Do you think that your intelligence is a fixed entity, like your blood group, number of bones in the body or your height?
That’s completely untrue. Your IQ or EQ can be increased or decreased, scientifically.
Still, most of us act like it is not in our control. As if we are born dumb or smart, and we have no control over it.
All of us are guilty of not working on enhancing our intelligence. We keep trying, we keep grinding, we keep struggling but we do not do what we really need to do.
Abraham Lincoln, who was himself a lawyer before he became the president of the USA and changed the history of the world by abolishing slavery, had something very interesting to say about that.
“If I had five minutes to chop down a tree, I’d spend the first three sharpening my axe.”
It’s obvious, but do you do that? When did you last spend time on sharpening the axe?
Recently, a law firm partner was telling me how he tests candidates who want to get hired. He makes it a point to see how they type. If they are doing touch-typing, which means that they are able to type without looking at the keyboard, he prefers to hire those people. They made an effort to learn an important skill, which although not taught in law school, is very important for a corporate lawyer who is going to type documents for thousands and thousands of hours for the rest of his life.
If they didn’t take the initiative to learn touch typing, which is equivalent of sharpening the axe, then that speaks volumes about them too.
Unfortunately, or perhaps fortunately for the ill-prepared, intelligence is not as easy to measure. However, for ourselves, let us take a look at how we can scientifically enhance our intelligence in a measurable way.
Ensure high oxygen supply in your environment
Oxygen supply to the brain is a critical factor that can increase, preserve or reduce your intelligence and overall brain function.
I am starting with this because this is a huge problem today in airtight AC offices where fresh oxygen does not come in as windows are closed, and the same air is circulated through the day.
The air in most cities is poisonous and barely breathable. Often there is an unhealthy level of oxygen in it. Air purifiers are now a common feature in offices but they do not ensure healthy oxygen levels in the air. The only solution for that will be to use indoor plants that can produce a lot of oxygen and keep your brain healthy.
You need to do this not only where you work, but also where you sleep. Surround yourself with oxygen producing plants.
What are the plants that do not need much maintenance, survive in an indoor environment without direct sunlight but produce a lot of oxygen?
Here is a list of my favourites based on what is easy to care for, ease of availability and low cost:
Snake plant/ Mother-in-law’s Tongue
The NASA clean air study recommended 15-18 good sized oxygen producing plants and air cleaning plants for a 1,800 square foot house. However, the more people you have in a house or office, the more plants you will need.
It is better to err on the side of excess here, so put lots of greens into your houses and offices. However, pick the ones that you can easily care for. You need to check how much light you have wherever you are going to place them and whether that’s suitable for them, and how often they need watering.
The effort is worth in terms of well-being, the freshness of mind and body, as well as reduced medical bills. Studies have shown that living in environments that have plenty of oxygen drastically reduce cancer risk, for example.
Also, low oxygen environments and pollutants make your bum and brain dead. Getting more oxygen is a must to be effective.
IQ enhancing games
Do you know why children are encouraged to play board games? That’s because these games have been scientifically shown to enhance IQ. It’s the same reason royalty and rich people in China, Europe and other countries were traditionally encouraged to play chess.
Playing chess makes you access your left and right brain at the same time, enhancing your intelligence, concentration, deductive ability and decision-making skills.
Einstein’s brilliance is often attributed by brain scientists to his interest in chess and violin. Einstein could access all his brain at once. How did he train himself to do that? It’s a question worth pondering.
There are also apps like luminosity that have games designed to enhance your IQ. While scientists have researched and proved that playing chess over several weeks enhances IQ, there are also other games like Scrabble, Sudoku and Mahjong that are likely to have similar effects.
It is a good idea to keep playing those games that tax your brain, even when you are an adult.
People who work out regularly become smarter. Aerobic exercises have been proven to enhance IQ by many points. A person who does not make time for the workout is simply not the smartest version of himself or herself. You can increase your IQ over the next one month simply by working out regularly.
