Tricks to be(come) more intelligent



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How to Be Wise: 5 Secrets of Highly Intelligent People

Socrates once said that the unexamined life is not worth living.

To examine your life means getting to know yourself and the world around you better, and hence growing and becoming wiser, reaching to higher states of consciousness and evolving into the best version of yourself.

Highly intelligent people are always in a constant search for wisdom, and to them nothing can be more important than that — they find that life without wisdom is meaningless and utterly empty. But how can one be wise?

How to Be Wise: A Practical Guide

Below are five “secrets” that can function as a guide in your journey to wisdom, and which might completely change the direction of your life, in a tremendously positive way.

1. Doubt tradition. The first secret on how to be wise is to doubt the beliefs that have been handed down to you by tradition. Any ideology — whether religious, philosophical, political, and so on — that doesn’t sprout from your own understanding should be honestly questioned and scrutinized — if not, your ideologies will only help keep you imprisoned in blind faith and ignorance.

2. Seek knowledge. After you have doubted your beliefs, start your journey to knowledge. Seek to learn from anywhere you can, whether that is books, documentaries or anything that you find helpful — but always remember to think intelligently for yourself and be open to change.

3. Apply your knowledge. Knowledge becomes wisdom only once applied, otherwise it is just an unnecessary burden. Many people boast about their knowledge and they preach a lot, but they don’t practice what they preach. If you want to be honest with yourself and others, seek to embody your knowledge and express your values and ideas by your very way of living.

4. Learn from your mistakes. Once you apply your knowledge, it’s very likely that you’ll find out that you’ve made mistakes. Society has conditioned us to believe that making mistakes is something bad that we need to keep away from, but highly intelligent people have realized that making mistakes is exactly what is helping us to become wise, by showing us which are the wrong paths to avoid in life, and which direction to take in order to overcome the obstacles that are hindering our way.

5. Let go of the past. No matter how many mistakes you’ve made in the past and how many times you’ve failed, what lies in the here and now is what is most important. Nobody is perfect, and failure is a necessary part of life. So learn from your past but don’t be attached to it — always move forward, without regrets. Learning to let go of the past will allow you to evolve into something better out of yourself and adapt to new circumstances, without being held back by mental and emotional constraints.

    “Any fool can know. The point is to understand.” ~Albert Einstein


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How to Be Intelligent

Two Methods:
Deepening Your Intellect in a Meaningful Way
Appearing More Intelligent

Do you wish you were smarter? Do you wish other people believed you were smarter? The latter may be simpler than the former, but whether you genuinely want to increase your intellectual capacity, or just want to reap the benefits of appearing more intellectual, there are some concrete steps you can take to achieve you goal.

