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These Simple Daily Habits Will Actually Make You Smarter

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You might be under the impression that intelligence is a fixed quantity set when you are young and unchanging thereafter. But research shows that you’re wrong. How we approach situations and the things we do to feed our brains can significantly improve our mental horsepower. The Muse shared their useful suggestions, which you can easily fit into your daily routine to make you a little bit smarter every day.

1. Be Smarter About Your Online Time

Every online break doesn’t have to be about checking social networks and fulfilling your daily ration of cute animal pics. The web is also full of great learning resources, such as online courses, intriguing TED talks, and vocabulary-building tools. Replace a few minutes of skateboarding dogs with something more mentally nourishing.

2. Write Down What You Learn

It doesn’t have to be pretty or long, but taking a few minutes each day to reflect in writing about what you learned is sure to boost your brainpower.

3. Make a “Did” List

A big part of intelligence is confidence and happiness, so boost both by pausing to list not the things you have yet to do, but rather all the things you’ve already accomplished.

4. Get Out the Scrabble Board

Board games and puzzles aren’t just fun but also a great way to work out your brain.

5. Have Smart Friends

It can be rough on your self-esteem, but hanging out with folks who are more clever than you is one of the fastest ways to learn. Keep smart company. Surround yourself with smarter people.

6. Read a Lot

Reading is essential. Opinions vary on what’s the best brain-boosting reading material, with suggestions ranging from developing a daily newspaper habit to picking up a variety of fiction and nonfiction, but everyone seems to agree that quantity is important. Read a lot.

7. Explain it to Others

Make sure you’ve really learned what you think you have learned and that the information is truly stuck in your memory by trying to teach it to others. It’s fairly easy to learn new information. Being able to retain that information and teach others is far more valuable.

8. Do Random New Things

The Muse shared the story of Steve Jobs’ youthful calligraphy class:

“After dropping out of school, the future Apple founder had a lot of time on his hands and wandered into a calligraphy course. It seemed irrelevant at the time, but the design skills he learned were later baked into the first Macs.

The takeaway: You never know what will be useful ahead of time. You just need to try new things and wait to see how they connect with the rest of your experiences later on. “You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backward. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future,” Parrish quotes Jobs as saying. In order to have dots to connect, you need to be willing to try new things—even if they don’t seem immediately useful or productive.”

9. Learn a New Language

No, you don’t need to become quickly fluent or trot off to a foreign country to master the language of your choosing. You can work away steadily from the comfort of your desk and still reap the mental rewards. “Learn a new language. There are a lot of free sites for that. Use Livemocha or Busuu,” says Saloi (personally, I’m a big fan of Memrise once you have the basic mechanics of a new language down).

10. Take Some Downtime

Give yourself space for your brain to process what it’s learned. Spend some time just thinking.




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