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The Ultimate Guide To Increasing Your Intelligence (Part 1 Of 2)

The Ultimate Guide To Increasing Your Intelligence (Part 1 Of 2)

It’s easy to say to ourselves and one another, “Just follow your dreams and everything will work out.” While the first half of this sentence isn’t necessarily bad advice, it must be balanced with a truth that few people genuinely accept. Yes, pursuing one’s passion has rarely been a poor choice within the heart, but what’s one characteristic we all value for its infinite practicality? That desired trait is intelligence.

If given the chance, we’d all love to be smarter. That is to say, we’d all love to have better and deeper opportunities to use our intelligence. The most surprising thing is everyone does have this chance, it’s just that the windows of opportunity are rarely converted from mere words to defining disciplines.

Before you assume that only some people can be the “Bill Gateses” and “Amancio Ortegas” of the world, I’d like to lay this myth to rest. In 2011, David Shenk published a book called The Genius In All Of Us that effectively and informatively killed the idea that some are “gifted” and others are doomed to scrape out a life of mediocrity. Shenk uses both high-quality research studies and a personal touch via anecdotal elements to deliver an encouraging, honest and challenging book to the reader.

Despite the fact that everyone has untold potential, some still wander through the halls of complacency, while others soar to personal new heights. Individuals who have not achieved what they’ve wanted frequently desire to have better, and those who have already obtained excellence regularly seek to perpetuate it.

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So the question stands: How can everyone increase their intellectual capacity and performance? The following tips provide insight on actions anyone can take to see better results from increasing intelligence.

10. Address Your Habits

Ever since grade school, most of us have learned that habits are important. We use habits to create our livelihood in most ways. It’s how people further root (or remove) both positive and negative behaviors in life. Charles Duhigg proved once and for all in his landmark best-selling book, The Power Of Habit, that habits truly do control everything else in life. Master your habits, and you’ll achieve anything you want – including enriching your intelligence!

9. Sharpen Your Identity Before You Accomplish Your Activity

One of the most overlooked aspects of deepening one’s intelligence is identity. Yes, it’s great to ace that test, finish that project, or close that sale, but none of those accomplishments have gobs of meaning outside of identity. For example, an individual whose primary skill set and passion is music may be an electrician by day to earn an income to cover their bills. Therefore, while growing in their knowledge of electrical systems may be valuable, if they really want to play music (and make money at it) for the rest of their life, what would be the best choice with their free time?

Indelible self-help giant Jim Rohn once said, “The major value in life is not what you get; the major value in life is what you become.” To approach your work in the most intelligent manner for the long-term, remain focused on exactly that: the long-term. Who do you most want to be within your work?

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8. Become A Reader

Reading is one of the most frequently recommended tips for optimizing your intelligence, and for good reason. Reading requires your brain to be active while consuming words; making sense of sentences and arranging those words into more intricate, big-picture structures. Bill Gates and Warren Buffett, two of the most successful individuals of all time, have almost incessantly recommended reading as a shoo-in for accomplishing virtually any personal goal. Why is it so important to them?

Aside from observing the world and creating your own, reading is the number one way to discover and then implement new ideas. Reading is literally consuming someone else’s brain on paper. Therefore, you’re apt to learn more about the world in a much faster time than simply not reading (like YouTubing or gaming all day).

At this point, you may be thinking, “Well duh! Of course reading is important. I learned that in grade school!” You’d be correct to posit such a thought. The catch is that not all written material was created equal. In addition to reading as often as you can, it’s crucial to also…

7. Consume The Best Of The Best

Reading for pleasure, as well as consuming what generations before you have deemed excellent, is of high value. There are a few benefits to this. For one, you get to see who has left a massive mark on the world before you arrived. It shows you a lot about what has already helped shape the world, and what people may compare your work to when you’ve made a contribution. Two, it can also provide inspiration for your own projects on a deeper level. There’s nothing like being able to turn to a favorite book, movie, song, piece of art, or another creation to spur you towards greater personal excellence.

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6. Become A Writer

Writing things down (no matter how silly or insignificant they might seem) is actually one of the best ways to increase your intelligence. As you write thoughts down, it actually improves your memory, both short-term and long-term. Make sure to use a real pen and paper since studies show that laptop note-takers don’t receive the same benefits.

5. Engage In A Variety Of Information

The more holistically you seek out information (as well as entertainment), and the more holistically you can view the world, the more effectively you can solve problems and even enjoy the beauty of the big picture! Enjoying (or learning to enjoy) multiple topics is a surefire way to discover crossover between subjects. For example, someone who started as an exercise junkie may discover a newfound passion for holistic health and nutrition through an athlete they look up to (or a new book they’ve read). You’ll never know what kinds of new interests you might come across. Coming to enjoy various experiences and pools of knowledge gives you a depth of appreciation that remaining in one category cannot.

