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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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Published on November 14, 2018

Why You Suffer from Constant Fatigue and How to Deal with It

Why You Suffer from Constant Fatigue and How to Deal with It

With our busy, always on lives, it seems that more and more of us are facing constant tiredness and fatigue on a regular basis.

For many people, they just take this in their stride as part of modern life, but for others the impact can be crippling and can have a serious effect on their sense of wellbeing, health and productivity.

In this article, I’ll share some of the most common causes of constant tiredness and fatigue and give you some guidance and action steps you can take to overcome some of the symptoms of fatigue.

Why Am I Feeling Fatigued?

Fatigue is extreme tiredness resulting from mental or physical exertion or illness.  It is a reduction in the efficiency of a muscle or organ after prolonged activity.[1]

It can affect anyone, and most adults will experience fatigue at some point in their life. 

For many people, fatigue is caused by a combination of lifestyle, social, psychological and general wellbeing issues rather than an underlying medical condition.

Although fatigue is sometimes described as tiredness, it is different to just feeling tired or sleepy. Everyone feels tired at some point, but this is usually resolved with a nap or a few nights of good sleep. Someone who is sleepy may also feel temporarily refreshed after exercising. If you are getting enough sleep, good nutrition and exercising regularly but still find it hard to perform, concentrate or be motivated at your normal levels, you may be experiencing a level of fatigue that needs further investigation. 

Symptoms of Fatigue

Fatigue can cause a vast range of physical, mental and emotional symptoms including:

  • chronic tiredness, exhaustion or sleepiness
  • mental blocks
  • lack of motivation
  • headache
  • dizziness
  • muscle weakness
  • slowed reflexes and responses
  • impaired decision-making and judgement
  • moodiness, such as irritability
  • impaired hand-to-eye coordination
  • reduced immune system function
  • blurry vision
  • short-term memory problems
  • poor concentration
  • reduced ability to pay attention to the situation at hand

Causes of Fatigue

The wide range of causes that can trigger fatigue include:

  • Medical causes: Constant exhaustion, tiredness and fatigue may be a sign of an underlying illness, such as a thyroid disorder, heart disease, anemia or diabetes.
  • Lifestyle-related causes: Being overweight and a lack of regular exercise can lead to feelings of fatigue.  Lack of sleep and overcommitting can also create feelings of excessive tiredness and fatigue.
  • Workplace-related causes: Workplace and financial stress in a variety of forms can lead to feelings of fatigue.
  • Emotional concerns and stress: Fatigue is a common symptom of mental health problems, such as depression and grief, and may be accompanied by other signs and symptoms, including irritability and lack of motivation.

Fatigue can also be caused by a number of factors working in combination.

Medical Causes of Fatigue

If you have made lifestyle changes to increase your energy and still feel exhausted and fatigued, it may be time to seek guidance from your doctor.

Here are a few examples of illnesses that can cause ongoing fatigue. Seek medical advice if you suspect you have a health problem:

Anemia

Anemia is a condition in which you don’t have enough healthy red blood cells to carry adequate oxygen to the body’s tissues. It is a common cause of fatigue in women.

Having anemia may make you feel tired and weak.

There are many forms of anemia, each with its own cause. Anemia can be temporary or long term, and it can range from mild to severe.[2]

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS)

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) is a condition that can cause persistent, unexplained fatigue that interferes with daily activities for more than six months.

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This is a chronic condition with no one-size-fits-all treatment, but lifestyle changes can often help ease some symptoms of fatigue.[3]

Diabetes

Diabetes can cause fatigue with either high or low blood sugars. When your sugars are high, they remain in the bloodstream instead of being used for energy, which makes you feel fatigued. Low blood sugar (glucose) means you may not have enough fuel for energy, also causing fatigue.[4]

Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea is a serious sleep disorder where sufferers briefly stop breathing for short periods during sleep. Most people are not aware this is happening, but it can cause loud snoring, and daytime fatigue.

