Intelligence is a work in progress. Maximize yours with these simple habits – culled from Jessica Stillman, Inc.com
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 Face-booking with something more mentally nourishing.
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. 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. Make an “I DID” list to show all the things you, in fact, accomplished.
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, any game doesn’t matter), to boost your brain, exercise your working memory by trying to play without looking at the board by playing with no help from hints or books.
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.
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. 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,” in a simple way.
8. Do random new things.
The story is told of Steve Jobs’ youthful calligraphy class. 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,” ~ Steve Jobs. 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. You can use use Livemocha or Busuu,”
10. Take some downtime.
It is recommended that you give yourself space for your brain to process what it’s learned — “sit in silence daily,” that way you will give your brain a breather from mental stimulation. Spend some time just thinking while running, sitting or idling for a while (almost every day).