Intelligence is fluid, not fixed. For a long time, scientists believed that intelligence rarely changed during a person’s life. Highly intelligent people just happened to have won the genetic lottery.
Today, this view of intelligence has changed completely. Scientists now see intelligence as an epigenetic phenomenon, a blend of nature and nurture. The entire study of human intelligence shifted dramatically after a breakthrough discovery in neuroscience called neuroplasticity. In fact, it changed our view of intelligence forever.
Neuroscience credits researcher Michael Merzenich with the discovery of neuroplasticity. In the 1970s, he set out to prove that genetic inheritance fixed the brain’s capacity to grow and change, but discovered the exact opposite.
However, Merzenich’s discovery is actually a rediscovery. In the early 1900s, Santiago Ramón y Cajal, the father of neuroscience, developed the idea of neuronal plasticity after examining brain tissue over many years. Unfortunately, Cajal’s ideas did not gain scientific support. The scientific community only gave up their entrenched dogma about fixed intelligence after Merzenich’s experiments.
4 Tips to Improve Your Intelligence
While there are numerous ways to improve your intelligence over time. The following four ideas will get you off to a good start.
1. Read more books
If you read a book on a certain subject for an hour a day for 7 years, you will have the equivalent of a Ph.D. in that subject. Joseph Campbell read books on mythology for years and unintentionally became one of the most erudite mythologists in the world.
Imagine what you could do if you devoted 1,820 hours of reading on a subject that fascinated you. When reading, take notes. While it’s fine to fill up notebooks, you may find it easier to organize and save notes online.
2. Take online classes
Online classes may be even more effective than regular classes.
You can, for example, rewind videos to listen to exactly the same lecture until you understand all the core concepts. Moreover, while some lectures might simply make you listen to an instructor talk, others will have graphics to make ideas even easier to understand and remember.
You can also learn faster through interactive quizzes.
3. Improve learning skills
There are several skills that you can learn to improve your capacity to learn. You can, for example, learn how to use the Cornell Method to take better notes, use mind maps to understand the relationship between ideas, use mnemonics to improve recall, and use spaced repetition to periodically refresh your memory about subjects.
4. Exercise regularly
Because exercise increases the heart rate, more oxygen-rich blood is sent to the brain. This, in turn, stimulates brain plasticity. As you learn an exercise, cortical areas in your brain make new connections.
Increasing Your Intelligence Will Dramatically Improve Your Life
If you progressively work on changing your intelligence, upgrading it with the dedication that programmers use to refine better versions of already great software, your life will get increasingly better.
The world is becoming increasingly complex. Not only is artificial intelligence quickly overtaking human intelligence, but human intelligence is becoming increasingly diluted by technology. As people become addicted to social media and entertainment, they are losing their natural capacity to remember, focus, and innovate.
By progressively increasing your intelligence over the years, you will find things easier to understand and discover the world to be a fascinating place. You will also quickly make progress in anything you decide to learn and might even enjoy a remarkable career.
Intelligence is not a lucky break. It’s a result of evolution. Better still, it’s an evolutionary shift that you can engineer, not unlike a frail person building a powerful physique after a systematic program of nutrition and strength-training.