Best Practices To Improve Your IQ
I only recently discovered there is a secret society for people with high IQs. It’s called Mensa—aka The Nerd Herd. It’s actually not a secret, but I consider anything no one has told me about in the 39 years I’ve been on planet Earth to be a conspiracy. So it’s a secret as far as I’m concerned.
To get in, you have to take a test and score in the top 2 percent of all IQs in the universe, aliens included. (I’m assuming these people know about the aliens and aren’t telling us.) After that, your nerdship is official. You no longer have to wonder.
That is the stupidest thing I could ever possibly even imagine imagining, was the first thought that came to me when I learned about this. I want in, was the second.
I downloaded the Mensa app to my iPhone, took a practice test—and failed miserably. They were all trick questions apparently. The words “You’re average” started flashing on the screen as my first urge to smash a $700 phone on the ground came over me.
Then I did some things (that I’ll tell you in a second) and started scoring at a genius level. I’ll be taking the official test later this month and will soon be able to put an end to all future arguments with my wife by simply pulling out my Mensa card. I can’t wait.
1. Become a renaissance man. Or woman.
Be a student of life—not just wealth, health and happiness. Study history, science, psychology, art, languages, math, music, etc. Learn how this world works. Add depth to your mind and character. Read at least one book a week. Start to notice the patterns. Intelligence all boils down to pattern recognition.
One of my mentors said something interesting last week. He said, “I’ve noticed something. All my super rich friends are good at math.” And I realized that’s true of mine as well. Are you good at math? When you watch Shark Tank, can you calculate the valuations of the businesses in your head like the sharks do? If not, why not get good? Add it to your arsenal. You need a big arsenal to succeed in life. Mindset and success techniques are just a small fraction of what’s required.
2. Play the brain game Dual N-Back.
Do this 20 minutes a day. It will improve your working memory, and one study showed it increased IQ drastically. Other studies showed it didn’t. Screw those studies. I’ve been doing this for a while, and it is definitely doing something amazing to my brain.
3. Do regular high cardio exercise.
The version of Dual N-Back I use tracks my progress. Well one day I went to the gym and played the game right when I got home (I use the word “game” lightly—it’s mild torture). My scores went through the friggin roof. There is something about the release of endorphins that sends your brain into overdrive. Get as many of those endorphins as possible.
4. Learn an instrument.
Learning to play music is the equivalent of giving your brain a full body workout. This has been proven in studies using FMRI scans. Simply put, playing an instrument lights your entire brain on intellectual fire and has lasting impact on math and spatial reasoning skills. It’s not for no reason the wealthy almost universally require their children to learn a classical instrument whether they like it or not. Carve out 30 minutes a week to take a lesson and release your inner rock star.
5. Buy the book Boost Your IQ by Carolyn Skitt, and play all the games.
This book was written by Mensa nerds, so you can be guaranteed they know what they’re talking about.
Bottom line: your intelligence is not set in genetic stone. You can increase it. And as you do, all the other things you’re trying to succeed at will become amazingly easier. I did it. You can do it.
“You have to be smart. The easy days are over.” –Robert Kiyosaki
Neuroscientists are now clear that adults are capable of changing their IQ–both for better and for worse. Here are a few ways to keep yours trending up and to the right:
1. Play chess
There’s a reason chess has been played for centuries, and by royalty. An intricate and complex game, it develops your problem-solving skills, improves your concentration, and stimulates both sides of the brain, which helps strengthen your corpus callosum.
The corpus callosum is the part of the brain that connects the two hemispheres, and experts theorize that part of the reason Einstein was so brilliant was that his was particularly well-developed. He could access his entire brain all at the same time, instead of only one or the other part.
According to a study out of Venezuela, children who took chess classes for 14 weeks significantly increased their IQ. Another 2003 study out of Flinders University in Australia came to the same conclusion: participants who played chess demonstrated improved IQ levels.
2. Do sprints
The neuroscience is clear: aerobic exercise is extremely good for your brain. In fact, working out raises your IQ far more than playing an online brain game. Plus, a Swedish study proved that cardiovascular fitness can actually raise your verbal intelligence by 50%. Said Maria Aberg, who led the study, “Increased cardiovascular fitness was associated with betIt’s easy to think of IQ as something fixed: You take the test and it tells you how smart you are. But that’s not actually how it works; intelligence is far more fluid than previously thought, and your brain is a lot more malleable than it is rigid.ter cognitive scores. In contrast, muscular strength was only weakly associated with intelligence.”
So if you want to be smarter, don’t just lift; do sprints.
3. Take creatine
Research out of the University of Sydney showed that if you take 5g of creatine daily, you can lift your IQ by a full 15 points over a six-week period. Said study leader Caroline Rae, “Creatine gave a significant boost to brain power.” Why? In part because it lifts the energy levels available for computation in your brain.
4. Start meditating
Countless studies find that meditating for as little as 20 minutes a day not only boosts your mood and lowers your stress levels, but also improves efficiency when it comes to deep cognitive processing. This is core to fluid intelligence, and part of what helps you become truly innovative.
If you replaced 20 minutes of surfing Facebook with 20 minutes of meditating using an app like Calm or HeadSpace, you’d get smarter and lose absolutely no value in your life.
5. Get enough sleep
According to science out of Loughborough University’s Sleep Research Centre, every hour less than the recommended eight hours of sleep a night can knock off a full point from your IQ.
In fact, their report concluded that regularly losing two hours of sleep a night can cause someone with an average IQ to become “borderline retarded.”
6. Learn a new language
According to neuroscience, learning a foreign language makes your brain grow. Because you’re navigating a new set of complex rules (such as grammar different from your native toIt’s easy to think of IQ as something fixed: You take the test and it tells you how smart you are. But that’s not actually how it works; intelligence is far more fluid than previously thought, and your brain is a lot more malleable than it is rigid.ngue), it forces cortical thickening and increases in the volume of your hippocampus. In plain language, that means you’re causing the language centers in the brain to expand, which eventually helps with other language tasks like negotiating, reading, and problem-solving.
Again, this doesn’t have to take a long time. Download DuoLingo for free and start learning any foreign language in as little as ten minutes a day.
7. Take up the guitar
A study out of the University of Zurich showed that becoming proficient in a musical instrument can raise the IQ of both adults and children. We’re not talking about insignificant gains, either: the average IQ score in the United States is 98. Playing music can raise your IQ by 7 points or more–you could go from 98 to 105 just from learning how to strum Free Fallin’.