June 28th, 2007
When I ask people what they would do to increase their intelligence it surprises me how many people say, “go back to school”. So many people associate school with learning and have a hard time thinking of other ways to improve their minds. I believe that intelligence means a persons ability to handle new information and make good decisions with that information. I also believe that you can be intelligent in certain areas and a complete idiot in other areas. Some intelligence is “natural” but I think that most people focus too much on that part. I think that most people can become intelligent in areas that they are currently weak in.
The human brain is a special machine designed to take in information from the environment and make adjustments and improvements to how it will tell you to handle that information. It’s important to challenge your brain with many different kinds of new information. This information that I’m talking about is anything that you can see, hear, smell, touch, or feel. Basically anything at all that you can notice that is happening around you. If you are doing the same thing every day, your brain is taking in the same information all the time and it has no chance to grow or improve itself. People who interact with different people all the time increase their social intelligence. They are able to see how different kinds of people react to different things. Their brains can then use that information to make adjustments and give them a better plan for dealing with people. You learn from experience what kinds of things make people laugh, what kinds of things make people feel uncomfortable, what kind of things make people want to do business with you. If you only socialize with a small group of the same people all the time, you will know what to expect and you won’t learn anything. The key is to always be doing new things and challenging yourself. Any other area of intelligence is the same. If you want to be better at solving computer problems, the only way to do that is to always give your brain different kinds of computer problems to solve. You’ll get faster and better at doing it the more you do it. Your brain is always learning from the new experiences. Its not simply the amount of time. You could spend hours on the computer just writing emails and chatting with your friends and you’d learn almost nothing. You could also keep doing the same task over and over again. Again, you’d learn nothing. The key is to keep challenging yourself with new experiences. If you want to improve your English, you must learn new words and talk about new things that challenge you. Its easy to get stuck at one English level. Many people get to a level where they have no problem in daily communication but seem to never be able to talk about more advanced topics. It’s not because they aren’t smart enough, its just because they keep talking about the same things and doing the same things.
If you want to increase your intelligence in any area you must be constantly doing new things. Ask yourself how many new experiences have you had over the past month. If your life seems to be almost the same every day than you are probably learning very little. Make a point of reading something new, making a friend with a person unlike your other friends, eating a new kind of food, going to a new place for a vacation, playing a different sport. Make sure you aren’t doing the same thing day after day, watching the same TV shows all the time, and hanging out with the same kinds of people all the time. To start out, make sure that at least once a week you will do something that you’ve never done before. Even if its go to a new restaurant or read a new book. Start out small but make sure you are making more and bigger changes as you grow.
I’d love to hear your comments and experiences.