Listen up: If you think your learning days are over because you’re a grown-up, you couldn’t be more wrong.
Even if school seems like a lifetime ago, it doesn’t mean you can’t learn new things and grow as a person. Learning is a lifelong process and wisdom comes with age!
With that in mind, here are 10 habits to adopt so that you can become a little bit smarter every day.
Let’s get started:
1) Read, read, and read
From novels to newspapers to scientific journals to blog posts, there’s no denying the power of the written word.
To tell you the truth, it’s going to be quite difficult to become smarter if you don’t read.
My advice is that if you’re not an avid reader but want to expand your knowledge, you should start by making reading a daily habit.
Also, try to choose subjects that expose you to new ideas and perspectives.
2) Embrace lifelong learning
We’re never too old to learn.
And while it’s true that our minds are the most receptive to new information when we’re kids, it doesn’t mean that we should give up the idea of learning new things and expanding our minds when we’re older.
That’s why I think you should embrace the idea of continuous learning.
Learn new skills, take online courses, attend workshops… Learn pottery, learn how to code, take a psychology course…
Choose whatever peaks your interest, because it’s so much easier to learn something you’re actually curious about.
3) Learn a new language
Maybe you’ve always wanted to learn French, the language of love.
Or maybe you like to watch telenovelas and find yourself understanding quite a bit of Spanish.
So why not sign up for a class?
Not only is learning a new language a pretty neat skill to have, but studies have shown that it can actually change your brain!
That’s right, it can improve your cognitive function and memory, and even delay dementia as you get older.
What are you waiting for? Allez-y and sign up already!
4) Learn how to play an instrument
It’s never too late to learn to play an instrument.
Okay, so maybe you can’t become a professional concert pianist at 40, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t learn how to read sheet music and how to make your instrument produce wonderful sounds.
When I was 16, I took a beginner’s piano class and guess what – most of the other students were 60 and older!
Let me tell you something, these folks were having the time of their lives.
And not only is being able to play an instrument a great skill to have at a party, but just like learning a new language, learning to play an instrument has also been shown to increase cognitive function and have other positive effects on the brain.
5) Don’t depend on technology so much
Here’s a good way to become smarter – think for yourself!
I mean, we use our phones and computers for pretty much everything, from Googling anything and everything, to checking our spelling and doing simple arithmetic.
Don’t get me wrong, I think that technology is great – it makes everything so much easier.
But at the same time, it makes our brains kinda lazy…
Don’t worry, there’s a solution!
Next time you need to calculate something, try doing it in your head. And if it’s too complicated, take out a pen and paper.
Wanna know where a country is? How about you take out your old Atlas?
Trust me, depending less on technology and more on your brain is guaranteed to flex those brain muscles and make you smarter.
6) Engage in meaningful conversations
Wanna be smarter? Then you need to hang out with smart people.
Now, I’m not saying that you should ditch your old friends who may not be the brightest people around, far from it! They’re your friends and you should love and cherish them!
But, it wouldn’t hurt to expand your circle of friends to include a couple of intellectuals, would it?
It’s quite simple, to become smarter, you need to talk to people who know stuff you don’t, people who inspire and challenge you intellectually.
Be ready to soak up information and be open to different viewpoints.
7) Challenge yourself intellectually
This can actually be a really fun way to become smarter.
The best part is that there are so many options out there: chess, crossword puzzles, sudoku, brainteasers, and strategic games, to name just a few. You can even do a lot of this stuff on the bus on your way to work!
Basically, anything that stimulates your brain is a good way to go.
8) Stay curious and ask questions
I think that one of the reasons that kids are able to learn so much is because they’re curious about the world around them. Remember what that was like?
Curiosity fuels a thirst for knowledge, so, what if you were to find that same curiosity again?
Also, kids aren’t afraid to ask questions.
Don’t be shy to admit you don’t know something because asking questions fills gaps in your knowledge, promotes critical thinking, fosters a growth mindset, and expands your horizons!
9) Take an online course
It can be something relevant to your work or totally unrelated.
I’ve taken many online courses over the years, from courses on internet governance to psychology to watercolor for beginners to creative writing.
And if you’re worried about money, there are many free courses available out there from prestigious universities.
You really don’t have a good excuse not to take an online course!
10) Visit museums
Finally, I have to mention museums.
There are so many museums out there and you can learn something and become smarter in every one of them!
There are museums on art and history and natural history and even chocolate! That’s right, museums where you can find out about how chocolate was discovered and how the Mayans and Aztecs used to prepare cacao!
Why not make Sundays your museum days? Just think about it, every Monday morning you’ll wake up a little bit smarter!