1. Cultivate curiosity. I believe curiosity is the difference-maker. I don’t know if curiosity is the cause of higher intelligence or an effect of it, but attempting to be more curious is never a bad endeavor. (See how I wasn’t afraid to say I don’t know something? Final paragraph explains this.)
Try to want to learn more all the time.
Be curious about how things work. From the details of Business culture, to the assembly of a ferris wheel.
Never be content with what you know already.
Don’t believe yourself – question your own beliefs regularly as an exercise. When you find out your beliefs are wrong, simply change them and be OK WITH IT. Changing your beliefs isn’t weak, it’s power.
When smart people don’t know something, they tell people and seek the answer. Less-intelligent people hide their lack of knowledge as though it’s shameful, and handicap their search for knowledge because they think they have to somehow ‘not get caught’ having a lack of information. Huge mistake. Smart people have no problem saying, “I don’t know this!” loudly and proudly.
2. Get enough sleep. The link between sleep deprivation and lowered mental performance is significant.
3. Surround yourself with smart people. People who question, analyze, are are interested in learning more.
4. Ask as many questions as you can shamelessly. Ask yourself, “Why does this do what it does?”
5. READ! Read anything. Magazines. Articles. Books. Fiction. Non-Fiction. READ READ READ READ READ READ.
6. “Read” is only part of the solution.
Real growth comes in the form of discussing ideas and concepts with other people. Having intellectually open and stimulating conversations with other people is the only way I know of to solidify that you actually know what you think you know. It’s easy to convince yourself that you understand something, only to have that understanding fall apart when you try to explain it to someone else or have an actual conversation about it.
Read, yeah – but then find someone else who knows about the same topic and talk about it with them.
7. Strategy games. Even video games can give you a keen mind. Strategy games like chess can help you with critical thinking.
8. If you’re addicted to YouTube like me, then I recommend subscribing to at least a couple of information/philosophy based channels like exurb1a, kurzgesagt, or heck, even Vsauce will do.
9. A healthy diet. A low glycemic index diet may be best but the jury is still out on that. Deficiencies in some nutrients such as iodine can impair intelligence but you are unlikely to suffer those in a first world country with a healthy diet.
10. Learn concentration methods. Or memorization techniques. Stretch your creative muscles, or study up on logic. Practice, and after awhile, you’ll see improvement.
11. Don’t be afraid to jump into a situation while knowing nothing about what’s going on. A great way to build experience and experience can be a sign of intelligence.
12. Regularly practice empathy. I feel that mathematical intelligence is overrated. Emotional intelligence is far more likely to be relevant to your life, and even mathematicians would benefit from cultivating it. Empathy shows that you’re capable of complex thought, and it opens you up to new perspectives.
13. Try a lot. Fail a lot. All the experience adds up. If you’re ever unsure of something, just try one of the options and see what happens. You’ll know for next time.
14. You will also want to get out there and experience things in person. Whether that’s working, schooling, playing. As long as its new or unknown, you’ll continue to pick up new knowledge. This is borderline “wisdom” rather than “intelligence” but it helps in the same areas.
15. Don’t say stuff that is unnecessary just to prove that you’re intelligent. In fact most people conventionally considered intelligent do not consider themselves intelligent. Being humble and recognizing that you always have more to learn is a hallmark of intelligence.
16. Try Sudoku and crossword puzzles.
17. Learn to pay attention to your mistakes and then think hard on how to fix them. That process is the crux of intelligence.
18. Pub quizzes are always a good way to brush up your intellect as are trivia games like Trivial Pursuit.
19. No zero days. Pick a topic you want to learn more about and learn something new about it every day.
20. Think rationally. When doing mostly anything, know what to expect and how to get your intended results. Analyze the situation, fabricate hypotheses. Do not always rely on the instant reaction, but also be quick on your feet. That increases your efficiency which is a vital skill to have.
21. Watch documentaries.
22. Become self-aware though meditation.
23. Practice learning and memorizing things. Activities like forcing yourself to memorize a pattern/number, asking yourself why you did something a certain way and if there was a more efficient way to do it. Challenge yourself on a daily basis.
24. Open yourself up to conversations with people who you don’t agree with. Being open to new perspectives is always a brilliant way to become more in tune with your communication and interpersonal skills. It will also help you become a better debater.
25. You can eliminate burdens on your intelligence by quitting drinking or drugs.
26. Expand your vocabulary.
27. Talk less and listen more.
28. I think the key is that you should always be not only happy to, but available to learn. Meaning you have to hold the idea, tightly, that you could be wrong about things. That you need to learn new things.
You also have to be thirsty for the knowledge in the first place, for whatever your motive. You cannot be the kind of person that hears a word, doesn’t know what it means, and is fine with that. You have to be the type of person that will stop someone talking, and say, “What does that word mean?” and then, actually go and google it to confirm that the other person is right. That curious nature is key. It drives me crazy when someone nods along to whatever I’m saying and I realize they should be reacting much more viscerally and I ask them if they know what I mean by X word, and they have no clue.
You can’t accept that you’re just “not good” at some things. Like luddites of the modern era that proudly proclaim “hurr durr I’m computer illiterate LOL.”
Hunger for Knowledge
Even when it challenges your pre-existing beliefs
That will get you to your peak capacity. Note that capacities vary. Some people have lower IQs than others, meaning they’ll never be on the same level. And that’s fine. Because just being at your own personal highest capacity is… nearly unheard of. People just don’t search out knowledge or truth in any meaningful way for the most part.
29. Doing various activities (scouts, karate, swimming, badminton etc.).
30. Learn finances. Learn about yourself.