A Self-improver for life
I had this same question in the past, and trying to answer it led me to many paths of exploration and still does.
Here are my recommendations:
Join a Toastmasters club:
Learning how to become a better communicator will increase your brainpower.
When you join and practice in a Toastmasters' club, you learn how to structure your thoughts and evaluate how you and other people think.
This helps to become a better critical thinker which will help you in all aspects of your life.
Learning how to express your thoughts in a concise and direct way will save you a lot of troubles too.
Do Vipassana meditation:
Join a 10 day course retreat of Vipassana meditation and learn the technique.
It will help you to understand how your mind works.
There's also additional benefits if you do a daily practice like more concentration and more resiliency for dealing with life's problems in general.
Try underwater swimming for 20 hours (try to hold your breath until you get to 2:30 - 3:00 minutes):
This may sound a little bit odd, but try to do it.
I read this and was really excited about doing the experiment:
Two GUARANTEED Ways To Profoundly Increase Your Intelligence
I did the following:
I went to a gym with a pool near to my house and paid for a 1 month daily access.
I went there every weekday for 23 days (total of 23 hours of practice).
I recorded my progress and tried to increase the time for some seconds each day (I was able to do 2:30 at the end).
After doing it for 20 hours in total, I got some of the benefits explained in the article.
The thing that will be very clear is how breathing affects your mental states, so as you increase the capacity to breath, is also easier to concentrate.
With more concentration, I can pay attention for longer spans, which makes me understand concepts faster. It is amazing, don't believe me, do the experiment and judge on your own.
So these are my 3 recommendations, they are easy to try and for sure you will increase your brainpower.
I'm only recommending things I have tried and have worked beyond my expectations.
Curious about the nature of the self.
Spend less time thinking about crap. Pick your battles. Think about what you want, when you want to. When you spend less time thinking about stuff that's not directly relevant to your life, you have more power, more concentration. The complex web of interconnected conscious and subconscious lines of thought that seems to run along in a pre-determined manner is just the result of bad social conditioning. Nobody told us that thought-economy is at the heart of work-economy, which is the basis of human efficiency in general.
It could take some time, but start by keeping all of your conscious awareness on the act itself, be it washing dishes, eating, driving, etc. If you notice yourself start drifting off into a foggy abyss of replaying thoughts over and over again, just remind yourself and come back. Your mental projections are finite in scope; keep them focused on what's relevant.
studied at Texas A&M University
The basic idea is to build on what you already know. Do not stay in your comfort zone, but hang on the fringes, learning new things that build on existing knowledge. Scaffold your activities.
Say Keng Lee
Understands the intricacies & idiosyncrasies of the brain
The only way you can dramatically increase your brain's processing capability is to use more of it on a daily basis.
For example, dump your digital devices, so that you can:
- do mental arithmetic;
- let your fingers do your walking in dictionary or reference search;
- trust your instincts on road navigation;
- have face-to-face communication with folks;
- write handwritten notes;
- carry a memory jotpad, so as to leave your mind uncluttered;
- go for a walk in the neigbourhood, and just soak in all the multisensory impressions;
Since as much as 90% of what we learned in a life-time always come to us via visual cues, we should constantly enhance our perceptual sensitivity to the enviornment, according to information scientists.
So, more than 500 years ago, Leonardo da Vinci was absolutely right when he said, use all our senses, especially our sense of sight.
Drawing on my own experience, our brain's processing capability is often governed by how far we can stretch our power of imagination.
Constantly strategise and think through your problems, by seeing ahead, seeing beyond, seeing from above, seeing from behind, seeing sideways, seeing beneath, seeing within and seeing through.
Act like a child, but don't be childish. More precisely, adopt a child's mindset of a beginner.
Make unlikely connections, especially from disparate spheres of activity, not matter how weird they may be. Use them as jump of points.
When looking at a problem or challenge or issue at hand, explore beyond the positives and the negatives, like what's interesting here.
When you arrive at a seemingly endpoint, intentionally ask: what else is there? what's missing here? where's the gap? what is NOT yet happening?
Play with crazy questions: what would Sherlock Holmes see and/or do? what about Iron Man? Mike Wazowski (Monsters)? Hiro Hamada (Big Hero 6)? Ralph (Wreck-it-Ralph)? Po (Kung Fu Panda? Skipper or Kowalski (Madagascar)?
Play, explore and experiment, with analogies: Personal/Direct/Symbolic/Fantasy (from Synectics).
Learn how to imagine possibilities by copycatting, piggybacking, hitchhiking and leapfrogging on other people's ideas.
Break patterned routines, so as to be able to see something different or think something different or do something different; more precisely, to see the world afresh and anew.
Play with all kinds of scenarios in the head - best-case, realistic-case, and worst-case.
Don't be afraid to play, explore and experiment with unorthodox methods to imagine more possibilities: image streaming; constructive daydreaming; creative visualisation; deliberate doodling (with nondominant hand); vision boards (cut and paste collagework); mandalas.
All these strategic and tactical iniiatives are designed to make your brain nimble and agile, thus making it more responsive and adaptable to learning and acquiring new things.
Kon Ket Sing
studied at Raffles Institution
1) Enhance the brain's ability to focus and use areas that are typically not used by meditating. Most forms of meditation that leads to silence and tranquility of the mind thus allowing the brain waves to go to modes like Alpha, Theta, Delta and even Gamma.
2) Keep the brain at optimum by having enough sleep
3) Nourish the brain with the right nutrients - Omega 3 fatty acids & Vitamin B12 are very important
4) Take ketogenic diet every now and then. Much recent evidence shows that ketosis helps protect the brain and that ketones are preferred by the brain over glucose for respiration
5) Maintain good health as brain is part of your physical body. Therefore eat well and drink enough water
6) Ensure good blood circulation and health by exercising regularly
a) Avoid stupefying the brain by going into passive mode too often eg watching too many movies or playing too many repetitive games (most games are, even if they require some form of thinking)
b) avoid alcohol and other intoxicants and drugs
c) avoid any drug/medicine that adversely affects the brain
Muhammed Fatih Özdemir
Forget about learning fast, one should learn slow if the aim is permanent learning. So, how come some people seem to learn fast? My answer is that they have habits to achieve humble progression by making baby steps initially. Indeed, those baby steps grow their learning in a fractal way. Fast learners appreciate their baby steps and insisting on those steps allow them to make bigger steps. The one who is unaware of that fact, desperately aims to find a "ta dah" method.