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The Ultimate Guide To Increasing Your Intelligence, Part 2 Of 2

The Ultimate Guide To Increasing Your Intelligence, Part 2 Of 2

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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Brad Johnson

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Last Updated on July 16, 2019

7 Powerful Habits To Win In Office Politics

7 Powerful Habits To Win In Office Politics

Office politics – a taboo word for some people. It’s a pervasive thing at the workplace.

In its simplest form, workplace politics is simply about the differences between people at work; differences in opinions, conflicts of interests are often manifested as office politics. It all goes down to human communications and relationships.

There is no need to be afraid of office politics. Top performers are those who have mastered the art of winning in office politics. Below are 7 good habits to help you win at the workplace:

1. Be Aware You Have a Choice

The most common reactions to politics at work are either fight or flight. It’s normal human reaction for survival in the wild, back in the prehistoric days when we were still hunter-gatherers.

Sure, the office is a modern jungle, but it takes more than just instinctive reactions to win in office politics. Instinctive fight reactions will only cause more resistance to whatever you are trying to achieve; while instinctive flight reactions only label you as a pushover that people can easily take for granted. Neither options are appealing for healthy career growth.

Winning requires you to consciously choose your reactions to the situation. Recognize that no matter how bad the circumstances, you have a choice in choosing how you feel and react. So how do you choose? This bring us to the next point…

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2. Know What You Are Trying to Achieve

When conflicts happen, it’s very easy to be sucked into tunnel-vision and focus on immediate differences. That’s a self-defeating approach. Chances are, you’ll only invite more resistance by focusing on differences in people’s positions or opinions.

The way to mitigate this without looking like you’re fighting to emerge as a winner in this conflict is to focus on the business objectives. In the light of what’s best for the business, discuss the pros and cons of each option. Eventually, everyone wants the business to be successful; if the business don’t win, then nobody in the organization wins.

It’s much easier for one to eat the humble pie and back off when they realize the chosen approach is best for the business.

By learning to steer the discussion in this direction, you will learn to disengage from petty differences and position yourself as someone who is interested in getting things done. Your boss will also come to appreciate you as someone who is mature, strategic and can be entrusted with bigger responsibilities.

3. Focus on Your Circle of Influence

At work, there are often issues which we have very little control over. It’s not uncommon to find corporate policies, client demands or boss mandates which affects your personal interests.

Gossiping and complaining are common responses to these events that we cannot control. But think about it, other than that short term emotional outlet, what tangible results do gossiping really accomplish? In most instances, none.

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Instead of feeling victimized and angry about the situation, focus on the things that you can do to influence the situation — your circle of influence. This is a very empowering technique to overcome the feeling of helplessness. It removes the victimized feeling and also allows others to see you as someone who knows how to operate within given constraints.

You may not be able to change or decide on the eventual outcome but, you can walk away knowing that you have done the best within the given circumstances.

Constraints are all around in the workplace; with this approach, your boss will also come to appreciate you as someone who is understanding and positive.

4. Don’t Take Sides

In office politics, it is possible to find yourself stuck in between two power figures who are at odds with each other. You find yourself being thrown around while they try to outwit each other and defend their own position; all at the expense of you getting the job done. You can’t get them to agree on a common decision for a project, and neither of them want to take ownership of issues; they’re too afraid they’ll get stabbed in the back for any mishaps.

In cases like this, focus on the business objectives and don’t take side with either of them – even if you like one better than the other. Place them on a common communication platform and ensure open communications among all parties, so that no one can claim “I didn’t say that”.

By not taking sides, you’ll help to direct conflict resolution in an objective manner. You’ll also build trust with both parties. That’ll help to keep the engagements constructive and focus on business objectives.

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5. Don’t Get Personal

In office politics, you’ll get angry with people. It happens. There will be times when you feel the urge to give that person a piece of your mind and teach him a lesson. Don’t.

People tend to remember moments when they were humiliated or insulted. Even if you win this argument and get to feel really good about it for now, you’ll pay the price later when you need help from this person. What goes around comes around, especially at the workplace.

To win in the office, you’ll want to build a network of allies which you can tap into. The last thing you want during a crisis or an opportunity is to have someone screw you up because they harbor ill-intentions towards you – all because you’d enjoyed a brief moment of emotional outburst at their expense.

Another reason to hold back your temper is your career advancement. Increasingly, organizations are using 360 degree reviews to promote someone. Even if you are a star performer, your boss will have to fight a political uphill battle if other managers or peers see you as someone who is difficult to work with. The last thing you’ll want is to make it difficult for your boss to champion you for a promotion.

6. Seek to Understand, Before Being Understood

The reason people feel unjustified is because they felt misunderstood. Instinctively, we are more interested in getting the others to understand us than to understand them first. Top people managers and business leaders have learned to suppress this urge.

Surprisingly, seeking to understand is a very disarming technique. Once the other party feels that you understand where he/she is coming from, they will feel less defensive and be open to understand you in return. This sets the stage for open communications to arrive at a solution that both parties can accept.

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Trying to arrive at a solution without first having this understanding is very difficult – there’s little trust and too much second-guessing.

7. Think Win-Win

As mentioned upfront, political conflicts happen because of conflicting interests. Perhaps due to our schooling, we are taught that to win, someone else needs to lose. Conversely, we are afraid to let someone else win, because it implies losing for us.

In business and work, that doesn’t have to be the case.

Learn to think in terms of “how can we both win out of this situation?” This requires that you first understand the other party’s perspective and what’s in it for him.

Next, understand what’s in it for you. Strive to seek out a resolution that is acceptable and beneficial to both parties. Doing this will ensure that everyone truly commit to the agreed resolution and will not pay only lip-service to it.

People simply don’t like to lose. You may get away with win-lose tactics once or twice but very soon, you’ll find yourself without allies in the workplace.

Thinking win-win is an enduring strategy that builds allies and help you win in the long term.

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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