Q: Are you interested in getting smarter?
I think most people are. However, I also think most people misinterpret what “getting smarter” really means… or… really should mean.
Let me explain…
When most people think of increasing their brain power, all they think about is increasing their IQ.
And there are many books out there that promise that, if you just add a few points to your IQ, your life will improve… and improve dramatically.
Nice hook for selling books… but… I disagree with this concept. I don’t think our goal—if we want to be successful in business and in life—is to raise our IQs…
Not at all. And here’s why…
In my life I’ve had the good fortune to meet many smart people. A few of them, legitimate geniuses, with extremely high IQs. But when I sized up their lives and their accomplishments, there was much left to be desired.
So, if increasing your IQ doesn’t make you smarter in terms of “reaching more of your goals”, what will?
I think I have an answer…
For me, getting smarter in terms of reaching my goals means improving my brain’s ability in certain key areas. For example: my ability to concentrate, the speed in which I learn, my problem-solving ability, my mental endurance, the clarity of my writing, the depths of my creativity… and… my ability to remember, recall and put what I learn into practice.
Does this resonate with you? Would improving your brain’s ability in these key areas also help you reach more of your goals?
- Mozart’s Brain and the Fighter Pilot: Unleashing Your Brain’s Potential,
written by Richard Md Restak.
In any case, in a great book I read years ago, Mozart’s Brain and the Fighter Pilot: Unleashing Your Brain’s Potential, the author (a renowned neuropsychiatrist) referred to the above factors as “goals of cognition”. Your mind’s ability to attend, identify, and act. And all the latest research shows you can definitely improve your cognition with training.
You see, even though our brain is an organ, in many ways it behaves like a muscle. What I mean is, your brain, unlike other physical organs, doesn’t wear out. In fact, the more you use your brain, and the more you challenge it, the more it will improve.
However the flip side is also true… if your brain isn’t consistently stimulated, it atrophies just like a muscle. It seems “use it or lose it” is not only the operating principle behind your physical body’s performance, but your brain’s performance, as well.
More to the point, you don’t have a choice whether your brain will change or not. The only choice you really have is, will your brain get better and better through design, or will you allow your brain to get slower and slower through atrophy.
All right, so let’s say you’re on board — you want to “get smarter”. What do you need to do?
Well, just like physical training, there are really two types of training you need to engage in:
- direct training and
1 Direct Training
Direct Training is where you focus “directly” on improving the cognitive skills you are after.
2 Cross Training
And Cross Training is where you engage in activities that improve the cognitive skills you are after… “indirectly”.
A simple example: If a baseball player wants to increase his bat speed, he would engage in batting practice (direct training)… and… possibly, weight training (indirect training).
A more elaborate example with something that you are most likely somewhat familiar with:
Let’s say you want to increase the effectiveness of the copywriting you do.
First you need to identify the proper mechanics. You can do this by reading “how to” books, taking courses, going to seminars… and so on These would all be examples of direct training.
Next, you’d want to identify cross-training opportunities. Cross-training opportunities would consist of things like: Reading popular novels. And not just reading them for entertainment… but for form, word choice, etc. Watching hit movies. Also not just for entertainment… but to identify the hidden motivators, such as, pace of action, content, etc.
There are many more things you could do. However, that’s not purpose here. I just want to get you thinking in this direction.
So to sum up: When you are looking to improve your cognitive skills and give a ‘bump” to your chances of success in reaching your goals… you need to:
A. Identify both direct and cross-training activities… and…
B. Engage in them, frequently… preferably… daily, at the same time every day.
I’ll talk more about this subject and show you a video, soon, that reveals why training your brain this way is becoming so increasingly important the digital age..
To your higher profits,
P.S. Most people understand direct training, but few consciously use cross-training in their lives. What about you? Have you “consciously” used cross-training to improve your cognitive abilities? If so, let me know by posting your comments below.