We all want to know the one secret to becoming smarter, don’t we?
If you search for “ways to become smarter” on the internet, you will get a lot of crazy suggestions. Maybe some more than others. After all, do you really think that a pill will make you more intelligent? Rather use these search results as a test for your preexisting intellect. Looking closely at what you find is the first step to understanding that it is BS.(over-generalizing)
The secret to becoming more intelligent is nothing special, yet it has been overlooked in the past times.
The absolute secret to being smarter is READING.
“Wow, you’ll say. Thanks for sharing this novel information. Where do I exit this article?”
But before you go, stop for a minute.
If you truly were clear about the effects that reading has on your intellect, why would you have clicked on this article? You already knew the ultimate secret, didn’t you?
Here’s the catch: Many of us know that reading does wonderful things to our intellect, yet we do not really know where to start. Oftentimes we even try to read as much as we can, but never really end up taking anything from it. We end up as a smart as we were before. We might as well use our time for something else.
Yet, why is this the secret of every successful and bright person on earth? Why do others take so much from reading and we don’t?
The thing is we do not think about what we read.
You’ll find thousands of blog posts and YouTube videos on reading faster, but fewer about how to think about what you read.
After all, we do not read for the sake of reading, but because we want to learn something.
Three ways to be a better reader:
Understand that it will take time. Invest it.
We are too often misguided by the illusion that we can read fast and still make use of what we are reading.
I am not saying you have to read as slow as one book in two months, yet you have to be willing to stop and reflect.
If you simply rush through a book, what will you have taken from it?
When you are only reading for pleasure, you could easily read one novel in one day (Or however fast you read.).
However, it looks completely different when you are reading non-fiction for self-improvement.
Do your truly believe that by reading a non-fiction book in a day, you will be able to significantly improve your life? No, improbable.
So why do we still do it?
Because we want to seem smart and boast of all the books we have read.
But what does it actually serve you, if you only take a fraction of the book’s benefit with you?
Nothing. If you are out for skimming through a book you might as well not read it.
You have to be willing to invest the necessary time to read a book.
This doesn’t necessarily mean that you cannot read it in one go. You could read the book once and then once you are familiar with the content and the principles, you can go back and further engage with it.
So how do we think about what we read?
First and foremost, if you want to unlock the secret to becoming smarter, you need to know some of the basics. It is critical that you make the information you read, your own.
Paraphrase it, write it in your journal (if you don’t journal, you might as well start now!).
Then try to transfer the information onto your life.
How does this apply to me? What can I use this for in my life?
By making information more personal it is ‘categorized’ as relevant to our brains and is then stored, thus making us remember it better.
And why would you want to retain information better?
When you retain the relevant read information you can apply the theories and suggestions. So you take the maximal benefit from any book you are reading.
This goes right into our next tip:
Apply the information to your life
Spoiler alert: Potential to change your life!
By applying information from the book to your life, you make use of the book. Books are there to help us improve our lives. They are supposed to help us learn a language, a principle or a strategy. Why wouldn’t we use it?
Think about it this way: The author has most likely put years’ worth of experience and knowledge into this book. He has enough skill to be accepted to publish it. He has invested time into writing and publishing.
The content is probably highly valuable, so why wouldn’t you use it to improve your life, based on other people’s experiences?
Through books, we learn to live a thousand lives in one lifetime.
Every time you see that a proposition is outlined, a strategy you could apply, take notes and then create a step-by-step action plan for how to apply it to your life.
You’d be surprised by the outstanding effects this has on your life!
You won’t understand why you ever read in another manner!
If you are applying these ways to your reading and make them a habit, you’ll soon be the smartest person around.
Why? Because rarely anyone will read as thoroughly as you do.
Seek challenges every day. Read consistently and make something from it. Use reading as a matter to the means.
Interested in reading more about becoming a smarter and more proficient you? Then head on over to my blog and subscribe to the newsletter.
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.