You’re reading 6 Practices That Will Definitely Make You Smarter, originally posted on Pick the Brain | Motivation and Self Improvement, and written by Marwan Jamal (a fitness and health blogger at Healthline.com).
Becoming smarter is something you should seek so you can enjoy a better life. According to a 2012 study, Intelligence is a more accurate predictor of future career success than socioeconomic background.
So yes, being smart pays off. And yes, with some consistency and knowledge, you can systematically become more intelligent, make better decisions and improve your life with less resistance. How? From what I`ve read and used, these six practices can make you 2, 3 or even 10X smarter. Here they are:
1. Remove As Many Cognitive Distortions As You Can
Charlie Munger once said: “It’s ignorance removal…It’s dishonorable to stay stupider than you have to be.” What he means is, you can become smarter by understanding and eliminating the cognitive biases and logical fallacies that influence your thinking.
Here`s a list of the top 58 biases. Read, understand and revise it regularly, and you will see yourself becoming wiser over the time.
2. Use Mental Models and Universal Frameworks
One of the popular approaches scientists use to solve problems is applying the frameworks and laws used in one field of science to solve problems in other areas. This is why you often see laws like “Supply and Demand,” or Newton`s Laws of Dynamics used everywhere from health to benefits.
Ever heard the phrase, “An object in motion stays in motion.” This is Newton`s First Law of Inertia, and because the universe works in harmony, you can apply this law to many situations, and it will fit perfectly.
For instance, the more money you make, the easier money making becomes. Or, the more junk food you eat, the harder it will be to switch back to eating healthy.
Another example is the Peacocking technique used by pickup artists like Neil Strauss to standout and appeal to women. This sexual behavior is borrowed from zoology and is called Display.
Smart people like Munger and Warren Buffet use this law of Inertia and other universal laws to make better decisions in business and life, and they call them Mental Models.
You can build such models by reading a wide variety of books on physics, mathematics, biology, finance and different scientific fields. These books will expose you to various frameworks and models that you can then apply to your problems and come up with better solutions.
3. Don`t just read books, learn how to comprehend
Ever watched Suits? They have Mike Ross, the smartass lawyer with the photographic memory who never forgets a thing. In one episode, someone asks him how he managed to memorize an entire sector of a 300-page document after just reading it for once. Ross` reply was, “I read things, I understand them and I, never forget them.”
Similarly, this is what you should do to become smarter, comprehend. Deeply understanding the books you read helps you use that information better and gives you a competitive advantage. This is why an avid reader like Tai Lopez teaches the books he read so he can understand it better and maximize their benefits.
So how to do? Whenever you`re done reading something, do the following:
- Close the book and try to summarize it on paper or in your head using mental maps and memory palaces. Then,
- Identify the 2-3 main takeaways and ask, ‘’How can I apply this in real life?”
This may sound very simple but trust me, it will make you remember, recall, and better use the material of that book.
4. Give lateral-thinking puzzles a shot
It’s crazy how much you can learn from the puzzles and riddles found in Lateral Thinking books. They will test your brain capacity and teach you how to think outside the box. Besides, you can use the riddles in these books in social situations with friends and dates.
5. Study past mistakes
Richard Dawkins once called learning by trial and error “the worst way for learning.” He believes so because learning from your mistakes is more painful and costs much time and money than if you learn from other people`s mistakes. For that, I want you to grab a pen and do the following:
- List the top three mistakes you`ve made before —or are still making. Why you made them, what they say about you and how to change them. (List everything).
- List three key figures in your life whom you don`t want to follow their steps; an abusive parent, an annoying boss, or a promising friend who couldn`t live up to his potential. What mistakes they`ve made? And what will you do to avoid them?
- List the three common mistakes people make in business, health, and relationships. How would you prevent those mistakes?
Finally, you can start reading history books for fun. If you want something that is both enjoyable and fun, then you can read stuff for Robert Greene, Matthew White as well as the likes of “The Art of War.”
6. Spend more time sharpening the saw
Seeking clarity in everything you do is probably one of the easiest ways to become smart. Many smart people are famous for spending quite a long time on solving problems.
A company once hired Jordan Belfort to sell them stuff, and they noticed that he spent more time studying his material than anyone on their sales team. The same thing goes for Einstein who was quoted for spending 55 minutes of a given 60 to define a problem before solving it.
These people realized that because most problems are more complicated than they seem to be, it`s essential to pause, seek clarity and plan before making a move. And you should do the same. Schedule times where you can analyze your life and think of better ways to do things.
Invest at least 30 minutes in planning your week, and around 5-10 minutes of planning your day. It may sound boring but will improve the way you make decisions.