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Friday, June 8, 2012

How To Increase Your Intelligence At Any Age (1)

Would you like to grow smarter? Would you like to know more, remember it longer, and access it quicker? I know I would.

I do not think of old age as a time to shrivel up and die. It's the golden opportunity many of us feel we missed out on in our lives. You do not need to have a million dollars in the bank, although I don't think it would hurt. You can get everything you need at your local library. The books and resources there are amazing, and they're there for free.

But, here's the deal. You have to work. There's no magic pill or food or hocus pocus. Just plain old work. Is it fun? I don't think you classify this as fun. Is it painful? Well, how do you define pain? Is it satisfying? How do you define satisfaction? I don't think of learning as fun, but I do find it satisfying. There's something inherently satisfying in expanding our consciousness and our knowledge. There seem to be no limits to our mental capacity. The neuroplasticity of our brains seems to be practically unlimited. I think our minds are actually hungry for knowledge. The more we feed it, the happier it  becomes.

Some of this is learning (working our brains) for the sake of it. It's work. And yes we can become tired and need to know when to quit. But the work is satisfying; I think our brains get a certain enjoyment out of working. Look at elementary school-age kids at work. You see something that is fascinating. You see happiness and eagerness to do more of it.

But the real questions are: Is it worth it? What's in it for me?

13 comments:

Clarissa Draper said...

I agree. Hard work is needed. I'm really glad that I love learning new things. It's never to late to take up something new.

Kamille Elahi said...

I think you can always add to your knowledge but I don't think it's possible to increase your intelligence.

Children tend to be like that because they haven't been 'educated' yet. They're fearless, more likely to be a genius, curious and think they're invincible. Education is great but it isn't flexible enough and you end up being taught to think in a certain way.

I agree completely that you should always be curious and eager to learn regardless of your age. I know some old family members who have said that they're too old to learn anything new now which I disagree with.

I recently began learning Portuguese and my cousin gave up saying that he had less time and that it was harder because he was older than me. I find it sad that as people get older, they gradually give up on learning. There is so much out there to be discovered and it's just silly that some people would just prefer to sit in front of a TV all day watching bad soap operas.

Richard said...

@Kamile "I don't think it's possible to increase your intelligence"

I'll address that in a future post.

Elise Fallson said...

My 6 year old daughter is learning about the Neanderthal people and how they lived during their time. Everyday she comes home and tells me something new she learned and I see the sparks of excitement in her eyes. Learning at her age is fun. I wish that kind of excitement would stay with us into adulthood. When we reach a certain age, we must teach ourselves, we learn by reading and experimenting and don't know how to make it fun. But on the other hand, I find learning very satisfying, more so than when I was much younger. Maybe there's a trade off.

Julia Hones said...

Keeping your mind active is fun. For example, I love to learn new words every single day. I love to challenge my mind in many different ways. Even learning a new dance is challenging to the mind. There are many kinds of intelligence. The IQ is not as valid as we think it is. There is a book by Ken Robinson that analyses this subject. Intelligence is complex and it cannot simply be measured by an IQ.

Richard said...

@Julia: yes, there is also muscle-intelligence. Some athletes can be considered to be muscle-geniuses.

Rachna Chhabria said...

I think its very important to keep one's mind active at all ages. And one way of doing this is by being curious about things and trying to learn new things.

L.G.Smith said...

I'm a lifelong learner. I have too much curiosity to stop discovering new things. I agree it's not necessarily fun, but it is satisfying, as you say. I pity the person who has no desire to know more about their world. What a sad way to live.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Richard .. I must have absorbed a fair amount growing - but honestly it wasn't until I started blogging at 60 or so .. that my eyes really opened and I think I've learnt more in these past few years than I have in the rest of my lifetime .. there wasn't much of a structure to layer it on .. but things stuck!

Interesting to read your next post .. it's that curiosity and interest in life that keeps us interest to others and to ourselves.

Cheers Hilary

Tanya Reimer said...

I play cards with a "mature" crowd once a week, and one of them informed the group this winter that they found an article that said by playing cards once a week it keeps our brains sharp and less likely to forget things. Not that we need an excuse to play cards, but dang, if it makes me feel smarter that's cool, too.

Great post, can't wait for the follow up.

J.L. Campbell said...

I worry about my brain power diminishing because I keep forgetting things, but then that might be tied to a lack of sleep. I'm always interested in learning new things. Not sure how far I'll got to learn to do them properly though, especially if they take a huge chunk of time.

Talli Roland said...

Nothing comes easily, I guess, even maintaining intelligence! I love learning, so I'm hoping that'll sustain mine.

Valentina Hepburn said...

Great post, Richard. I think it's important to remember that we can learn at any age. I feel that I'm learning all the time and I hope it will lead me to live a successful and happy life. Whether it makes us more intelligent I think is debatable but I'd be interested to find out more.
My friend's daughter, Scarlet is a very good reader for her age (5) and loves nothing more than to ring me and tell me that she is on a higher reading level. It gives her confidence and makes her very happy. Learning something new is happiness.