Developing your mind takes time and consistency. Little exercises, when performed daily, can significantly improve your brain capacity.
Recentely, on a Quora thread called “what would you do to be a little smarter every single day?” several readers contributed the guidelines and habits that they abide by to expand their minds.
If you’re interested in sounding smarter and thinking better, you should follow these tips.
1 Generate 10 new ideas daily
Every day, try to come up with a new scheme and concept both in your field and outside it.
You can think of new ways to solve existing problems, end world hunger, or develop an exciting screenplay for a new movie. It isn’t easy work, but you can pick up inspiration from anywhere. Don’t try to be too serious, as long as your brain muscles are getting a good workout. Who knows, you might hit the next big business idea.
2 Read the news
The best way to keep in touch with popular and current news is to follow up with all the news you can find. Reading a newspaper everyday keeps you updated, and also expand the border of your mind. You get to develop your ideas and opinions, and it gives you more to talk about in public.
3 Form unique opnions on known subjects
New scenarios come up daily, and we are obligated to form opnions on most of them. Try a new thing where you think of a new unique way of seeing things. Find evidence that supports your claim, and accept opportunities for others to change your mind.
This exercise helps you think critically and form solid arguments while being open-minded. You can find good stories and inspiration from the editorial sections of newspapers and popular forums. This exercise helps you see both sides of every situation instead of being swayed.
4 Improve you reading habits
Ernest Hemingway said, “there is no friend as loyal as book”. Reading a new book weekly, whether fiction or non-fiction, gives you a better outlook on life, and improve your vocabulary.
Fiction introduces you to new characters and open your eyes to whole new perspective.
Non-fiction, on the other hand, exposes you to new topics and cultures.
You can always make time for few hours of reading during your daily itinerary. You can whip out a book while waiting for the bus or a flight. A good community of readers you can check out is Goodreads. It help you keep track of your reading and connect you to similar readers.
5 Watch more educational videos than TV
You can learn more about a subject by watching entertaining videos rather than reading about it. You are more likely to remember facts when they are presented engagingly and unforgettably, better than if you just read about it in a book.
There are several such videos on Khan Academy, and several TED talks showing other people’s views and experiences. Youtube also has plenty of educational channels that provide quality edutainment, such as the SmartEveryDay channel.
6 Subscribe to informative content on your social media
Social media is another venue for you to get current and educational content. Facebook and Twitter are loaded with educational materiel such as videos and mini-articles. Your goal should be to learn something new every day from your news feed.
If you’re interested in science and the latest technology, for example, the “I fucking love science” Facebook page has several interesting videos and articles. Emil newsletters such as study Hacks by Cal Newport, and Today i found out are also a good option.
7 Keep up with your favorite informations sources
Sites like Quora and stackoverflow have several articles and information on many different topics that you can learn from. You can also find knowledge in speciality blogs and pages that deal with the issues you like. Make a habit of following them up daily, so you don’t miss out on any new issues. This habit easy to cultivate since all you’re doing is learning from people that supply you with free and convenient information. You can use the Pocket app to save articles that interest you for later, and then try to read them before you go to bed.
8 Share your new knowledge with others
Being able to explain something to somebody is a sign that you understand the idea. If you have someone who knows more about a different topic, you both can debate and share ideas. If you aren’t comfortable with teaching someone directly, you can start a blog and interact with people online.
9 Write down the skills you want to learn to improve your work and your future goals
Make two lists, one stating the skills you want to learn to improve your professional work, and another one stating your future goals. You can write down a physical list, or use Google docs, which is an easy way to monitor your lists. For both lists, write down what you want to learn or achieve and the sources that can help you achieve them, and then proceed to work on them every day.
The first list can be about learning new software that can improve your productivity at work, or a new computer language if you’re in the computer field, while, your second list should feature more long-terms goals like learning marketing or taking up programming.
Make sure you list the steps that you have to take to achieve each goal.
