Whether you’re trying to survive an intensive college schedule or just want to seem smarter in front of your friends, you can do a lot of things to both look and be smarter. Here are ten simple tricks for boosting your real (and perceived) brain power.
10. Read Faster and Better
Obviously, one of the best ways to boost your intelligence is to read more! You can read faster (and thus consume more knowledge) by getting your speech mechanism out of the equation. So give your mouth something to do, like eating, humming, or chewing gum to get through that stuff quickly. Then, take some time to absorb and reflect on what you read to keep it in your memory. Whether it’s War and Peace or just the Wikipedia Random button, you’ll be surprised by how much more you learn when you’re reading not just fast, but well.
9. Speak Up (and Do It With Expression)
The more you can contribute to a conversation, a meeting, or other discourse, the smarter you’ll come off. Even if it means admitting ignorance or asking questions, you’ll still look better than if you stay silent—and you might actually learn something in the process. Expressive speech is key: you can boost your credibility a lot by simply making sure you speak with an engaging tone. Change your pitch and volume as necessary, and try to minimize the number of pauses as you speak. A little confidence goes a long way.
8. Don’t Fall Prey to BS
When someone’s trying to convince you of something, they can often resort to logical fallacies, appeals to your emotion, and other “workarounds”. Learn the most common forms of BS so you can detect them as they come up. By knowing what they are, you’ll also be able to avoid dishing out those same fallacies yourself, which can be a big hit to your credibility if someone catches you.
7. Focus on What You Know
When engaged in a heated discussion with your friends, you’re bound to stumble upon a few holes in your knowledge. It’s okay to admit when you don’t know something, but if you’re feeling particularly self-conscious and want to keep up the appearance of intelligence, the key is emphasizing what you do know. If you’re in an argument, don’t stress disagreement so much as agreement—that way, you aren’t straying away from things you know about. You’re stressing the parts you do know while still taking part in the discussion.
6. Get Some Exercise
A healthy body means a healthy brain. So, in between all the reading and mind-expanding, make sure you’re leading a healthy physical life, too. That means eating right and getting regular exercise. A number of studies. have shown links between regular activity and intellecual capacity, productivity, and creativity. Will spending all day at the gym make you smarter? Not quite, but sitting around all day will not only kill you, but hinder your brain from being at its absolute best.