Have you ever met a genius?
Those people who seem to know about everything, usually surprising you and in some cases making you feel depressed because they do things that you think are impossible for you to accomplish.
Sometimes these people induce you to think they were naturally born that way, but what would you think if I tell you that you can become a genius just like them?. It’s not a secret, most of the people chose the easiest path before putting themselves on the hard road to success. Nevertheless, the path to achieving mental flexibility is never easy.
Here you’ll find some ideas that are going to help you face a variety of life’s challenges.. ok you’re not going to become Dr. House but these tips will put you well on your way to becoming a smarter person.
1.- Cultivate a reading habit
A lot has been written about this topic (14 Ways to Cultivate a Lifetime Reading Habit), some researches have been done in this field, “The Psychology of Reading for Pleasure: Needs and Gratifications” by PhD. Victor Nell or the study “The Benefits of Reading for Pleasure” conducted by Mark Taylor of Nuffield College at Oxford which concludes that reading for pleasure can lead to better opportunities in the future.
2.- Explore beyond the surface
Today thanks to the Internet we have access to an incredible amount of websites which provide the capability to search any type of information, this is a great time saver. Nonetheless, before using those search engines you should take some minutes to think what are you going to look for and what do you want to find. A lot of people get frustrated because they can’t find what they’re looking for, and most of the time it’s because they’re doing the wrong search. Google Advanced Search and Yahoo Advanced Search are your friends.
3.- Make mistakes and learn from them
People are afraid to fail, but if we don’t fail then we can’t learn. Making mistakes and suffering the consequences doesn’t feel good but this is the best way to learn. Forget your fear of failing, don’t pretend to know everything and please try to solve the problems by yourself before asking someone for help. If you get stucked then try to do some deep searches (see tip n° 2), finally if you couldn’t find the answer then ask someone for help.
4.- Don’t become a parasite
One of the negative side effects of asking for help too often is you that you end becoming a parasite for the people that help you. Because of their great knowledge you see them as an easy way to overcome the obstacles.
For your own good, please don’t do that, as a solution you can ask intelligent questions that point you in the right direction. Don’t ask for answers but instead ask for tips to help you overcome the issue at hand, doing this will help you sharpen your brain and you’ll avoid becoming annoying to the people that help you. If they start ignoring you, congratulations! you’re already a parasite.
5.- Don’t believe everything you read but don’t distrust all
There’s a lot of information out there, this is a double-edged sword; a lot of people like to mislead others, publishing fake information with the sole purpose of getting something from you (money, personal data, etc). Run validation tests to all the information, look for the same data on two or three trusted sites, read positive and negative comments and then try to draw your own conclusions.
6.- Take the risk of proposing and trying out new things
When you’re the new comer at the university or a company, you meet many people that have been there since the beginning. For that reason they’re used to do everything the same way they have for years and this is ok. The problem is, applications evolve over time and maybe now it’s possible to do things in a different or easier way, unfortunately for you they will try to make you fear if you think taking a different approach to do the same. Don’t let them transform you into a robot, avoid becoming a sheep that follows everything blindly without questioning the things you do.
Think out of the box, try new and better ways of doing the same tasks; if you find it’s possible to do things faster and better, document everything, take pictures or screenshots and keep track of all you’ve done. But, please don’t go screaming excited about your findings and more important don’t try to force anybody to start doing things the way you did, doing this will make them hate you and suddenly they will start ignoring you. Defend your findings without being rude or smart-aleck.
7.- Respect others’ knowledge without neglecting your own
Different paths lead to same location, it’s the same when talking about knowledge. Sometimes it’s possible to get the same results using different approaches, it doesn’t mean you’re right and others are wrong, you’re just using a different approach. Respect others’ ideas but don’t allow them to disrespect yours (without being a bully).
8.- Personal development is a daily task
I’ve met a lot of people that think culture is like clothes that can be put into the closet when they come home. I disagree with this point of view, knowledge is everywhere you just need to open your eyes and look around. Learn something everyday about everything you can, it’s true you won’t be an expert but your brain will sharpen and your productivity will increase. It’s not a coincidence that you really are what you know.
Now it’s your turn, do you have a tip to help others become smarter?