In the western world intelligence is indicative of status. It all began in ancient Greece. Philosophers of the time theorized that certain political figures were of inherent intelligence and should be trusted solely to be in charge of political affairs since the common man was not intelligent enough to cast a well-informed ballot. This philosophy was the shallow end of a deeper philosophical relationship between intelligence and worth. It began with animals. One side of the philosophical debate was that animals do not have rights due to the fact that they inherently lack reasoning ability. Their unintelligence and lack of reasoning ability removed them as a contender for equal rights. Inherent reasoning skills=worth rights, inherent lack of reasoning skills=not worth rights. You can probably see how this can set the stage for prejudice and discrimination. All people have to do is collectively conclude that a group of people are inherently less intelligent, and this is enough basis to deny basic rights, or fair treatment, or deny them a chance for higher education, a job, or even just an interview.
In our lives we have learned that intelligence is the indicator of worth and status. And sometimes it’s true! Our good SAT scores get us into a good college and our high GPAs can get us jobs and internships. The higher up the ladder you climb, the more intelligence you are perceived to possess. While intelligence can be over-valued at times, we do need a certain degree of logical reasoning to live productive and fruitful lives. I am happy to share my thoughts about how to increase your cognitive abilities, but these tips are neither quick nor easy. If you want to get smarter, you need to put in the work. So if you are here for a quick way to gain IQ points, you’re in the wrong place. However, if you are looking for practical ways to increase your intelligence for personal growth, professional development, or academic development, you’re in the right place. Keep in mind that you probably won’t want to hear all the things I’m going to tell you, so your true motivation to increase your intelligence will be tested.
Open Your Mind
Albert Einstein stated that “The measure of intelligence is the ability to change.” You need to keep an open mind about everything. So what does that mean? It means that you need to be open to new things, new challenges and new experiences. Your perspective is only one and you can increase your intelligence by allowing yourself to see through someone else’s eyes, listening and trying to understand someone else’s perspective, and absorbing as much as you can about the world around you free of judgement. You can see through someone else’s eyes without leaving the comfort of your home. Watch Youtube videos about diverse people’s opinions about important issues, you can read articles from varying points of view (both in favor of your opinion and against it), you can even try listening to music, or watching movies that are different than what you usually like. Also keep an open about your opinions. Your answer is not the only answer and may well be the wrong answer. Be open to the fact that you may be wrong in your opinions and be willing to accept that whole-heartedly so you can push yourself towards more correct thinking.
Accept That You Know Nothing
As Socrates so eloquently put it, “I am the wisest man alive, for I know one thing, and that is that I know nothing.” Paradoxically, he is stating that accepting that you know nothing makes you the wisest man. There is no room to learn if you think you already know everything because in reality you don’t. The more you accept that you know nothing, the more motivated you will be to learn. There is always so much room for learning and so much to be learned that there is zero room for over confidence in what you think you know. This also creates an insatiable curiosity for random stuff. One day you’ll be curious about astrophysics and how stars collapse in on themselves, another day you’ll be curious about neuropsychology and how the brain processes feelings of fear. There’s no end to the stuff!
Challenge Your Mind
Engage yourself in something that pushes your brain from time to time. Read challenging articles, solve word puzzles, or play Sudoku. Whatever gets your brain pumping is fair game. The objective is to increase your logical deduction skills and do things that increase your mental endurance. You’ll need that especially if you are getting ready to take a standardized exam.
It’s a myth that our attention spans are getting shorter, so don’t try to use that as an excuse to avoid putting in work. Instead of simply reading articles all the time, make time to read something mentally stimulating. It can be about psychology, philosophy, evolution, or history- anything really! Just set out to dive deeper into your interests and curiosities instead of just reading an article and calling it a day.