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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 February 15, 2019

      How to Achieve Goals and Increase Your Chance of Success

      How to Achieve Goals and Increase Your Chance of Success

      Does it ever feel like the things you want to accomplish always end up on the back burner? If the answer to that question is “yes,” you’re not alone. Only about 33% of people consistently work toward their goals. In some cases, their goals may seem too lofty to accomplish, or else they aren’t sure how to make a plan for them.

      If you don’t come up with concrete steps to take toward your goals, they’ll remain dreams. There’s nothing wrong with being a dreamer, but being able to turn your dreams into goals you can realize will help you lead a happier and more fulfilling life.

      Luckily, you can realize almost any dream when you harness the right goal-setting methods.

      In this article, I’ll show you how to achieve goals and get closer you success.

      1. Break your dreams down into specific and measurable steps

      We couldn’t talk about goal-setting without mentioning SMART goals.

      SMART goals are specific, measurable, assignable, realistic, and time-related.

      Specific and measurable steps are so important because if we don’t know what our target it, how can we ever hit it?

      Take all those beautiful dreams you have for yourself and make them into things you can actually do. If you want to be an entrepreneur, for example, a step toward realizing your dream might be researching what you’ll need to start your business.

      Find out more tips about utilizing SMART goals here:

      How to Use SMART Goal to Become Highly Successful in Life

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      2. Have at least one clearly defined goal for every interest and role in your life

      It’s so easy to become complacent or stagnate. We often think that our careers are the only places where we need to set goals, but we aren’t only what we do.

      To make the most of your life, take the approach that you’re always learning and growing in everything you do. Anything worth doing is worth doing well after all.

      Set goals whether you’re sponsoring an activity for your child, taking up guitar lessons or trying to prove your worth at work.

      You’ll notice that this approach forces you to constantly develop new skills. It can also be fulfilling to put more focus and value into all areas of your life— not just the ones related to our careers.

      3. Align your goals with your life’s mission, purpose and passion

      Take the opportunity to do some soul-searching. What is it that you want to do with this precious life of yours?

      Anything that conflicts with your life’s purpose is bound to cause discontent. Staying in a bad relationship, doing a job that goes against your values, or maintaining the status quo just because it’s comfortable are not options for you.

      Thinking about your goals in this way can help you eliminate things in your life that don’t serve you. This frees up mental space that you can use to do the things you care about the most.

      Many of us struggle to find the time to work on our goals, but this strategy enables you to make more time.

      4. Create goals that ignite your spirit and inspire you to take action

      If you can’t be fired up about your goals from the start, they might not be good goals for you.

      The road to success is often tough. You’re going to have times when you might feel tired or discouraged.

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      You need to feel inspired enough that you’ll be able to overcome obstacles as you encounter them.

      If what you’re doing motivates you to be the greatest version of yourself, you’ll be much more resilient.

      5. Write down all your goals in specific, measurable detail

      This is your road map for what success will look like. The more you define what you want the finished product to be, the greater the chance that you’ll reach that vision.

      When you write down your goals, you’re creating a document that you can revisit to make sure you’re on track.

      When you’re in the middle of trying to achieve a big goal, it can be hard to see what’s working for you. The things you write in this step will help you stay on-message as you take your goals out of your mind and into the real world.

      Don’t just write down your goals and stash them away in a folder somewhere. Take the extra step to put them somewhere where you’ll see them.[1]

      If you have too many goals to post on your desk, write a summary or choose one or two steps to work on for the day. Just seeing them will keep them in the front of your mind.

      6. Commit to hitting each of your targets without exception

      You wouldn’t have created the target if you didn’t think it was necessary. Hold yourself accountable for taking the steps to succeed.

      You can always adapt your strategy or break your targets into smaller steps if you find that they aren’t attainable as you originally wrote them.

      Hitting even the smallest target is cause for a celebration. It’s a step in the positive direction. Your success will make you crave more success.

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      We often make excuses when we get tired or overwhelmed. Take away the option to make excuses. You will only be satisfied with the best effort from yourself.

      7. Share your goals with others to motivate each other

      There’s something so powerful about people sharing their goals and dreams with one another. Doing so gives voice to some part of us that could remain hidden (and therefore never be accomplished).

      When other people know about your goals, they can cheer you on and hold you accountable. When people share their vision with you, you can do the same for them.

      This strategy is particularly beneficial when you’re trying to develop healthy habits. Post about your workout on social media, or do a healthy eating challenge with your best friend. You’ll be less likely to slack when temptation arises, and you’ll probably encourage someone else to reach for their goals too.

      8. Set a series of daily, weekly and long-term goals, complete with starting times and deadlines

      Many goals never reach realization simply because the goal-setter doesn’t check their progress. People tend to forget what they set out to do, or their goal gets crowded out by other obligations.

      Forcing yourself to revisit your goals at regular intervals breaks them into smaller steps and it reminds you to think about them.

      Giving yourself regular deadlines for smaller tasks related to your goals also helps you reflect on your strategy. You’ll figure out what works for you, whether your timeline is realistic, and whether or not you need additional help to stay on track.

      In addition, celebrating small wins helps you stay motivated. Here’s how:

      How To Celebrate Small Wins To Achieve Big Goals

      9. Take 10 minutes every day to imagine how great it will feel to achieve your goals

      Visualization is such a powerful tool. Some of the most successful athletes, celebrities and business people take time each day to think about how success looks and feels for them.[2] Imagining that feeling of satisfaction can be a great motivator.

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      When you do meet your goals, take some time to be grateful. Thank yourself for showing up and doing the work. Be grateful when the stars align properly to help you advance to the next step.

      It’s not just getting to the destination of your goals that matters. How you take the journey is important too.

      10. Take an action step toward reaching your goals every day

      Your goals can easily get buried in the hustle and the bustle. Even the smallest step in the right direction is still moving you forward.

      Keep chipping away at the work every day and before long, you’ll start to see those dreams come to life.

      Maybe you didn’t start your business today but you designed the logo that’s going to go on your website and business cards. Doing that task well is going to help you so much in the long run.

      Concrete actions day by day draw your dreams out of obscurity and into the realm of possibility.

      The Bottom Line

      Dreams can inspire and overwhelm us. By turning our dreams into goals that we can work toward, we increase our chances of success. Things that once seemed impossible are suddenly within reach.

      It’s time to start turning your dreams into goals and your goals into realities. Change begins today.

      More Resources About Setting & Achieving Goals

      Featured photo credit: Andrew Neel via unsplash.com

      Reference

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