In the first post of this mini-series, we briefly covered why intelligence is so highly prized in a global market, and 10 steps on how to increase one’s intelligence. That post included tips on why reading and writing matter, zeroing in on your habits, learning from the mistakes of others and polishing your identity.
In part two of this series, we’ll look even closer at what the best of the best do to become smarter. Increasing your intelligence doesn’t have to feel like lifting a freight train – It can be quite straightforward with the right battle plan!
9. Use Your Existing Leadership Skills
As most children go through primary school and possibly higher education, the number of people who gradually influence them reaches the tens of thousands. Parents, teachers and peers alike often ask questions about what an individual will pursue after education; what kind of life they hope to live; what their financial goals are and even more. What few people afford attention to early on, however, is the art and science of becoming a leader.
Leadership is a paramount objective throughout the entire world. Leaders help solve problems faster, more efficiently, produce better results and assign people more fluidly to their ideal roles. Sometimes people work towards leadership-oriented titles; other times people find themselves chosen to run a group. No matter what situation you’ve found yourself in, one fact is sure: High quality leadership training materials still aren’t widely distributed enough.
In order to become the best leader you can be, it requires learning from the greats at some point. However, what most people continually overlook is the fact that every day, individuals already exhibit leadership actions. Leadership is defined as anyone who holds influence. So yes, it’s true: Not everyone is a fantastic leader (at least not today), but everyone can sharpen leadership skills with the right mindset.
Leadership forces you to be better at solving problems because you’re required to take responsibility. Leadership invariably means you’ll be on the front lines, calling the shots for the betterment of your group. Leadership – often synonymous with sacrifice – builds a more intelligent person from the inside out.
8. Pick Sides
Yes, yes, I know; this can sound like a way to start a fight rather than how to become more intelligent. But what we rarely give attention to is the fact that picking a side on an issue forces us to think critically about a situation.
As one example, while picking a political movement to side with is often the cause of many arguments, this exercise can truly help you think in the bigger picture about an issue. Should recreational drugs be decriminalized or generally remain as they are? It can seem like a fairly innocuous question, but when picking a side and defending it, you force yourself to research information that will either support or detract from your stance.
In other words, picking a side on a topic requires that you increase your level of knowledge about the topic in the first place. Life is too short to live it with purely uneducated opinions, so discovering new info on a passionate topic can literally alter your knowledge – and intelligence – about the subject.
7. Seek Out The Opposite Of What Most Others Do
This is another observation that may sound rather ridiculous on the surface, but holds incredible wisdom at second glance. It’s no secret that many of the greatest names in personal development and financial success often preach unorthodox methods. Tony Robbins, Jim Rohn, Robert Kiyosaki, Zig Ziglar, Dale Carnegie, Napoleon Hill, Gary Vaynerchuck, Og Mandino and hundreds of others have all spoken on this point at one time or another: Master the art of non-conformity.
The reason nearly half of Americans cannot come up with a few hundred dollars for an emergency expense shows one thing for sure: Doing what most people do is a surefire way to end up in mediocrity. Such a sad truth can act as fuel for victory when used in the proper context.
From now on, every time you’re presented with a common problem, ask yourself: “What would most people do in this situation?” Then, consider the opposite. For example, many people find themselves in the doctor’s office year after year because their weight problems have slowly caused other problems. Americans especially seem to still have fairly high reliance on doctors, and with current food consumption patterns, this will not be going away any time soon.
Instead of merely going to your doctor and following the same path as everyone else, what if you took a few minutes a day to do your own research? Life is rarely chunked into disparate boxes, meaning the cause of one problem might be related to another. Taking the time to examine the cause of a specific problem, rather than simply going through the motions that everyone else does, can yield incredible problem-solving rewards you may have never experienced before.
6. Apply Grant Cardone’s 10X Rule
Sales expert and author Grant Cardone published The 10X Rule in 2011, and this book went on to become one of the most popular books for entrepreneurs in recent memory. In essence, Cardone shares – through many of his own prior struggles and pitfalls – that success requires 10 times more effort than most people anticipate. Intelligence grows when you use desire to apply far more effort than you initially dreamed possible!
5. Increase The Agility Of Your Unconscious Thought
Every day we spend time in conscious thought. Yet what most don’t realize is the vast majority of your thoughts are unconscious! As explained by Charles Duhigg in The Power Of Habit, your body works efficiently on your habits so as to minimize effort in all scenarios.
This means that in order to maximize one’s intelligence, you should apply effort towards increasing the agility of your unconscious thought. How is this done? Don’t block emotionally challenging thoughts, and don’t run away from obstacles in general. Overcoming a problem with your conscious thought is a sign you’ll be able to do it more effectively in the future.
4. Hone Your Emotional Intelligence
As a particularly prominent buzzphrase of the past decade, “emotional intelligence” really does matter. Despite it only being a recent label for a set of characteristics that’s been around for much longer, EI, or EQ, is often the sole make-or-break factor in whether or not someone will become successful.
Fostering and growing emotional intelligence is typically grueling, but essential. Being aware of and managing your own emotions requires great focus and a boatload of patience, but it does pay off. Practicing delayed gratification is perhaps the single greatest method for increasing your emotional intelligence.
3. Become Skilled At List Making
Even in addition to the science, list making remains one of the most practical things you can do to boost your memory, keep track of all your valuable ideas and stay productive – even during bad days. Always, always, always remain stocked up on pens and notepads – These are cheap materials anyways and it’s worth it!
2. Master The Abstract
Being able to see people, events and concepts for what they are is a valuable skill, but being able to master the abstract is an entirely different skill set. Richard Branson recommends listening – and doing so with great intent – as the number one way to master the abstract sides of life. He views it as a way to gather elements of a conversation, presentation or event you’d otherwise be oblivious to.
1. Remember To Enjoy Life And Take Breaks
Finally, remember that taking it easy now and then is one of the best ways to increase your intelligence! We are emotional, pleasure-driven creatures at the end of the day. We can’t work optimally unless we are able to balance work with rest. Hundreds of studies already illustrate how upholding sleep and rest is essential for your body to work properly. Enjoy the breaks you take, because it’s what allows you to focus that much more intensely when you are working!