We are all seeking ways to become smarter. At least, I hope we are. We should be.
Today, I was listening to one of my favorite podcasts, Question of the Day. In each episode hosts, James Altucher and Stephen J. Dubner choose a question from Quora and answer it. This week the question was, "What are ways to train your brain to be smarter?"
I feverishly took notes on my iPhone as I walked Max. Remember, when you write down what you learn, you retain the information. Transcribing my notes in this blog post will help me remember what I learned even better. Win, win. :)
How to Train Your Brain to be Smarter
Read a lot.
I don't read enough books (I read plenty of articles and blog posts), so I've challenged myself to read two books a month this year. I'm sharing how this goes in the NBN Club, where members are also participating. I will share my notes here about each book as I complete it.
Hang out with people who are not like you.
By expanding your circles, you will broaden your knowledge. Take a look at a site like MeetUp.com, to find upcoming groups you can join.
Don't spend so much time pursuing things that are not important to you.
Dubner quoted Arthur Conan Doyle.
“I consider that a man's brain originally is like a little empty attic, and you have to stock it with such furniture as you choose. A fool takes in all the lumber of every sort that he comes across, so that the knowledge which might be useful to him gets crowded out, or at best is jumbled up with a lot of other things, so that he has a difficulty in laying his hands upon it. Now the skillful workman is very careful indeed as to what he takes into his brain-attic. He will have nothing but the tools which may help him in doing his work, but of these he has a large assortment, and all in the most perfect order. It is a mistake to think that that little room has elastic walls and can distend to any extent. Depend upon it there comes a time when for every addition of knowledge you forget something that you knew before. It is of the highest importance, therefore, not to have useless facts elbowing out the useful ones.” ― Arthur Conan Doyle, A Study in Scarlet.
Don't go with the flow.
Don't worry so much about the conventional wisdom. Don't worry about what everyone is thinking, doing and drinking. Use your brain to be original. Dubner said, "A little bit of truly original thinking can get you so much further than just learning how to parrot all of the seemingly smart things everyone around you says."
Sleep a lot.
Altucher explained that if you want to be smarter you should sleep a lot. This gives your brain time to build upon the facts that you learn.
Exercise your Idea Muscle.
Write ten ideas every day. Share the best ideas with those who can benefit from them. Don't worry if the ideas are silly, the purpose is to get your brain moving to come up with those ideas. I also loved the idea that execution is a subset of ideas.
Try Warren Buffet's Method.
Warren Buffet has an exercise he recommends people do to find their interests and passions. Simply write a list of 25 things you are interested in. Keep the top five and discard the others. The others will distract you from focusing on the top five, which are obviously the most important since you listed them first.
Be sure to listen to the whole episode of Question of the Day, to hear about understanding mental shortcuts and more.
I encourage you to subscribe to Question of the Day in iTunes.
What are ways you train your brain to be smarter?