Being overweight, smoking, and drinking alcohol can all worsen the symptoms of sleep apnea.[5]

Thyroid disease

An underactive thyroid gland means you have too little thyroid hormone (thyroxine) in your body. This makes you feel tired and you could also put on weight and have aching muscles and dry skin.[6]

Common lifestyle factors that can cause fatigue include:

  • Lack of sleep
  • Too much sleep 
  • Alcohol and drugs 
  • Sleep disturbances 
  • Lack of regular exercise and sedentary behaviour 
  • Poor diet 

Common workplace issues that can cause fatigue include:

  • Shift work: Our body is designed to sleep during the night. A shift worker may confuse their circadian clock by working when their body is programmed to be asleep.
  • Poor workplace practices: This may include long work hours, hard physical labour, irregular working hours (such as rotating shifts), a stressful work environment, boredom or working alone. 
  • Workplace stress – This can be caused by a wide range of factors including job dissatisfaction, heavy workload, conflicts with bosses or colleagues, bullying, or threats to job security.
  • Burnout: This could be striving too hard on one area of your life while neglecting others, which leads to a life that feels out of balance.

Psychological Causes of Fatigue

Psychological factors are present in many cases of extreme tiredness and fatigue.  These may include:

  • Depression: Depression is characterised by severe and prolonged feelings of sadness, dejection and hopelessness. People who are depressed commonly experience chronic fatigue.
  • Anxiety and stress: Someone who is constantly anxious or stressed keeps their body in overdrive. The constant flooding of adrenaline exhausts the body, and fatigue sets in.
  • Grief: Losing a loved one causes a wide range of emotions including shock, guilt, depression, despair and loneliness.

How to Tackle Constant Fatigue

Here are 12 ways you can start tackling the causes of fatigue and start feeling more energetic.

1. Tell The Truth

Some people can numb themselves to the fact that they are overtired or fatigued all the time. In the long run, this won’t help you.

To give you the best chance to overcome or eliminate fatigue, you must diagnose and tell the truth about the things that are draining your energy, making you tired or causing constant fatigue.

Once you’re honest with yourself about the activities you’re doing in your life that you find irritating, energy-draining, and make you tired on a regular basis you can make a commitment to stop doing them.

The help that you need to overcome fatigue is available to you, but not until you tell the truth about it. The first person you have to sell on getting rid of the causes of fatigue is yourself.

One starting point is to diagnose the symptoms. When you start feeling stressed, overtired or just not operating at your normal energy levels make a note of:

  • How you feel
  • What time of day it is
  • What may have contributed to your fatigue
  • How your mind and body reacts

This analysis may help you identify, understand and then eliminate very specific causes.

2. Reduce Your Commitments

When we have too many things on our plate personally and professionally, we can feel overstretched, causing physical and mental fatigue.

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If you have committed to things you really don’t want to do, this causes irritability and low emotional engagement. Stack these up throughout your day and week, then your stress levels will rise.

When these commitments have deadlines associated with them, you may be trying to cram in far too much in a short period of time.  This creates more stress and can affect your decision making ability.

Start being realistic about how much you can get done. Either reduce the commitments you have or give yourself more time to complete them in.

3. Get Clear On Your Priorities

If working on your list of to-do’s or goals becomes too overwhelming, start reducing and prioritizing the things that matter most.

Start with prioritizing just 3 things every day. When you complete those 3 things, you’ll get a rush of energy and your confidence will grow.

If you’re trying to juggle too many things and are multi-tasking, your energy levels will drop and you’ll struggle to maintain focus.

Unfinished projects can make you self-critical and feel guilty which drops energy levels further, creating inaction.

Make a list of your 3 MIT (Most Important Tasks) for the next day before you go to bed. This will stop you overcommitting and get you excited about what the next day can bring.

4. Express More Gratitude

Gratitude and confidence are heavily linked. Just being thankful for what you have and what you’ve achieved increases confidence and makes you feel more optimistic.

It can help you improve your sense of wellbeing, which can bring on feelings of joy and enthusiasm.

Try starting a gratitude journal or just note down 3 things you’re grateful for every day.

5. Focus On Yourself

Exhaustion and fatigue can arrive by focusing solely on other people’s needs all the time, rather than worrying about and focusing on what you need (and want).

There are work commitments, family commitments, social commitments. You may start with the best intentions, to put in your best performance at work, to be an amazing parent and friend, to simply help others.

