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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 May 21, 2019

13 Bad Habits You Need to Quit Right Away

13 Bad Habits You Need to Quit Right Away

Creating your productivity ritual — a routine that helps you to maintain a peak level of energy can get you the best out of your days.

Part of creating your productivity routine involves removing activities that drain you (what I call “kryptonites”), and that includes your bad habits.

Like it or not, bad habits are bad for you — mentally, physically, emotionally and even socially in some cases. While some bad habits are harder to quit than others, it doesn’t change the fact that you need to get rid of them. Here are 13 bad habits to quit right away:

1. Stress Eating

I used to be a serious stress eater. I would eat whenever I felt unhappy, stressed, disappointed, anxious, or even… happy! My eating had nothing to do with being hungry, and everything to do with using food to fill my emotional voids.

While eating would comfort me, this feeling was momentary and would disappear right after I was done eating. Instead, what I had left would be the same emotional void that triggered me to eat in the first place (be it unhappiness or stress), a 2,000 excess calorie intake over what I should have eaten for the day, and anger at myself for having stress ate.

I’ve since overcome stress eating. I have healthy eating habits and a healthy relationship with food today where I no longer use food as a tool to fill my emotions.

If you are a stress eater, don’t fret — here’s how to manage your stress better:

How to Manage Stress (A Step-by-Step Guide to Turn Stress Into Success)

2. Nail Biting

Not only is nail biting unhygienic, it is also socially repelling, leads to dental problems like malocclusion of the anterior teeth,[1] potentially cause stomach problems,[2] and lead to severely deformed fingernails in the long run.

People who bite their nails tend to have shorter nails than the average person; their nail plates also experience scarring and may eventually become absent.[3]

Understand what triggers your nail biting behavior and replace it with another neutral to positive habit. Make habits to break habits.

For example, if you bite your nails when you are stressed, go for a walk or listen to music instead the next time you feel stressed.

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3. Hanging out with Naysayers

We all know these people — people who play devil’s advocate to every idea you have and every goal you want to pursue. We are already our greatest self-critics, so it doesn’t help when there’s someone beside us, ever ready to pounce on what we say and tear it down.

Hang out less with these naysayers and spend more time with supportive people who share constructive feedback instead. You will be much happier this way.

Learn how to get rid of naysayers with these 10 Ways to Ignore the Naysayers and Achieve Your Dreams.

4. Being with People Who Don’t Appreciate You

Haven’t all of us been in this situation before? Trying to please people who don’t appreciate us? Bending over backwards to be there for people when they are never there for us?

While we give without expectations of return, we need to draw a line with people who don’t value us because these people damage our souls.

Stop spending time with people who don’t appreciate you, and spend more time with people who do instead.

Unsure who you should get rid of? Learn about it here: 5 Kinds of Toxic People That You Need to Get Rid of Now

5. Smoking

Smoking is one of the leading causes of preventable death globally.[4]

In just the United States alone, about 500,000 deaths are attributed to smoking-related diseases annually. A recent study estimated that as much as one-third of China’s male population will have significantly shortened life-spans due to smoking! Gender-wise, male and female smokers lose an average of 13.2 and 14.5 years of life respectively — that’s over a decade of life right there.[5]

Not only that, smoking causes pre-mature skin aging (i.e. wrinkles), yellowing of teeth, bad breath, and worse of all — jeopardy of the health of people around you, including your loved ones. Studies have shown that non-smokers exposed to second-hand smoke are at risk to many of the health problems associated with direct smoking.[6]

Smoking risks

    6. Excessive Drinking

    All of us know that drinking too much alcohol is bad for us, but do you know how bad it really is?

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    According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, drinking too much — be it on a single occasion or over time — can seriously damage your health:[7]

    • Brain problems: Alcohol interferes with the brain’s communication pathways, making it harder to think clearly and move with coordination.
    • Heart diseases: Cardiomyopathy – Stretching and drooping of heart muscle, Arrhythmias – Irregular heart beat, stroke, high blood pressure
    • Liver diseases: Steatosis or fatty liver, alcoholic hepatitis, fibrosis, cirrhosis
    • Pancreas problems: Pancreatitis, a dangerous inflammation and swelling of the blood vessels in the pancreas that prevents proper digestion.
    • Different types of cancer: Mouth, esophagus, throat, liver, breast

    If you drink a lot, perhaps cutting it out right away will be tough. Cut down the number of glasses you drink each time, followed by the number of times you drink a week.

    If need be, seek help from an AA group — you aren’t alone in this. Change starts from today.

    7. Eating Junk Food (Including Diet Soda)

    Junk food — they are everywhere in our society today. From McDonald’s, to KFC, to Burger King, to 24-hour takeouts, junk food such as fries, highly processed burgers and sodas has become a staple in our society today.

    If you think, “Hey, but junk food is tasty!”, think again:

    A study by Paul Johnson and Paul Kenny suggests that junk food consumption alters brain activity in a way similar to addictive drugs like cocaine and heroin.[8]

    “After many weeks with unlimited access to junk food, the pleasure centers of rat brains became desensitized, requiring more food for pleasure.”