4. Specialize In A Few Fields

It’s no secret that the best of the best are specialists in a few areas. For example, self-development guru and best-selling author Tony Robbins is both an exemplary speaker and visual communicator. So much of his regular presentations and seminars would be completely meaningless (or at least far less impressive) if he wasn’t such a powerful communicator. Every single word and action he gives or takes on stage is perfectly executed.

The importance of this example is to recognize the value in becoming a specialist of a few things. You can’t master everything, so don’t even try. Instead, utilize the time, energy, and focus you actually have to blow others out of the water in a few pockets of the world. For example, an aspiring writer might not be the next fiction superstar author, but they can certainly deliver value on a personally unprecedented level. This may manifest from building a tribe of a few thousand readers who absolutely love the author’s work and want them to keep writing more books. You don’t need to be the next J.K. Rowling or George R.R. Martin, but you can absolutely be the best version of yourself in your most innate activities!

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3. Make Sure You Love What You Do

There’s no sense in beating your head against a figurative (or literal) brick wall in the name of trying to make something work. The smartest people in the world understand their limits, and what to do because of them. You don’t need to be Superman or Superwoman – that’s a lot of work as it is! It’s critical to know what lights your heart up every day in order to actually do your best, most intelligent work. If you don’t know what that is yet, no problem. Simply use your free time in the way it feels most natural to you, and you’ll (re)discover it in no time.

2. Be Willing And Able To Work “Smard”

Working “smard” is working both hard and smart. In other words, you should be committed to the long haul of all your goals, but not to the extent that you make anything more difficult than it should be. This doesn’t mean you should look for shortcuts, it simply means you should seek the feedback of individuals who have gone before you and done what you want to do. The people who are already in the place you desire to be should remain some of your most prized mentors. Also, relentlessly test your own methods. Constantly ask yourself if you’re getting the results you want, and if not, how you can change your habits.

1. Learn From The Mistakes And Expertise Of Others

There’s nothing friendlier to an intelligent person striving for greater smarts than this: Observe the world closely so you can avoid foolish mistakes. There are always pitfalls to watch out for – if you simply have the eyes for them. It’s important to keep your individuality in mind in such circumstances. To put it another way, what satisfies a friend or family member may not provide long-term fulfillment for you. People may not always talk about their mistakes, but you can always sense when someone hasn’t given life their all. Watch for how people talk about their vocation to discover how much it fulfills them. Then, ponder what they claim to love (as well as hate) alongside your own perspective, so you can avoid the worst and pursue the best.

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Brad Johnson

Top 5 Kindle Author | Author of 10 Books

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Last Updated on September 16, 2019

How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

You have a deadline looming. However, instead of doing your work, you are fiddling with miscellaneous things like checking email, social media, watching videos, surfing blogs and forums. You know you should be working, but you just don’t feel like doing anything.

We are all familiar with the procrastination phenomenon. When we procrastinate, we squander away our free time and put off important tasks we should be doing them till it’s too late. And when it is indeed too late, we panic and wish we got started earlier.

The chronic procrastinators I know have spent years of their life looped in this cycle. Delaying, putting off things, slacking, hiding from work, facing work only when it’s unavoidable, then repeating this loop all over again. It’s a bad habit that eats us away and prevents us from achieving greater results in life.

Don’t let procrastination take over your life. Here, I will share my personal steps on how to stop procrastinating. These 11 steps will definitely apply to you too:

1. Break Your Work into Little Steps

Part of the reason why we procrastinate is because subconsciously, we find the work too overwhelming for us. Break it down into little parts, then focus on one part at the time. If you still procrastinate on the task after breaking it down, then break it down even further. Soon, your task will be so simple that you will be thinking “gee, this is so simple that I might as well just do it now!”.

For example, I’m currently writing a new book (on How to achieve anything in life). Book writing at its full scale is an enormous project and can be overwhelming. However, when I break it down into phases such as –

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  • (1) Research
  • (2) Deciding the topic
  • (3) Creating the outline
  • (4) Drafting the content
  • (5) Writing Chapters #1 to #10,
  • (6) Revision
  • (7) etc.

Suddenly it seems very manageable. What I do then is to focus on the immediate phase and get it done to my best ability, without thinking about the other phases. When it’s done, I move on to the next.

2. Change Your Environment

Different environments have different impact on our productivity. Look at your work desk and your room. Do they make you want to work or do they make you want to snuggle and sleep? If it’s the latter, you should look into changing your workspace.

