Day 40: Get Smarter! 8 Ideas That Really Work

While most of us might not threaten the top 2% of the population that can meet the admission requirements of Mensa, there are a few things you can do today that will lead to a smarter YOU tomorrow.

A more buoyant brain will lead to a more capable, confident you. Here are 8 things you can do to strengthen your mind and keep your confidence in tip-top shape.

  1. Play With Puzzles: Studies clearly show, people who consistently work on puzzles, word challenges and other mind games, are actually raising their IQ. Not only can you make yourself smarter with daily crosswords or other mind challenging puzzles, you can also help to stave off Alzheimer’s and other mind-debilitating diseases.
  2. Talk to People: Yes, simple discussion can boost your brain power. But you must learn to steer clear of small talk and engage in actual conversation. Fuel your passions and let others see your inner fire. If you’re a Mac guy, wax poetic about the brilliance of Steve Jobs. If you’re into music, talk about your favorite artists and why they matter. Diving deeper into discussion forces your mind to manufacture the right vocabulary to effectively describe feelings and thoughts. This helps you feel more confident every time the topic is raised.
  3. Challenge Your Perspective: I always wanted to be on a debate team. Unfortunately, the closest I ever came were the daily arguments I had with my sister growing up. When you play devil’s advocate, you are forced to re-evaluate your view. By forcing yourself to argue the opposite side, your mind can develop valid arguments against what it believes to be true. You will grow smarter and more confident as a result of your understanding.
  4. Read: The more you read, the more you understand. Even if you pick up a book for pleasure, letting your eyes bounce with the rhythm of the sentences will make your brain consider the structure, tone and meaning of the work. Regular reading improves vocabulary, quickens the mind, and gives you a core tool to increase your confidence.
  5. Perform: Sure, you have head knowledge, but do you understand how most things actually work? Even if you’ve read the Great American How-To on shower tile installation, your brain won’t fully absorb the subject until your fingers are deep in grout. Seeing a task to completion allows your mind to think through the steps and solidify all its learned.
  6. Teach: Only after you’ve mastered a skill, can assemble that knowledge into words and then articulate it to someone else on a level they can understand, will you have completed the circle of understanding. There is no better way to fully grasp a subject (or feel more confident about the knowledge you have) than by teaching it to others.
  7. Put in the Hours: It takes 10,000 hours to master a subject, that’s a year’s worth of minutes. That amount of time allows your mind to make massive leaps in-between even the most complicated concepts. When you can tie ideas together and create new one, your IQ begins to increase exponentially. So will your confidence.
  8. Get Sleep: When you sleep, your mind has a chance to piece together everything you’ve learned. When you’re too tired to think, you’re too tired to grow. Sleep well and give your body the rest it needs (and deserves) so your mind has what it needs to grow and give you the confidence you’ve been craving.

If you want to increase your knowledge on a specific subject, try one of the tips above. You might not make it into Mensa, but you will be surprised with how much more you understand in a short period of time, and how much more confident the boost in brainpower makes you feel.


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Sean Platt is an author and professional ghostwriter, and part of the crew at the lifestyle design site, Your Life’s Blueprint. Life’s better when you follow him on Twitter.


Erin shows overscheduled, overwhelmed women how to do less so that they can achieve more. Traditional productivity books—written by men—barely touch the tangle of cultural pressures that women feel when facing down a to-do list. How to Get Sh*t Done will teach you how to zero in on the three areas of your life where you want to excel, and then it will show you how to off-load, outsource, or just stop giving a damn about the rest.

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