses in the world. Branson and his friends named their business “Virgin” because that was what they were — virgins at the game.

                                    Since then, he’s written his success rules, creating a global business that has no headquarters, no management structure no corporate identity as it were.

                                    Get the book here!

                                    More Inspirations for Entrepreneurs

                                    Featured photo credit: rawpixel via unsplash.com

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