Method 1
Deepening Your Intellect in a Meaningful Way

    Dedicate yourself to becoming a lifelong learner. People used to believe intelligence was fixed, and could not be improved through effort. Contemporary evidence, however, suggests this may not be the case; while an unintelligent person may never become a genius, it seems increasingly possible that anyone has the ability to strengthen her intellect to some degree.[1] The process is not as simple as just learning some new vocabulary words, though. It takes time and effort to learn how to engage more deeply and critically with the world around you.
    Follow your passions. People learn most effectively when they are passionate about their subject matter.[2] If you are passionate about something, you are bound to want to understand it more deeply; it is this kind of focused, sustained investigation that leads to increased intellect. True intelligence involves deep mastery of a few subjects, rather than a shallow understanding of a broad range of them.[3] Was Albert Einstein equally gifted in physics, anthropology, linguistics, geology, animal behavior, and literary criticism? Of course not. To be a proverbial jack-of-all-trades is to be a master of none; if you try to learn a little bit of everything, you may wind up understanding a whole lot of nothing.
    Challenge yourself. If you’re not struggling, you’re not pushing yourself. Learning shouldn’t be torture. It should be rewarding, though, and it probably won’t be if it doesn’t require much effort. Push yourself to master new ideas and enter unfamiliar intellectual territory.[4]
    Think about how you think. This is called “metacognition,” and it is something intelligent people excel at. Metacognition allows you to understand how you learn, and to apply those strategies from one context to another. If you realize you learn most effectively when you study on your own, for example, you will know not to join a study group in preparation for a final exam.[5]
    Take care of your body. People sometimes forget that the brain is a physical organ like any other. Just as you skin is healthier if you bathe and your lungs are healthier if you don’t smoke, a physically well-cared-for brain functions at a higher level than a neglected one. It may surprise you how much more effectively you process information if you get enough sleep and exercise, and eat plenty of fruits and vegetables.[6]
    Learn a language. This will force your brain to negotiate new ways of constructing meaning, and increase your intuitive and conscious understanding of language systems. Thinking more about language also has the added benefit of improving your facility with your first language, and learning all those new words will help improve your memory.[7]
    Learn to play a musical instrument. This exercises parts of your brain used for many kinds of cognitive processing, and introduces you to new ways of receiving and communicating information. It also helps improve your memory, and reduces stress, which can play a major factor in inhibiting intellectual growth.[8]
    Read the news. While keeping up with current events may not exactly increase your intellectual capacity, a truly intelligent, curious person should want to engage with the world she lives in. Having new ideas often involves building on existing ones, so it is always wise to understand as much as you can about the problems the world faces, and the ways people are trying to solve them. Remember, all news sources have a bias of some sort; make sure you get your news from a variety of sources, and never accept something as absolute truth just because it is in the newspaper.
    Rely less on technology. The ease with which we can obtain information today makes our lives much more convenient, but it can also make us stupider. The neural pathways involved in reading maps, for example, are probably much weaker in Millennials’ brains than in the brains of their parents. This is because most Millennials rely heavily on GPS navigation to help them find their way, while older generations had to get out an atlas if they got lost. In the same vein, if they can’t remember what a word means, many people are more likely to quickly Google it than they are to sit down and focus on trying to remember. Instead of strengthening their ability to recall information, they can effortlessly obtain the information with almost no thought. Try to rely on your phone less, and your brain more.[9]
    Be open-minded. Don’t write off new ideas because they are scary, confusing, or threaten the way you are used to thinking about the world - this natural hesitation of the human mind to hold two opposing views at the same time is called 'Cognitive Dissonance'. Be open to having your perspective changed. The ability to admit when you have been wrong is a hallmark of a great mind.
    Be okay with looking stupid. Curiosity is not the same as ignorance; truly intelligent people are constantly asking questions. This is because a wise woman knows that she does not know everything. When you start learning a new skill, you will not be very good at it. That’s natural. If you do something you’re bad at enough times, however, you’ll eventually start to be good at it. Embrace the gaps in your knowledge as portals to discovery and growth.

Method 2
Appearing More Intelligent

    Use big words. It doesn’t take a genius to pick up some new vocabulary, but a few impressive words and some grammatical flourishes might give you the appearance of being an intellectual. Download a word-a-day app, or simply make some flashcards. Identify some common grammatical errors in your speech and correct them. You could even look up a few brainy-sounding literary quotations to pepper into your conversations. Remember, using impressive words is only impressive if you use them correctly--saying "juxtaposition" won't earn you any points if you don't understand what it means or how it's pronounced.
    Be modest and reticent. The same way everyone kind of starts to suspect that the guy who keeps insisting he’s not racist might be kind of racist, if you constantly try to impress everyone with how smart you are, people may start to wonder. If you are taciturn and humble instead, people may infer that you are consumed with deep thoughts. One good opportunity to put this into action is if someone else makes a stupid comment in a group conversation. If you leap in to correct or mock them, you run the risk of seeming mean rather than intelligent. Instead, let them do the work for you--simply stay silent for a moment, letting their remark sink in, and just when it starts to feel awkward, move the conversation along. It will give the impression that you simply couldn't find a way to respond to such a ridiculous comment, and decided to move past it to spare that person further embarrassment.
    Present yourself well. People tend to naturally assume that well-dressed, well-spoken individuals are more intelligent than sloppy ones who mumble all the time. You may also want to consider starting to wear glasses. It sounds silly, but when it comes to making people think you are intelligent, four eyes are better than two.[10]
    Use your middle initial. Again, it sounds silly, and frankly, it is, but nonetheless, there is actual evidence to suggest that calling yourself Frank R. Miller instead of Frank Reginald Miller will make you seem smarter to other people.[11] If you want to capitalize on this effect, just add another letter, because yes, apparently it works like that.[12]

