What does it take to be smart?
Even though there is a common misconception that only good grades determine your intelligence, it’s actually not that hard to be smart.
All it takes is a willingness to learn and stay determined. It’s the same as any other goal you set for yourself. Whether it’s sport, music or anything else, you need to have an open and determined mindset.
Intelligence is not a fixed concept but rather a continuously improvable scale. Studies show that if you approach various situations differently it actually boost your mental capacity. Therefore if you implement some of these different habits into your everyday life you might get smarter than you can imagine.
1. Listen and Focus
Everything you do in your day requires 100% of your focus if you want to make it perfect. Set this as a goal for yourself, to make as many things perfect in your day as possible. Training focus is one of the most important things you can do for yourself. It sets the basis for everything else.
If you are conducting a discussion with someone, you need to listen and focus on everything your conversation partner has to say and what you say for that matter. If you can’t focus even on what you say what is the point of having the discussion. The only way to have a successful discussion of any sort and achieve any positive result is for both parties to commit fully to achieve it. Otherwise, it’s just a waste of time.
2. Leave out the emotion
Many already intelligent people can’t have a civil conversation without being offended which in most cases follows with aggression in form of insults and so on. The fact that I have to explain this is ridiculous but THAT IS NOT THE RIGHT WAY.
To have a successful conversation you need to leave emotions aside as much as possible and try to stay objective, even though it’s impossible to be fully objective as we already have biased views. Try to understand where the opinions of others are coming from. Understand them, analyze them and come back with an efficient response. Try to be skeptical of your own views because you can’t be right at everything, let alone most of the things.
This brings us to my next tip.
3. Stop trying to be right and start being efficient
Emotions blind your objective and rational thinking. That’s why when having an argument you want to win whatever it takes. Your ego takes a toll on you by making you blind. You need to realize it’s not about winning the argument but rather finding a common ground and explain each other’s views one at a time. You have to do this as much as possible in hope to find the most efficient way to success, not for you as an individual but for a society and even the world.
4. Read and Research
The best way to be objective and rational is to read a lot and research a lot. This does not only apply to books, there are many interesting studies and unbiased articles about all sorts of topics. The more you know the stronger arguments you can create and the better debate you can have. You need to see both sides of the coin.
Only through knowledge, you can find the truth.
If you truly seek knowledge and wisdom you have to realize how much you don’t know, which lead to my next point.
Self-awareness is an art, just like focus and it requires training. Try to understand yourself, what do your thoughts resemble and where they lead you. Honesty is the cornerstone of self-awareness.
The most efficient way is either meditation, which there are many kinds of but I would suggest awareness meditation for beginners, and talking to yourself. When I say talking to yourself it doesn’t have to be out loud, although there is nothing wrong with that, but it’s rather a sign of intelligence. Have a discussion in your head. Honest therapy from yourself to yourself that can touch on your mental state and happiness or some problem you face and it’s solution. The principle is the same and that is to understand yourself which will help you see more clearly and realize things you might not have before.
Whether your goal is to be the next Einstein, Picasso or Dalai lama, it’s important to constantly improve yourself and learn. Explore every place, thing or state that you can. Constantly seek knowledge and maybe you will be the one that surpasses everybody.