Did you know that your IQ is in large part a measure of your ability to recognize patterns. And as Ray Kurzweil famously says, “Pattern recognition is the essence of all human thought.” Intelligence is not the same as being book or trivia smart (although those are helpful, too). It’s your ability to manage and manipulate life with your mind. It’s the closest thing to a superhero power you’re going to get in this world.
Studies have shown that there is a direct correlation between high levels of intelligence and success in life. It’s actually one of the biggest predictors of success—you might call it the Nerd Effect. Terman’s Study followed genius-IQ level kids for their entire lives. They ended up richer, healthier, taller, stronger and even more able to excel at sports than kids with lower IQs.
Now the really interesting thing about Terman’s Study is that not all the high-IQ kids were successful. Some turned out average and had higher rates of alcoholism and divorce. What made the difference? The difference was the successful kids had cultivated desire, prudence, willpower, goal-orientation, self-confidence and perseverance—hopefully all the stuff you’re probably made up of right now.
So it’s true that intelligence alone won’t get you the success you’re after, regardless in what aspect of your life. But neither will your typical self-help strategies, unless accompanied by a reasonably high level of intelligence (the higher the better). So why not add, “increase my IQ” to your list of goals?
I bet that your intelligence accounts for about 50 percent of your success, and all the other typical self-improvement stuff—positive thinking, goal-setting, time management, character development, etc.—gets the other 50 percent. And my reasoning for that is simple. Intelligence is your ability to think at a high level. Think of your favorite billionaire; I guarantee you they are thinking at an extremely high level.
So how can you increase your IQ? Here are some of the most proven ways, but it really all boils down to stretching your brain by learning new things:
Have you noticed something, that most likely any of your super rich friends are good at math. Are you good at math? When you watch Shark Tank, can you calculate the valuations of the businesses in your head like the sharks do? If not, why not get good? Add it to your arsenal. You need a big arsenal to succeed in life. Mindset and success techniques are just a small fraction of what’s required.
After doing some online research… this is what was repeated over and over again… possibly in a different order or a few more or a few less things to do… but basically if these things are followed you will not just be smarter… but wiser and better able to live a fuller, bigger life!
- Take regular physical exercise: This will improve blood flow and oxygenation in the brain, and good general health promotes good mental health. (I can highly recommend Tai Chi for people of all ages and physical abilities. Many people also recommend yoga for similar reasons.)
- Make sure you get enough sleep: Many studies have shown that lack of sleep can impair mental function in the areas of alertness, attention span, concentration, short-term and long-term memory, problem-solving, reaction time, visual and auditory acuity, and so on – i.e. pretty-much every area of mental function! Sleep – and especially the right mixture of deep and REM sleep – is vital for maintaining good mental health. (Note that both physical exercise (see above) and meditation (see below) can promote healthy, regular sleep patterns.)
- Eat a healthy, balanced diet rich in ‘brain foods’: Your brain needs certain essential nutrients to perform at an optimum level, particularly with regard to neurotransmitter-precursors, electrolytes (i.e. salts) and fuel (primarily glucose). By eating a healthy, balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, vitamins, amino acids (especially from animal protein, e.g. chicken, dairy products and fish) and carbohydrates, you can maintain healthy brain function without having to buy expensive dietary supplements (some of which work, but many of which don’t)
- If you are a smoker, STOP! The various toxins in cigarette smoke can impair brain function in various ways, and have been linked to long-term cognitive decline.
- Moderate your alcohol intake: Drinking alcohol in moderation, especially when combined with socializing, can be beneficial for brain function in various ways. But excessive alcohol consumption can impair brain function, both acutely and chronically, and may, in extreme circumstances, cause permanent cognitive impairment.
- Learn meditation, e.g. Mindfulness: Meditation has numerous proven beneficial effects on brain function, such as improved concentration, attention span, creativity and alertness.
- Regularly expose your brain to novel learning challenges, e.g. learning a new language, musical instrument, area of mathematics, etc.: This will promote mental plasticity and versatility.
- Cultivate friendships with intelligent, educated people, and make a point of meeting up with them regularly for stimulating conversation on a diverse range of subjects: Through challenging intellectual discussion with intelligent people you will be exposed to novel ideas and fresh perspectives, and will learn the ways in which intelligent people think and express themselves, and these will often rub off on you.
- Watch a diverse range of educational TV programs, i.e. documentaries, factual films and current affairs programs , and be more discriminating in your viewing generally: This will improve your general knowledge and expand your conversational repertoire (and thereby your social confidence), and you may discover new interests. (An excellent online source of documentaries on numerous subjects is topdocumentaryfilms.com)
- Read at least one ‘serious’ book per week, and diversify your reading: This will improve your vocabulary and verbal intelligence, and increase your general knowledge and conversational repertoire.
- Play a mentally challenging computer game: First-person shoot-em-ups and racing games are fine for honing your reaction time and exercising your trigger finger, but don’t offer much in the way of mental stimulation. Choose a game that involves learning complex rules and strategies, and demands a variety of mental skills.
- Use brain-training software that is proven to improve working memory and fluid intelligence: Most brain-training computer games do not produce the cognitive benefits that they claim, because they generally only train you to become better at playing that particular game; the improvements are not transferable to other types of brain-training games or translatable into improvements in general cognitive abilities. However, one brain-training game that has been proven to produce measurable improvements in general cognitive abilities, specifically in the areas of working memory and fluid intelligence, is Dual N-Back. Even better, the game is free to download and use. Check your app store.
- Challenge self-limiting beliefs about your intelligence: Many people are smarter than they think they are, but they have never realized their true potential because of self-limiting beliefs about their supposed lack of intelligence, often implanted in them by overly demanding parents or overly critical (and often incompetent) school teachers. By a process of deeply questioning the factual basis of these beliefs, and coming to the realization that they are actually groundless, you can let go of them, and finally unleash your true potential. Even at this somewhat late stage in your Dare to totally believe in yourself to live your life on your terms!
“You have to be smart. The easy days are over.” –Robert Kiyosaki
Does this article resonate with you? If so please let me know… so that I can bring you more of what will help you live your life fully, regardless of past circumstances.
Here’s to ‘Still Being SEXY At Seventy’.