Community Q&A

    How can I increase my vocabulary?

    Read more books and be thoughtful about how you could improve your words before you say something aloud.

    How do I focus while studying and avoid the temptation of my cell phone?

    Although it may sound overly simple, you have to put your cell phone in a place that is out of reach and out of sight. You should also consider turning it off completely. Ultimately, you must try to keep your study environment free of anything that might become a distraction for you.

    I used to be a topper in all subjects in all earlier classes but became dull now. Why?

    Maybe because you are watching too much TV, eating junk foods, and over gaming? Focus not on what you're doing wrong so much as what you can do right. To become a topper again, you need to study hard, pay attention to teachers, take note on what's in the blackboard, eat healthily and have lots of sleep.

    How should I react when someone says to everyone that I am intelligent?

    You definitely should not brag about it. Be humble, and thank the person. Your response could contain something like: "Thank you, but aren't we all intelligent in our own way too?" or "Thank you, but there is still so much left for me to learn."

    What do I do if someone tries to insult me for being or acting intelligent?

    It's pretty ridiculous that calling someone smart is supposed to hurt, isn't it? The truth is, some people (especially teens and preteens) will insult anyone who stands out from the crowd. Try to ignore them, and talk to an adult if it happens often. Insults are a form of bullying.

    How do I study late at night?

    Actually, a huge amount of research shows that staying up too late to study leads to worse test scores, worse focus, and more difficulty thinking. If you are too exhausted to focus on your work, go to sleep.

    What do I do if I am not good at speaking?

    Practice at home in front of a mirror. Record yourself. Keep doing this until you feel comfortable to speak in front of others.

    Can a weak student become a topper?

    Yes. Study hard, turn in your homework on time, pay attention and contribute in class.

    How can I become my class topper?

    Prove to them that you really deserve it and always remember that success is from learning. Don't stop learning .

    I've lost interest in a subject I used to enjoy. What should I do?

    This often happens in school when you no longer feel challenged, in which case you can ask your teacher for more advanced work. Interests also change naturally. If you feel no interest even when exploring new material in the subject, there's no shame in shifting focus to another interest or hobby.

Sources and Citations

11   The impact of middle names: Middle name initials enhance evaluations of intellectual performance


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6 Tips for Intelligent Thinking

In general, people consider intelligence to be a highly desirable trait. Some people can be seen as more 'smart' due to their everyday habits and conscientious attitude. Here are 6 tips for more intelligent thinking.

1. Learn from your mistakes

improve memory with mistakesEverything we do, from our first breath to the moment in which we die, is a matter of trial and error. A baby cannot learn to walk without falling down first, and we cannot do better at work if we don’t know what to improve. Errors are actually how the brain learns; when we make decisions, neurons are activated, and if these decisions turn out to be wrong, the activated neurons are subsequently suppressed [1]. Smart people reflect on these errors, and work to ensure that they do not happen again - it just takes a smart person to realize when a decision is wrong.