One thing to note is that an environment that makes us feel inspired before may lose its effect after a period of time. If that’s the case, then it’s time to change things around. Refer to Steps #2 and #3 of 13 Strategies To Jumpstart Your Productivity, which talks about revamping your environment and workspace.

3. Create a Detailed Timeline with Specific Deadlines

Having just 1 deadline for your work is like an invitation to procrastinate. That’s because we get the impression that we have time and keep pushing everything back, until it’s too late.

Break down your project (see tip #1), then create an overall timeline with specific deadlines for each small task. This way, you know you have to finish each task by a certain date. Your timelines must be robust, too – i.e. if you don’t finish this by today, it’s going to jeopardize everything else you have planned after that. This way it creates the urgency to act.

My goals are broken down into monthly, weekly, right down to the daily task lists, and the list is a call to action that I must accomplish this by the specified date, else my goals will be put off.

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Here’re more tips on setting deadlines: 22 Tips for Effective Deadlines

4. Eliminate Your Procrastination Pit-Stops

If you are procrastinating a little too much, maybe that’s because you make it easy to procrastinate.

Identify your browser bookmarks that take up a lot of your time and shift them into a separate folder that is less accessible. Disable the automatic notification option in your email client. Get rid of the distractions around you.

I know some people will out of the way and delete or deactivate their facebook accounts. I think it’s a little drastic and extreme as addressing procrastination is more about being conscious of our actions than counteracting via self-binding methods, but if you feel that’s what’s needed, go for it.

5. Hang out with People Who Inspire You to Take Action

I’m pretty sure if you spend just 10 minutes talking to Steve Jobs or Bill Gates, you’ll be more inspired to act than if you spent the 10 minutes doing nothing. The people we are with influence our behaviors. Of course spending time with Steve Jobs or Bill Gates every day is probably not a feasible method, but the principle applies — The Hidden Power of Every Single Person Around You

Identify the people, friends or colleagues who trigger you – most likely the go-getters and hard workers – and hang out with them more often. Soon you will inculcate their drive and spirit too.

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As a personal development blogger, I “hang out” with inspiring personal development experts by reading their blogs and corresponding with them regularly via email and social media. It’s communication via new media and it works all the same.

6. Get a Buddy

Having a companion makes the whole process much more fun. Ideally, your buddy should be someone who has his/her own set of goals. Both of you will hold each other accountable to your goals and plans. While it’s not necessary for both of you to have the same goals, it’ll be even better if that’s the case, so you can learn from each other.

I have a good friend whom I talk to regularly, and we always ask each other about our goals and progress in achieving those goals. Needless to say, it spurs us to keep taking action.

7. Tell Others About Your Goals

This serves the same function as #6, on a larger scale. Tell all your friends, colleagues, acquaintances and family about your projects. Now whenever you see them, they are bound to ask you about your status on those projects.

For example, sometimes I announce my projects on The Personal Excellence Blog, Twitter and Facebook, and my readers will ask me about them on an ongoing basis. It’s a great way to keep myself accountable to my plans.

8. Seek out Someone Who Has Already Achieved the Outcome

What is it you want to accomplish here, and who are the people who have accomplished this already? Go seek them out and connect with them. Seeing living proof that your goals are very well achievable if you take action is one of the best triggers for action.

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9. Re-Clarify Your Goals

If you have been procrastinating for an extended period of time, it might reflect a misalignment between what you want and what you are currently doing. Often times, we outgrow our goals as we discover more about ourselves, but we don’t change our goals to reflect that.

Get away from your work (a short vacation will be good, else just a weekend break or staycation will do too) and take some time to regroup yourself. What exactly do you want to achieve? What should you do to get there? What are the steps to take? Does your current work align with that? If not, what can you do about it?

10. Stop Over-Complicating Things

Are you waiting for a perfect time to do this? That maybe now is not the best time because of X, Y, Z reasons? Ditch that thought because there’s never a perfect time. If you keep waiting for one, you are never going to accomplish anything.

Perfectionism is one of the biggest reasons for procrastination. Read more about why perfectionist tendencies can be a bane than a boon: Why Being A Perfectionist May Not Be So Perfect.

11. Get a Grip and Just Do It

At the end, it boils down to taking action. You can do all the strategizing, planning and hypothesizing, but if you don’t take action, nothing’s going to happen. Occasionally, I get readers and clients who keep complaining about their situations but they still refuse to take action at the end of the day.

Reality check:

I have never heard anyone procrastinate their way to success before and I doubt it’s going to change in the near future.  Whatever it is you are procrastinating on, if you want to get it done, you need to get a grip on yourself and do it.

More About Procrastination

Featured photo credit: Malvestida Magazine via unsplash.com

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