What is growth? What is learning? How can we become more intelligent in life to know more, be more and do more? Being smarter, being more intelligent, and knowing more can help us reach out goals and dreams faster. How can we do this? In this post, you will learn 15 ways to become more intelligent in life.
What if you could easily solve any problem you encountered? How would it feel to know more, and be able to navigate difficult situations with ease? What would you do if you were smarter and more intelligent?
Becoming smarter and more intelligent in life has many benefits.
Whether you are trying to reach a specific goal, or just looking to become more well rounded in life, becoming more intelligent will help you on your journey to success.
Being able to comprehend complex ideas, understanding how things work, having the ability to show empathy, and having a good vocabulary are all parts of being smarter and having a higher level of intelligence.
All of this is great, but, how do we become more intelligent? What is intelligence? Why does being smart matter?
In this post, we will talk about what intelligence is, why being smart is important, and you’ll learn 15 ways to become more intelligent in your life to improve your chances of becoming successful.
What is Intelligence and Why is Being Smart Important?
First, let’s talk about what intelligence is, and why being smart is important.
Intelligence can be defined many different ways.
To me, intelligence is the ability to learn, the ability to understand, the ability to problem solve, and the ability to grow.
There are many types of intelligence, and some common ones could be described as practical intelligence, creative intelligence, emotional intelligence, and analytical intelligence.
Practical intelligence is “street smarts” or “common sense”, creative intelligence is “abstract thinking”, emotional intelligence is “handling the emotions of yourself and others”, and analytical intelligence is “book smarts”.
Why is being smart important?
This might be obvious, but being smart and being intelligent:
- can open many doors in life
- is attractive to potential partners
- is attractive to potential employers
- unlock new skills and abilities in your day to day activities
- can help you reach your goals
With this in mind, let’s now move on to the 15 ways you can become more intelligent in your life.
“Your level of success is rarely exceeded by your level of personal development, because success is something you attract by the person you become.” – Hal Elrod
15 Ways to Become More Intelligent in Life
Do you want to become smarter? How can you become more intelligent in life?
Growing, improving, and learning are all pieces of becoming more intelligent.
However, there is also a mindset shift that must happen if you want to become smarter.
Through this mindset shift, you will start to change as a person, change your daily habits, and grow – not only your brain, but also as a person in many ways.
Becoming smarter will help you unlock new avenues and opportunities in life, and bring success as you get to your full potential.
Below are 15 ways to become more intelligent in life. If you want, you can click on a link below to go directly to the section with that step, or you can scroll down to read them in order.
- Stand on the Shoulders of Giants
- Redefine Learning
- Become Curious in Everyday Life and Ask Questions
- Get Enough Sleep and Rest Every Night
- Spend Time Exploring a New Place
- Conduct Experiments and Get Outside Your Comfort Zone
- Do Something Creative Each Day
- Eat Healthy Foods to Give Your Brain the Necessary Energy it Needs
- Surround Yourself with Books from Different Eras and With Different Topics
- Do What You like and Try to Get Better at it
- Learn a New Language and Learn in that Language
- Live Intentionally and Take Responsibility for Your Life
- Teach Others How to Do Something
- Make Learning a Part of Your Every Day Life
Let’s dive into the details of each of these steps to become smarter below.
1. Stand on the Shoulders of Giants
“If I have seen further than others, it is by standing upon the shoulders of giants.” – Isaac Newton
First and foremost, if you want to become smarter, it’s important to recognize those who have came before us who have achieved great successes.
The quote above from Isaac Newton refers to the fact that when we are just growing up and becoming more knowledgeable, we are like dwarfs – we aren’t very tall and we cannot see very far. This is similar to when we are kids – we don’t know much and have much to learn.
However, if you stand on the shoulder of a giant, you can see for miles. If we read from those who were successful, we can gain insight into how we can become more successful in our lives.
If you want to become smarter, read about some of the amazing people of our past and present, and you can gain a piece of their experience for yourself.
For example, a few years ago, I read about Jeff Bezos and some of the story of Amazon. 20 years of events, information, and thoughts were condensed into a book which I read in just a few weeks.
Before, I didn’t know anything about the inner workings of Amazon and how Jeff Bezos thought on a short and long term basis.
However, after, I now understood more about their business and what it means to become one of the biggest and most influential companies in the world.
For you, if you want to become smarter, it’s time to read and learn from the giants of the past.
2. Redefine Learning
“I keep challenging myself. I see life almost like one long university education that I never had – every day I’m learning something new. – Richard Branson
What is learning? Is it something you do at school? Is it something that stops after college? Is learning something that needs a textbook, or is it anything that stimulates our brains?
To me, learning is something anyone can do. Learning does not require a book, and certainly continues after school.
The most successful people in the world are continuously learning – they are constantly reading, coming up with new ideas, talking with other successful people, and growing.
To become smarter, you need to redefine learning.
First, learning is not something that need a teacher for and you definitely do not need a book to learn. Learning can happen anywhere and at any time!