    And you wonder why you seem to crave fast food when you just had some the day before?

    While it may not be possible to remove junk food completely from our diet right away, we can reduce our junk food consumption starting today. Instead of soda, opt for a fruit juice (fresh juice, not the carbonated kind) or mineral water. Instead of fries, switch to mashed potato, a salad, or rice (many food outlets allow for this today). Instead of a fried meat patty, go for a grilled one.

    Where possible, opt for healthy food joints like salad bars and delis as opposed to fast food outlets. Every little step goes a long way.

    Here’re some healthy snacks ideas for you: 15 Healthy Snacks You Should Always Have At Home

    8. Eating Too Much Red Meat

    There has been conclusive evidence that consumption of red meat increases the risk of colorectal cancer; and suggestive evidence that it increases the risk of oesophageal cancer, lung cancer, pancreatic cancer, and endometrial cancer.

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    In addition, some studies have linked consumption of large quantities of red meat with breast cancer, stomach cancer, lymphoma, bladder cancer, lung cancer and prostate cancer![9]

    Personally, I’m a vegetarian so I don’t consume red meat, but for those of you who consume red meat, do watch out and limit your intake — better still, cut it out of your diet. World Cancer Research Fund recommends limiting intake of red meat to less than 300g (11 oz) cooked weight per week, “very little, if any of which to be processed.”

    Of if you’re thinking about becoming a vegetarian, check out this guide: 5 Practical Tips For Starting a Vegetarian Lifestyle

    9. Watching Too Much TV

    I stopped watching TV since eight years ago and I have never regretted it. Every once in a while I will switch on the telly to see what is on, and then I will switch it off because it’s just the same boring shtick over and over again.

    Watching TV, particularly well-written dramas, can be a good way to unwind. However, remember that TV isn’t your life.

    Spending three hours every night watching TV will not change your life for the better. Rather, using that time to reflect on your life, take stock, and take action on your goals will.

    It’s not easy to remove TV from your daily routine right away, but follow these 6 Steps To Remove TV From Your Life.

    10. Being Late

    Not only is being late being rude to others, it also means that you’re always rushing from one place to another, playing catch up in your agenda, and having to apologize to every person you meet.

    Stop being late and not being punctual, but practice being early instead. Target to arrive 15 minutes earlier before any appointment and bring along something to do in those 15 minutes (or longer if the other person turns out to be late). Then you can stop playing catch up and stay ahead in life.

    Learn more tips about how to be more punctual here: How to Be On Time Every Time

    11. Being in Bad Relationships

    Are you always dating the wrong guys/girls? Do you end up with jerks all the time? Well, you may not be able to stop yourself from meeting bad partners but you can certainly stop yourself from furthering contact with them, spending time with them, or even… entering into a relationship with them.

    I used to invest myself in this guy who was nothing but toxic for me. After a good five months of experiencing nothing but getting burned over and over again, I realized that he was a total waste of my time and I deserved better. I decided to cut him off, and it was soon after that I met my soulmate.

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    Learn about why you shouldn’t stay in a bad relationship and how to deal with it if you’re in one: Why Trying Hard to Stay in an Unhappy Relationship Is Not Love, but Fear

    12. Leaving Things to the Last Minute

    Burning the midnight oil isn’t fun — it’s exhausting.

    Those of you who got through college by burning the midnight oil would have learned this the hard way. Not only is it damaging for your body, it is also mentally draining as you’re constantly in a hyper-tense mode, feeling anxious about whether you can finish your work on time.

    Start today on a new note. Rather than react to your deadlines, be proactive about them by planning ahead, identifying what needs to be done for the week, and getting things done in advance.

    By staying ahead of your tasks, you can also use your extra time to plan ahead in your life and get more things done.

    Take a look at this guide and learn how to stop procrastinating: Procrastination – A Step-By-Step Guide to Stop Procrastinating

    13. Focusing on the Negatives

    In every situation, there are two ways you can react: zoom down to the problem areas and crib about how things aren’t the way you want, or celebrate the areas that are going well and work on making everything better.

    Many of us see the importance of doing the latter but in practice, we do the former. Why though? Criticizing and focusing on the negatives is easy but it doesn’t empower nor inspire us to be better.

    Make a change — for every negative encounter you run into, I challenge you to identify three things that are good about it. Practice doing this for one week, and by the end of the week you’ll find that your first instinct is to think positive, not negative.

    And here’re even more ways to help you stay positive: 11 Tips for Maintaining your Positive Attitude

    The Bottom Line

    So here you find the 13 most common bad habits and their consequences on your mind and body. The good news’ you can quit them all.

    Just spot out your own bad habits and take my suggestions to quit them. Then you’ll find your life a lot healthier and happier!

    Need more tips to break your bad habits? Check out these articles:

    Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

    Reference

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