We all know smart people. Perhaps, we find ourselves to be quite smart, as well.
So, what exactly makes a smart person so… Smart?
Is it their ability to rapidly calculate seemingly impossible equations? Is it their ability to remember a large group of people’s names? To engineer something new? To understand and predict the behavior of people around them? Or to win at Trivia every Thursday? To comprehend the abstract? To create?
What is it?
In this article, we will explore the varying definitions of intelligence, how to become more intelligent, and how to think faster.
What is intelligence
What is intelligence? This question has puzzled scientists for years… So much so that there has never been a single, agreed upon definition of intelligence. This is because, unlike discovering the neural networks involved with processes like memory and emotions, there isn’t a solid consensus as to what ultimately defines intelligence. We aren’t quite sure what you look for.
Intelligence means many different things to many different people.
For that, there is no one answer. However, there are popularly agreed upon answers. For instance, it is commonly accepted that there are, indeed, multiple kinds of intelligence: linguistic, analytical, and emotional (to name a few)… And that these varying types of intelligences don’t necessarily have to be linked — someone can be very emotionally intelligent, but lack analytical intelligence.
Here’s what a few of the most considerably intelligent people in history have to say:
“I know that I am intelligent, because I know that I know nothing.”
“The true sign of intelligence is not knowledge but imagination.”
— Albert Einstein
“Intelligence is the ability to adapt to change”
— Stephen Hawking
Webster’s dictionary cleverly defines intelligence as follows:
1 a : The ability to learn or understand or to deal with new or trying situations. b : The ability to apply knowledge to manipulate one’s environment or to think abstractly as measured by objective criteria (as tests)
2 : mental acuteness.
How to become more intelligent
Even without having a clear definition of precisely what it is, we still have a few tricks up our sleeves as to how to increase intelligence. Here are just a few of those tricks.
Surround yourself with smart people
It is said that you are the sum of the 5 people that are surrounded by the most. So, who do you think is smart in your life? The more you are around smart people (or, at least people you consider to be smart based off of your own personal definition), the more intellect you will pick up and absorb.
Want to know how to be smarter? Practice mindfulness, you will impress yourself.
According to an insightful article in Psychology Today, “Researchers found that a brief period of mindfulness allowed people to make more rational decisions by considering the information available in the present moment, which led to more positive outcomes in the future.”
Just one more reason to adore mindfulness!
In order to strengthen your brain’s ability to create new neural pathways, it is important to continuously invite new information and experiences into your life.
As well, visit new places! Whether this means taking a new route to work, going to a new restaurant, or experiences a new country and culture. Newness and a feeling of displacement are surprisingly great for your brain.
This is fun one. Regular exercise increases levels of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) in your brain and blood, which promotes the growth, strength, and formation of new neurons.
Read more fiction
This tip teaches you how to be smarter in a more unconventional way — it increases your emotional intelligence (EQ). This is because people who read fiction tend to better understand and empathize with different people and worldviews because they have been deep inside the heads of many characters apart from their own.
Never stop learning
Never stop learning! Your brain is very neuroplastic and will continue to absorb new information your entire life. The more it is exposed to new information, the easier absorbing the information becomes, training your brain to build new neural pathways and connection dramatically increases your intelligence.
There is never a time in a smart person’s life when they stop learning.
How to think faster
It is commonly understood that a smart person has neurons that fire at a much more rapid pace than the average person. For that, we are also going to provide you with a few tips on how to think faster.
- Learn to speed read
- Give yourself positive affirmations that remind you of your quick-thinking ability
- Trust your instincts — don’t mull over ideas too much
- Practice improv or “thinking on your feet”
- Chew gum (to increase concentration)
- Never resist a yawn, your brain really wants that extra oxygen
- Get more vitamin D
- Stay curious
- Read a book a week
- Stay excited to learn new information
- Pair deep thinking with physical exercise
- Minimize multitasking
- Play these brain games
- Listen carefully
- Take deep breaths
- Relax your mind, let the information flow (it loves to flow)
What do you think makes a smart person so smart? Do you have any tips on how to increase intelligence? Share with us in the comments below!