2. Re-evaluate your views

The greatest minds of all time have re-evaluated their initial einstein intelligencetheories. When we think of intelligent, famous people, scientists usually come to mind - because scientists have to adapt to the constant stream of new discoveries influencing their life's work. Take Einstein, who altered his theory of general relativity, and famously said “we cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them”. The same can be said for Stephen Hawking, who initially thought nothing can escape a black hole, but later published work contradicting his original theory. Train your brain to adapt to new situations and information - you will only get smarter with time.

3. Recover from failures

The most intelligent of people make mistakes - renowned filmmakers release box office flops, and manufactures put products on the market which fail. It may feel humiliating and unpleasant when an idea which you think is genius is unsuccessful, but this happens to the best of us.

intelligent people recoverWithout failure, the successes would not be so exhilarating. Famous and successful people who experienced obstacles include Arianna Huffington, co-founder of the Huffington Post, whose second book was rejected by 36 publishers, as well as J.K. Rowling, whose Harry Potter books were rejected 12 times before she became one of the most successful authors of all time. If Huffington and Rowling didn’t push so hard, they never would have achieved the success they have today.

4. Make your own luck

Nobody achieved anything monumental just intelligence is not luckwaiting for it to happen. Making smart decisions takes effort - you need to read, do your research, and work to achieve your goals. When you pour your heart and soul into a project, you know that it is your hard work which gets you to the finish line, and not simply because the stars aligned. What’s more, working hard and making your own success is the key secret to hapiness, as a series of studies by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi found [2]. Nelson Mandela once said that “the greatest glory in living life is not in never falling, but in rising everytime we fall”.

5. Push for what you believe in

push for what you believe inA smart person knows when to push for what they believe in and stick to it, even if the situation takes a turn for the worst. Intelligent people are like rubber bands - anything can happen and they can adapt to the change. There is a huge difference between not doing something because you might fail, and doing something despite the risk. If you know that your idea has potential, push for what you believe in. “Life is like riding a bicycle, in order to keep your balance, you must keep moving” said Albert Einstein. Fight for your chance to shine, even if a critic only has a “gut feeling”, because if someone else believes in your vision, you might just achieve your goals.

6. Know that actions speak louder than words

We all know someone who likes to say actions speak louder than wordshow great they are. But intelligent people know that their actions speak louder than words. A study found self evaluations to be not nearly as accurate as evaluations made by other people, who had watched the participants conduct conversations [3]. If you want to be taken seriously and respected by coworkers and friends, let your hard work prove your worth.
Become a more intelligent person today

We all want to be intelligent, and despite what you may think, intelligence is not a fixed trait determined at birth. Work hard and fight for your success, and challenge your brain every day to achieve your full potential.


[1]Chialvo, D. & Bak, P. (1999) Learning from mistakes. Neuroscience: 90(4), 1137-1148.

[2]Csikszentmihalyi, M (1999) Flow: the psychology of optimal experience. Harper Perennial Modern Classics.

[3]Amabile, T & Kabat, L (1982). When Self-Descriptions Contradict Behavior: Actions Do Speak Louder than Words. Social Cognition: Vol. 1, No. 4, pp. 311-335


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10 Small Things You Can Do Every Day to Get Smarter

Intelligence is a work in progress. Maximize yours with these simple habits.
By Jessica Stillman

You might be under the impression that intelligence is a fixed quantity set when you are young and unchanging thereafter. But research shows that you're wrong. How we approach situations and the things we do to feed our brains can significantly improve our mental horsepower.

That could mean going back to school or filling your bookshelves (or e-reader) with thick tomes on deep subjects, but getting smarter doesn't necessarily mean a huge commitment of time and energy, according to a recent thread on question-and-answer site Quora.

When a questioner keen on self-improvement asked the community, "What would you do to be a little smarter every single day?" lots of readers--including dedicated meditators, techies, and entrepreneurs--weighed in with useful suggestions.

Which of these 10 ideas can you fit into your daily routine?