Second, learning is a process that will bring both successes and failures. Learning is not a linear path to becoming an expert.
Rather, learning is the process of going from not knowing a lot to becoming knowledgeable and proficient in a certain area. Learning takes time, but, through experimentation, you can become more intelligent in a subject.
3. Become Curious in Everyday Life and Ask Questions
One of the first steps to becoming smarter is to realize that their are gaps in your knowledge and improving your understanding of various things will be beneficial for you in the future.
Being closed minded and living in an echo chamber is not helpful for achieving your goals.
It’s okay to say “I don’t know” and look to answer the questions you have.
Having a growth mindset and looking to learn a little bit each day is critical if you want to become more intelligent.
You cannot know more if you don’t poke around curiously for the answer.
Realize that in each interaction you have, you can learn something or pick up a new tip. If you stay doing the same thing everyday, that’s all you are going to get.
If you change things up, you can start to make improvements and correct the mistakes you’ve made in the past.
Even if these questions are just clarifying a situation, they can make all the difference in your understanding and lead to becoming more intelligent as you now know of more of the full picture.
4. Get Enough Sleep and Rest Every Night
Getting enough sleep and rest each day is a key part of growth and learning.
Just like your muscles, you need to allow your brain a rest and time to grow.
There have been many studies looking at learning, memory and the quantity and quality of sleep a person receives.
When we get enough sleep, we are able to perform at a higher level, but if we are sleep deprived, we are more forgetful and do not perform at our best.
When trying to learn, it’s important to get enough sleep – whether this is 6 hours, 8 hours, or 10 hours is up to you to figure out.
The point here is that your brain is just like your muscles. You need to mix it up and give it a rest to see optimal gains.
5. Spend Time Exploring a New Place
When you were a kid, did you ever go to a new place and have the best time of your life? Exploring, making new connections, and discovering this new place were some of the best times and always very fun.
As an adult, I’ve done this as well from time to time in my own city and state, and think it’s still as exciting and stimulating as when I did it as a kid.
Going to a new place and just walking around, exploring, and leaving all expectations at the door can be freeing. Doing this can allow your brain to make new connections and exercise in different ways.
I’ve also experienced this by going to new stores or restaurants in different areas of the city I live in. For example, just going for a coffee at a different coffee shop (pre-COVID) and sitting there watching those around you interact can be something different and new.
The point of learning is to give you brain new stimuli and to allow it to grow over time.
With exploration and experimentation, you can will challenge your brain to grow.
6. Conduct Experiments and Get Outside Your Comfort Zone
Here’s something to internalize: the only way you are going to grow is by getting outside your comfort zone.
Testing your assumptions, making mistakes, and correcting your errors will lead to more successes over time.
However, without those experiments, you will not have learned what to do in situations that require change and adjustment, and for this, you will be lacking intelligence in that area.
What do I mean by conducting experiments?
Conducting experiments could be as easy as reading a book about communication and testing some of the greetings in the book on people in real life to see their reaction.
Maybe you read about a new way to say “what’s up” (this is a dumb example, but it’s still an experiment!)
You say this new way to say “what’s up” and the person talking to you lights up with excitement and proceeds to tell you about their life.
This would be positive feedback to your experiment and if you want to continue to see success, you can keep using this phrase.
Again, this is just an example. However, for you, you should figure out which areas of life you want to improve in, start experimenting and learning, and over time, you’ll become more intelligent in those areas.
7. Do Something Creative Every Day
Becoming smarter involves activating different parts of your brain. As mentioned above, intelligence comes in different flavors, and creative intelligence is one of those different flavors.
Doing something creative each day will help you become smarter and more intelligent.
- making music
- writing in a journal
- designing a website
- painting a picture
- doing photography
- cooking a meal
- sewing a new piece of clothing
all that matters is you are activating and exercising the creative part of your brain.
Just like diet, exercise is another important piece to becoming smarter.
For me, I try to do a little bit each day. I enjoy doing bodyweight exercises, biking, walking, rock climbing, and playing basketball with friends.
I don’t have a gym pass, and don’t subscribe to the thought that you need to be a meat head to be getting the full benefits of exercise.
Instead, doing a little bit each day, 30-60 minutes of activity will be good for your health and wellness.
Getting your blood pumping will help with brain activity – and through this, you’ll allow your brain the necessary stimulation to help you with your learning goals.
9. Eat Healthy Foods to Give Your Brain the Necessary Energy it Needs
Have you ever heard of the saying, you are what you eat?
Putting garbage into your body will result in having a garbage physique and mental state.
If you want to become smarter, giving your brain and body the proper nutrients and energy it needs to very important.
Getting your diet right is a piece of learning because food is what fuels you to take action on your goals and to continue to improve in life.
Everyone will be different in what kind of food they can eat, but getting your diet right involves eating healthy foods and drinking a lot of water.
For me, eating healthy means eating a high fat, high protein diet with a lot of fruits and vegetables mixed in.