However, muscular strength is not what we are seeking here, we are seeking cardiovascular fitness. Those who have a high level of cardiovascular fitness, tend to get more cognitive scores in controlled tests.
Verbal intelligence, which is very sought after as far as lawyers are concerned, is closely correlated with cardiovascular fitness. You will definitely look better if you lift, but if you do sprints, burpees, Crossfit and yoga, that’s likely to make you smarter.
Most importantly, regular working out will keep stress, depression etc away and prevent such things from destroying your intelligence. Working out protects your brain from negative influences.
Diet and supplements
While some food and supplements that can make you smarter, there are other things that make you dumber. As a general rule, all intoxicants like nicotine and alcohol reduce your intelligence.
A keto diet that relies on ketone body rather than glucose has been shown to be metabolically superior as a source of energy for the brain.
Omega 3 fatty acids are known to be good for your brain. So are antioxidants. Many supplements can increase blood flow to the brain and enhance brain health. However, I am no expert on these and suggest that you do your own research and consult dieticians.
Many vitamins are critical too. For instance, vitamin B12 deficiency can play havoc with your mental health and reduce cognitive abilities and make it impossible to focus yourself. Vitamin D3 deficiency can also be a massive dampener and it’s very common in most people today due to lack of exposure to direct sunlight as we live indoors. Taking a vitamin supplement regularly will protect you from such situations.
I can tell a massive difference in my alertness between the days on which I have vitamin supplement and the days on which I don’t.
There are also more supplements like creatine that can enhance your IQ. Again, consult appropriate experts first.
Just remember that experts are not coming to your home and making you develop habits. The only way any diet or supplements are going to help you is if you develop a habit of taking them. Too many people read too many articles and do nothing in reality. Please don’t fall into that trap.
I actually track my intake of protein, vitamins, supplements etc through a daily record keeping app called Dailyo. I strongly recommend it. I track over 40 activities from meeting friends, to writing, eating junk food, smoking, taking specific health supplements, working out, writing etc through this app.
It’s very simple, but very effective. It helps me to see what are the good and bad things I am doing to myself over the months and years. It takes away feelings and assumptions and create actual data for me to realise what I am doing.
For example, I think that I smoke very less. However, thanks to daily record keeping on Dailyo app, it turns out that I smoked 14 days out of 31 in the month of March, and took vitamins only on 18 days.
Now I can take corrective action in April because I know where I am going wrong!
So find out what’s good for you and build solid habits that give your good results for a lifetime and cut off bad habits that compromise your intelligence.
Not drinking enough water can cause you to lose IQ as well. For the brain to function well, your body needs to be well hydrated. The critical habits with respect to drinking water as I have found out through self-experiments, are drinking water before you go to sleep and drinking again after you wake up. Your brain works over time when you sleep, forming memories, creating important patterns, processing information. Failing to assist it by keeping it hydrated at that time is a recipe for disaster. So is not giving it water when you wake up.
I make it a point to keep multiple bottles filled with water near my bed. It is a simple but crucial habit for brain health.
Your brain shrinks when you are dehydrated! And 70% of your brain is water. Avoid dehydration and you will avoid many common enemies of brain like headaches, lack of energy and anxiety!
Yes, lack of water in the brain can cause migraine and anxiety as well, which is contrary to our stated objective of enhancing our intelligence.
Engage in art and music
Art and music stimulates different parts of your brain and promotes brain health. I have a couple of instruments in my bedroom. I haven’t formally learnt how to play an instrument ever, nor have I made the time. However, I keep playing something for a while every day. Not only it helps to de-stress, as I try to bring out beautiful music from the xylophone or the hapi drum, but it also engages a different part of the brain that I would probably never use otherwise.
Successful lawyers often have an interest in music or art. Einstein was an amazing violinist. Many law firm partners I know play the piano or a guitar. Therapists and doctors are often prescribing music classes to their clients these days.