10 Document your achievements
Before you go to bed at night, write down everything you achieve during the day. This will motivate you and make you want to achieve more the next day. It can also help measure your productivity and help you restructure your time toward being more productive the next day.
11 Make a list of habits you want to stop
Time is too valuable to spend it on wrong and unproductive habits. Evaluate yourself and break those bad habits and replace them with good ones. As Warren Buffet rightly said, “The difference between successful people and very successful people is that the very successful people say ‘no’ to almost everything”.
12 Make notes of what you learn
Writing down every new thing you learn either in a blog or in a notepad makes you more excited to learn more so you’ll have more things to write down. It also helps you keep track of everything you’ve learned and keeps you motivated. When you have to write down every new thing, you’ll be pushed to learn enough to keep the pages filled.
13 Stimulate your brain
The easiest way to keep your mind stimualted is by going for a run daily. It keep you on your feet, and it clears your mind, so you have space to think about productive things. Running also helps you think up solutions to problems, and sort out information.
14 Take online classes
Pick and interesting course from this list of popular professional online course and commit to it. You can pick 2 or 3 but make sure you don’t burden yourself so you can focus on the ones you’ve selected. These courses can keep you focused and they also keep you busy and you’ll find yourself doing an assignment or something every day.
15 Talk to interesting strangers
Don’t back out of approaching strangers whom you find interesting. Talk to them and learn about them and you might learn something unexpectedly.
16 Make friends who are smarter than you
Proximity to intelligent people can help you get more intelligent because you get to have smarter conversations. Try to hang out with people that are more knowledgeable about topics than you are. Open your mind to learn and don’t be shy to ask as many questions as possible. You’ll find yourself soaking up more knowledge and information from them in due time.
17 Find the answer to any question you have
Anytime you hear something new that piques your interest, don’t ignore it. Follow it up and satisfy your curiosity. Always answer whathever questions come up and you will learn a new thing.
18 Use a vocabulary app
Increase you vacobulary by adding new words daily so you can partake in competitive tests like the GRE and SATs. An improved vocabulary makes you sound more articulate to your peers and family. You should also attempt to learn a new language and new vocabulary in that language. Apps like DuoLingo, Basuu, and LiveMocha help you add new words daily to your vocabulary in your preferred foreign language.
19 Leave your comfort zone
Getting our of your comfort zone always makes us wiser. Always try to push yourself to do things you aren’t comfortable doing. Take on more challenges like leading a team at work, giving public speeches, and presenting new proposals and ideas at work. Also try to reach out to people you admire.
20 Travel more
Travelling every day is not feasible, but you can try to travel a few times a year. You can also explore your town or city and find new spots near you. Get outside your house and meet new people, try new foods, and learn new things about he world you live in. You shouldn’t stay indoors all day.
21 Play challenging games
Games like chess and scrabble challenge your mind and make you think. Find ways to make the games more challenging, like playing rapid-fire chess or playing scrabble without a dictionary. Soducku, 2048, and Doors are also challenging games you can learn.
22 Take time out to do nothing
Staying idle and in silence can help clear your mind and give your more inspiration.
23 Get a new beneficial hobby
You should find a new hobby you can do every day, like knitting, scrapbooking, or painting that you can learn from. Doing a new thing every day like reading a new science book, playing a new music piece, or writing a novel helps you develop a new skill.
24 Use every skill you learn
When you learn a new skill, it is best that you use it frequently so that it sticks permanently. The best way to learn is by practicing. Apply that new coding knowledge and play that musical instrument as often as you can until it becomes a skill.
25 Live a healthy life
A balanced diet and proper exercise make a big difference in your mental and general wellbeing. Alcohol and heavy meals can weigh you down and slow down your mental processes. Taking a walk can boost your energy and eating a lot of brain foods can enhance your thinking.
The more blood flowing into your brain, the better your performance. Great thinkers like Mahatma Gandhi and Charles Darwin were famous for their long walks.