Can you learn how to get smarter? Many of us grow up thinking that intelligence is fixed and there’s nothing we can do about it. This thinking is fundamentally wrong.
You can learn just about anything and you can learn how to get smarter – it’s not hard at all. You just need the right attitude and proper understanding of how your smarts and brains work.
In this article, we’ll give you a no-nonsense approach with practical tips on how to become smarter by working with your brain the right way.
But first, let’s define what smart means in this context.
What Does It Mean to Become Smart?
What do we mean by smart and how do you even “get smarter”?
When we say “smart”, it is all about building not just your IQ, or cognitive abilities, but even your creativity, quick thinking, and awareness.
Basically, how to keep your mind and brain growing, evolving, and constantly learning.
One of the key elements in doing so is to remember that it’s your mindset that sets the stage.
So, If you want to have good traction in a positive direction and learn not just how to be smart, but how to keep the momentum going, the key is in adopting a “growth mindset”.
What Is Growth Mindset?
Those who believe that their IQ is fixed throughout their lifetime often feel defeated and are unwilling to work hard. What’s the point of putting effort into something that can’t be improved?
So, what is intelligence? Is it fixed, or is it fluid?
Research suggests that intelligence is a malleable force, and understanding that you have (what neuroscientists call) ‘fluid intelligence’ is incredibly important.
You have to fully comprehend that you can increase your IQ. All it takes is hard work and knowledge on how to learn effectively.
The latter is especially important — you could be the hardest worker in the world, but be wasting a great deal of your time because you’re not learning efficiently.
With the right knowledge, you can learn how to get smarter, boost your productivity, develop laser-sharp focus, and cultivate the memory of a savant.
How Can I Make My Brain Smarter and Faster?
One factor that plays a role in smarts and speed is to increase your IQ and your ability to develop a genuine willingness to learn.
But to make your brain faster or smarter doesn’t begin and end with you asking “How can I improve my IQ?” In particular, you want to build curiosity for “learning how to learn” things effectively.
Motivation combined with curiosity is a potent blend that will not only drive you towards your goal but will also make your journey legitimately enjoyable.
Get curious about becoming smarter! The topic can be truly fascinating.
And when you start reaping the rewards of your hard work and curiosity, you’ll feel more fulfilled and satisfied with the direction that your life is taking.
5 practical strategies to make yourself smarter
If you want to learn how to get smarter, there are plenty of techniques you can use.
Here are five strategies that are widely used as smart hacks to sharpen your mind and brain:
1. Stop procrastinating
According to James Clear, author of Atomic Habits, “procrastination is the force that prevents you from following through on what you set out to do.”
The key is to:
- Make the rewards of taking action more immediate
According to behavioral economics research from The University of Pennsylvania, bundling a habit that is good for you in the long run with a habit that feels good in the immediate moment is the secret!
The best example of this would be, only get a pedicure while processing overdue work emails.
- Make accountability of procrastination immediate
The effects of skipping a workout now won’t be felt immediately. However, ditching your gym partner makes you look like a jerk. Be held accountable.
There are awesome apps out there to help you tackle this like Stickk.
The premise is hilariously effective. You put money on the line. And If you don’t do what you say you’ll do, then the money goes to a charity you hate.
- Know yourself and plan against a bad habit ahead of time
For example, you eat junk food all the time? Then next time you are home all day, vow never to stock up on junk food when you go shopping. NEVER!
- Make the task more achievable
Break down your big goal into “smaller achievable wins” that allow you to get to the next, smaller goal. You can do this all the way to the finale conquering one small win at a time.
2. Use the F.A.S.T method
- Forget. Socrates famously stated: “I know that I know nothing”. He was expressing that on the grand scale of things, he knew very little. Try to cultivate this attitude. Accepting that we don’t know everything gives us a humble and receptive mindset, in which we’re ready, willing, and motivated to learn.
- Active. Jim Kwik, the prodigious author of Mindvalley’s Superbrain Program, explains that learning is not a spectator sport. You can’t sit on the sidelines and expect to achieve, you have to strap on your boots, take a deep breath, and sprint onto the field. Only by being active can you truly become an incredible learner.
- State. Your emotional state is just as important as your focus when it comes to retention. If you’re interested in something, your curious emotional state will help you remember the content. Information + emotion = long-term memory.
- Teach. Passing on your hard-earned knowledge to others re-enforces the content in your mind, in addition to spreading valuable wisdom around the world.
3. Become smarter by practicing ‘mindfulness’
It seems like today everyone is talking about this thing called “mindfulness” or “being mindful”. But what is mindfulness exactly? Mindfulness is a state of active, open attention to the present moment. You practice observing your thoughts and feelings without judging them as good or bad.
It was rumored that Steve Jobs practiced a form of mindfulness meditation that was taught in schools of Zen Buddism. Decades later, researchers from Wharton confirmed the effectiveness of practicing mindfulness.
4. Play brain games to increase your IQ
If you are like everyone else that wants to get smarter, then you’ve asked the question, “how can I improve my IQ?” And you probably thought games don’t help much.
But here is a surprise…they help a lot!
- Brain teasers are types of games that heighten your ability for mental arithmetic, coding, strategy games, and quick problem-solving. What could be better than becoming more intelligent while having fun? Brain teasers are essentially logic puzzles in disguise.
- Play a game. Who doesn’t like playing games? Chess, Jenga, and Lego can increase your spatial intelligence, and the best part? You’re having fun while doing it.
- Crack a 3D puzzle. These types of puzzles require you to manipulate them with your hands and plan your moves ahead of time – developing an important aspect of spatial intelligence.
5. Practice intermittent fasting
One strategy to get super-smart quickly is to stay hungry, and we mean that literally.
Apparent evidence shows that a practice called intermittent fasting elevates human growth hormone (HGH) which works to restore your body functions and promotes the growth of neuronal connections in the brain.
A new study in mice shows that fasting increases BDNF, a protein that promotes the growth of neuronal connections.
This isn’t something that goes unnoticed. Counter to popular belief, skipping dinner or breakfast and going on 10-hour fasts can really enhance your mental and cognitive abilities.
You will see for yourself that your productivity will skyrocket!
A Word to Remember
You can’t get clever overnight. Strengthening your intelligence takes hard work and knowledge on how to get smarter.
Your brain’s cognitive functions are ready and waiting to be improved. And with determination and the right tools, you can supercharge your brain.
So don’t forget: Your intelligence is not fixed.
Comprehend the truthfully: you can be exceptionally smarter. Spend time learning how to increase your IQ, and apply those techniques to your life. With persistence, the habits that you build might just change your life.
First, you make your habits and then, your habits make you.— Jim Kwik, trainer of Mindvalley’s Superbrain Quest