In a world where even your fridge needs a Facebook account, being smart today is relative. You can be book smart, street smart, game show smart, people smart, even football pool smart. There are so many situations in life today that require you to display the amount of gray matter that you posses. The burning question remains- can I get smarter? NOW? The easy answer is YES, but it’s not as black and white as that.
According to scientist Raymond Cattell, intelligence is broken down into 2 types -Fluid and Crystallized. Fluid refers to the ability to be adaptable. To solve problems, even in an unfamiliar situation. In essence it is the ability to think on your feet-and generally make the right decisions. Cattel named it fluid for the very reason that fluid is every changing and adapts to whatever container it is put in. If you spend much time thinking outside the box, then you poses a high level of fluid intelligence.
Crystallized intelligence is what we today consider book smart. It is essentially the ability to use our acquired knowledge. The knowledge we have learned through education- via books, schooling, etc. It doesn’t require the same open mindedness that Fluid does.
So now that we’ve got all of that scientific jargon out of the way, let’s get to the good stuff: How to become smarter quickly.
Don’t Tease Yourself- Brain Teasers are only good for one thing. Brain Teasers may be great for making you think you’re puffing up your brain (as you would your chest), but in reality, the only thing they do is make you smarter at brain teasers. There is no scientific evidence to prove that they actually make you smarter out there in the real world.
If You Build it, it Will Come. It is the old adage that if you believe it, it will happen. Studies have shown that if you convince yourself that you CAN get smarter, you will enhance your learning and motivation. Who knew?
Jumping Jack Your Way to Brilliance. Yes, as with every other situation, physical exercise can help. This is especially prevalent in developing brains. The idea is that exercise literally promotes the physical growth of neurons. Studies were conducted on groups of adults engaging in aerobic, resistance, and balance exercises. Those in the resistance and aerobic groups had improved brain function- both verbal and spatial memory. Do we need more logic than that?
Get Social. Social integration makes you smarter. It’s as simple as that. Studies were done on a group of people over a 4 year period. They were given intelligence tests over the duration of the 4 years. The findings were that the people with the highest level of social integration had the least amount of decline in cognitive function than that of the less socially active.
Make it Difficult. Get rid of your GPS, pull out an old fashioned map and figure things out the hard way. Your brain needs exercise, just as your body does. Put away the spell check and edit that blog yourself. Let your brain resurrect it’s memory.
So what does that mean for us? Basically, take the stairs, not the elevator. Believe in yourself. Put on your running shoes and get outside and get active, and do it all with your friends.