Why wait for a doctor to tell you? Start playing an instrument. Here is the secret: don’t wait to learn. Buy something easy to play and put them in your bedroom or living room, where you are bound to see them every day, and spend a few minutes at least with them.
If you don’t want to learn to play anything, at least get some Tibetan singing bowls. They are meditative and amazing. I also picked a hapi drum because the meditative quality of it’s sound.
A piano is also a great choice because it makes such great sound and it’s fun playing it. Comparatively, it will take you a lot more effort before you can play even a single note on a violin. Guitar is easier, but not as easy on a beginner as a piano or hapi drum.
I chose xylophone also because it’s cheap and amazing to play even when you don’t know much about music. Same goes for a hapi drum. I intend to buy a piano but it’s an expensive purchase and therefore takes time.
Don’t fall into the trap of delaying.
Pick an easy and cheap instrument as your first one. Getting started is more important than getting a specific instrument.
You could also start painting if that’s more up your alley. Don’t try too many things at once though! That’s a recipe for disaster.
Learn a language
Learning a language is one of the biggest workouts you can give to your mind. Learning a language will make your brain use every kind of memory. You need to create a vast vocabulary to form an expression. Then you need to learn rules of grammar, and many exceptions to those rules. You also need to teach your brain to process these rules subconsciously, without having to use the conscious parts of your brain.
Learning a new language literally reorganizes your brain. This is similar to what happens to your brain when you have to learn music theory, programming or calculus. It’s a body of knowledge and understanding, much beyond just information. It’s a body of knowledge combined with skills and wisdom.
Learning a language fires up your hippocampus, the part of the brain that deals with language learning. It also deals with many other verbal tasks, like “framing and understanding arguments” – so lawyers have a big reason to learn new languages.
Practicing a new language will immediately improve your attention, memory and logical abilities.
Although we are covering this at the end, this is probably the most powerful tool at your disposal if you want to improve the functioning of your brain.
Meditation is a force multiplier when it comes to intelligence. You may have heard that it can change your life, but that’s mostly because it changes your brain.
Usually, most of us use one half of the brain more than the other. This is subpar. High functioning personalities are able to synchronize their whole brain. How does one learn to do that? It appears that meditation has the answer.
Meditation helps to sync both brain hemispheres. This basically means much faster neural communication and provides greater “processing power”.
When the logical left brain and creative right brain begin working in harmony, and the conflicts between them are made silent through meditation, many benefits accrue. For example, problem-solving gets faster, fear, uneasiness and anxiety disappears, creativity jumps, deep thinking becomes the default rather than a exception.
According to researchers at the University of Wisconsin, meditation can increase the neural “grey matter thickness” of certain brain regions. You know how physical exercise makes your muscles stronger, denser, and helps to develop endurance too? Meditation does the exact same thing for your brain.
My favourite meditations are sleep meditations, which talk to my subconscious mind directly. Vipassana is also amazing and a life changing experience. My favourite meditation app is Insight Timer which has thousands of free guided meditations to choose from.
Best time to meditate is in the morning and before you go to sleep.
What are you going to do?
Basically increasing your intelligence comes down to some basic habits you need to develop. A lot of them are common sensical but not really common place. Most people know what they should do, but still fail to do so.
The challenge therefore is not knowing what you need to do, but in how to do. The answer is to make it easy. Simple. As easy as possible. No brainer.
You don’t want to sit and think what to do every day. The challenge is to build an environment where it’s automatic and natural.
Take actions that will help you to build that environment and habits for the long run.
This is why those who take our online courses from LawSikho.com experience massive growth in a short span – because your environment, curated by us, is conducive to quick growth in learning and development. You do not have to decide what to do to grow to next level, we already provide a path and exact tasks you need to undertake.
In other words, LawSikho courses are designed to enhance your legal IQ effortlessly.
Here are the courses in which you can enroll right now:
Executive Certificate Courses
- Certificate Course in Advanced Corporate Taxation