Also, for my health, I’ve experimented with fasting and do intermittent fasting, and also I’ve had to figure out if there was any additional supplementation that I needed to obtain the proper mix of vitamins and minerals.
Eating right will help you get to your peak performance in learning and action, which will in turn help you become smarter and more successful.
10. Surround Yourself with Books from Different Eras and With Different Topics
Would you rather be an expert in one subject, or a jack of all trades?
Some of the smartest people in the world are so smart because they can pull from their experiences in a wide range of situations and apply a different solution to the current problem.
Reading both fiction books and non-fiction books with different topics will expose you to different ideas and help you become more intelligent.
I’ve found that some of the best life messages came from books where I didn’t think I’d get much value out of it before reading the book.
With this, it’s important to not live in an echo chamber and read about things outside your usual area of expertise to fill in your gaps of knowledge.
11. Do What You Like and Try to Become Better at it
I have a question: would you rather spend time doing things you like, or do things you don’t like?
The answer is clearly that you would rather do things that you enjoy doing…
Becoming smarter can be done if you approach the things you like doing with the thought of “how can I get better at this?”
For example, I love playing golf. Over the past few months, I’ve been researching how I can hit the ball straighter wen I want to hit it straight, or how I can add spin if I want the ball to curve.
This has taken a lot of practice and time to learn how my body can affect the swing of the golf club, but over time, I’ve become more self-aware of my hands, arms and body when I swing, and I’ve improved.
While I’m still improving, I’ve become smarter in golf and now I’m better than I was before.
What do you enjoy doing?
If you love cooking, how can you make your food taste better? If you love running, how can you get faster, or run more without causing injury?
Through answering these questions, you’ll become smarter in what you are doing, and become more intelligent.
12. Learn a New Language and Learn in that Language
It has been proven that bilingual people are smarter, and through learning a second language, you will challenge yourself to use your brain in different ways.
However, if you learn a new language, and then learn in that language, you will be stimulating your brain in two different ways at the same time!
Over the past year, I’ve learned how to communicate in Spanish. After 2 years of high school Spanish 10 years ago, I didn’t have much of a base of knowledge, but through dedication, studying and practice, I’m now able to discuss many topics in Spanish comfortably. I’m not perfect, but my Spanish is very good for a non-native speaker.
It has been a lot of work, but now, I watch videos on YouTube in Spanish to further practice, but also to learn more about different subjects.
For you, even obtaining a level of A2 or B1 on the CEFR scale can be achieved in less than a year, and after this, you will continue to grow and build upon your successes.
13. Live Intentionally and Take Responsibility of Your Life
Taking responsibility for your life is one of the fastest ways to become smarter.
If you don’t know something, who’s fault is it?
If you think it is your fault that you don’t know something, then that is the first step to knowing it.
Once you make the decision that you are going to learn a subject, and you start learning, you are on the way to becoming smarter.
Living intentionally is better than living unintentionally, and once you make the decision to live intentionally, your life will change for the better.
14. Teach Others How to Do Something
It is said that true proficiency in a topic is when you can teach someone else how to do something.
When you are able to teach someone something, you are showing you have the knowledge and skills to back up that teaching.
Think for example of a time when you taught someone something… were you able to make sense of the problem or situation at hand, and guide them to a solution?
If you didn’t know the topic or situation at hand well enough, you wouldn’t have been able to help them.
Instead, you had the knowledge and the information in your brain, and with this knowledge, you were able to help them.
Teaching can come in many forms: tutoring, blogging, creating a course, volunteering, etc.
The point here is that the more you teach, the deeper your knowledge of a subject becomes, and through this, the smarter you become.
15. Make Learning a Part of Your Everyday Life
“I don’t believe anyone can be “improved” by buying and reading a book. They can only be “improve, if that is the word, by their own actions.” – Felix Dennis
Becoming smarter is not something you can accomplish just by saying you are going to become smarter.
While yes, in theory, you can start making smarter decisions from this moment on, but changing the way you think and your mindset towards life will take some work.
Learning needs to be an part of your life everyday; you need to turn into a learning machine if you want to become more knowledgeable and smarter in life.
Consistent efforts and action will be key on your journey. Reading a little bit , answering unanswered questions you might have, listening to podcasts, and watching instructional videos each day will add up over time.
Through these efforts, you will be able to accomplish your goal of becoming more intelligent, and you’ll be on to amazing things.
Will You Become Smarter this Year to Help You Achieve Your Goals?
Decide today that you are going to become better in life, and decide today that you are going to become smarter.
Whatever the reason, the decision to improve in life is always a noble one, and through your actions, you’ll set yourself up to do amazing things.
It might not happen tomorrow, it might not happen next month, but over time, by following the steps above, you will become smarter and you’ll be on the path to achieving your goals.
I know you can do it and I know you can reach your full potential in life.
Readers: which steps will you take first to becoming smarter? What’s your favorite book? Who have you learned more from in your life?