1. Be smarter about your online time.

Every online break doesn't have to be about checking social networks and fulfilling your daily ration of cute animal pics. The Web is also full of great learning resources, such as online courses, intriguing TED talks, and vocabulary-building tools. Replace a few minutes of skateboarding dogs with something more mentally nourishing, suggest several responders.

2. Write down what you learn.

It doesn't have to be pretty or long, but taking a few minutes each day to reflect in writing about what you learned is sure to boost your brainpower. "Write 400 words a day on things that you learned," suggests yoga teacher Claudia Azula Altucher. Mike Xie, a research associate at Bayside Biosciences, agrees: "Write about what you've learned."

3. Make a 'did' list.

A big part of intelligence is confidence and happiness, so boost both by pausing to list not the things you have yet to do, but rather all the things you've already accomplished. The idea of a "done list" is recommended by famed VC Marc Andreessen as well as Azula Altucher. "Make an I DID list to show all the things you, in fact, accomplished," she suggests.

4. Get out the Scrabble board.

Board games and puzzles aren't just fun but also a great way to work out your brain. "Play games (Scrabble, bridge, chess, Go, Battleship, Connect 4, doesn't matter)," suggests Xie (for a ninja-level brain boost, exercise your working memory by trying to play without looking at the board). "Play Scrabble with no help from hints or books," concurs Azula Altucher.

5. Have smart friends.

It can be rough on your self-esteem, but hanging out with folks who are more clever than you is one of the fastest ways to learn. "Keep a smart company. Remember your IQ is the average of five closest people you hang out with," Saurabh Shah, an account manager at Symphony Teleca, writes.

"Surround yourself with smarter people," agrees developer Manas J. Saloi. "I try to spend as much time as I can with my tech leads. I have never had a problem accepting that I am an average coder at best and there are many things I am yet to learn… Always be humble and be willing to learn."

6. Read a lot.

OK, this is not a shocker, but it was the most common response: Reading definitely seems essential. Opinions vary on what's the best brain-boosting reading material, with suggestions ranging from developing a daily newspaper habit to picking up a variety of fiction and nonfiction, but everyone seems to agree that quantity is important. Read a lot.

7. Explain it to others.

"If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough," Albert Einstein said. The Quora posters agree. Make sure you've really learned what you think you have learned and that the information is truly stuck in your memory by trying to teach it to others. "Make sure you can explain it to someone else," Xie says simply.

Student Jon Packles elaborates on this idea: "For everything you learn--big or small--stick with it for at least as long as it takes you to be able to explain it to a friend. It's fairly easy to learn new information. Being able to retain that information and teach others is far more valuable."

8. Do random new things.

Shane Parrish, keeper of the consistently fascinating Farnam Street blog, tells the story of Steve Jobs's youthful calligraphy class in his response on Quora. After dropping out of school, the future Apple founder had a lot of time on his hands and wandered into a calligraphy course. It seemed irrelevant at the time, but the design skills he learned were later baked into the first Macs. The takeaway: You never know what will be useful ahead of time. You just need to try new things and wait to see how they connect with the rest of your experiences later on.

"You can't connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backward. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future," Parrish quotes Jobs as saying. In order to have dots to connect, you need to be willing to try new things--even if they don't seem immediately useful or productive.

9. Learn a new language.

No, you don't need to become quickly fluent or trot off to a foreign country to master the language of your choosing. You can work away steadily from the comfort of your desk and still reap the mental rewards. "Learn a new language. There are a lot of free sites for that. Use Livemocha or Busuu," says Saloi (personally, I'm a big fan of Memrise once you have the basic mechanics of a new language down).

10. Take some downtime.

It's no surprise that dedicated meditator Azula Altucher recommends giving yourself space for your brain to process what it's learned--"sit in silence daily," she writes--but she's not the only responder who stresses the need to take some downtime from mental stimulation. Spend some time just thinking, suggests retired cop Rick Bruno. He pauses the interior chatter while exercising. "I think about things while I run (almost every day)," he reports.


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