But sometimes, we extend ourselves too much and go beyond our personal limits to help others. That’s when constant exhaustion can creep up on us.  Which can make us more fatigued.

We all want to help and do our best for others, but there needs to be some balance. We also need to take some time out just for ourselves to recharge and rejuvenate.

6. Set Aside Rest and Recovery Time

Whether it’s a couple of hours, a day off, a mini-break or a proper holiday, time off is essential to help us recover, recharge and refocus.

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Recovery time helps fend off mental fatigue and allows us to simply kick back and relax.

The key here, though, is to remove ourselves from the daily challenges that bring on tiredness and fatigue. Here’s how.

Can you free yourself up completely from work and personal obligations to just rest and recover?

7. Take a Power Nap

When you’re feeling tired or fatigued and you have the ability to take a quick 20-minute nap, it could make a big difference to your performance for the rest of the day.

Napping can improve learning, memory and boost your energy levels quickly.

This article on the benefit of napping is a useful place to start if you want to learn more: How a 20-Minute Nap at Work Makes You Awake and Productive the Whole Day

8. Take More Exercise

The simple act of introducing some form of physical activity into your day can make a huge difference. It can boost energy levels, make you feel much better about yourself and can help you avoid fatigue.

Find something that fits into your life, be that walking, going to the gym, running or swimming. 

The key is to ensure the exercise is regular and that you are emotionally engaged and committed to stick with it.

You could also walk more which will help clear your head and shift your focus away from stressful thoughts.

9. Get More Quality Sleep

To avoid tiredness, exhaustion and fatigue, getting enough quality sleep matters. 

Your body needs sleep to recharge.  Getting the right amount of sleep every night can improve your health, reduce stress levels and help us improve our memory and learning skills.

My previous article on The Benefits of Sleep You Need to Know will give you some action steps to start improving your sleep. 

10. Improve Your Diet

Heavy or fatty meals can make you feel sluggish and tired, whilst some foods or eating strategies do just the opposite.

Our always on lives have us reaching for sweets or other sugary snacks to give us a burst of energy to keep going. Unfortunately, that boost fades quickly which can leave you feeling depleted and wanting more.

On the other hand, whole grains and healthy unsaturated fats supply the reserves you can draw on throughout the day.

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To keep energy up and steady, it’s a good idea to limit refined sugar and starches.

Eating small meals and healthy snacks every few hours throughout the day provides a steady supply of nutrients to body and brain. It’s also important not to skip breakfast.

Eating a balanced diet helps keep your blood sugar in a normal range and prevents that sluggish feeling when your blood sugar drops.

11. Manage Your Stress Levels

Stress is one of the leading causes of exhaustion and fatigue, and can seriously affect your health.

When you have increased levels of stress at work and at home, it’s easy to feel exhausted all the time. 

Identifying the causes of stress and then tackling the problems should be a priority. 

My article on How to Help Anxiety When Life is Stressing You Out shares 16 strategies you can use to overcome stress.

12. Get Hydrated

Sometimes we can be so busy that we forget to keep ourselves fully hydrated.

Water makes up about 60 percent of your body weight and is essential in maintaining our body’s basic functions.

If we don’t have enough water, it can adversely affect our mental and physical performance, which leads to tiredness and fatigue.

The recommended daily amount is around two litres a day, so to stay well hydrated keep a water bottle with you as much as possible.

The Bottom Line

These 12 tips can help you reduce your tiredness and feeling of fatigue.  Some will work better than others as we are all different, whilst others can be incorporated together in your daily life.

If you’ve tried to make positive changes to reduce fatigue and you still feel tired and exhausted, it may be time to consider making an appointment with your doctor to discuss your condition.

Featured photo credit: Annie Spratt via unsplash.com

Reference

[1]Oxford English Dictionary: Definition of fatigue
[2]NHS Choices: 10 Reasons for feeling tired
[3]Verywellhealth: What is chronic fatigue syndrome
[4]Everyday Health: Why does type 2 diabetes make you feel tired
[5]Mayo Clinic: Sleep apnea
[6]Harvard Health: The lowdown on thyroid slowdown

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