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5 Things Really Smart People Do


I have always considered myself a lifelong learner, but I definitely never thought about how I did it or how I would do it in the future. I believe it is easy to take for granted the ability to listen to something new, understand it, sort the good from the bad, and apply it to life. I have always thought that this ability would be a trait that I would possess. Have you ever felt this way before? I am coming to “learn”, that this doesn’t appear to be the case. The older we become the more of our own opinions, facts, and understandings can cloud our ability to learn something new.

According to the latest research by Kevin Daum for Inc. magazine, we really have to work harder to stay open minded. Daum says, “The need for learning never ends, so your desire to learn should always outweigh your desire to be right.”. New ideas pop up all the time and our ability to engage with others and grow ourselves is directly dependent on our ability to assimilate new information into who we are. Below are 5 methods that will allow you to stay open and learning.

1. Quiet the Inner Voice. – You know the one I am talking about. It’s the voice that brings up your own opinion about the information being provided. It is too easy to pay more attention to the inner voice than the actual speaker. That voice often makes you shut down before you have heard the entire premise. Focus less on what your brain has to say and more on the speaker.

2. Argue With Yourself. – If you can’t quiet the inner voice, then at least use it to your advantage. Every time you hear yourself contradicting the speaker, stop and take the other point of view. Suggest to your brain all the reasons why the speaker may be correct and you may be wrong. In the best case you may open yourself to the information being provided.

3. Act Like Your Are Curious. – Some people are naturally curious, but even if you are not you can benefit from behaving like a curious person. Next time you are listening to information, make up and write down three to five relevant questions. If you are in a lecture, Google them after for answers. If you are in aCONVERSATION you can ask the other person. Either way you’ll likely learn more.

4. Find the Kernel of Truth. – No matter how outlandish a concept is, there is some aspect that is based upon fact. Even if you don’tBUY into the idea, you should at least identify the little bit of truth from whence it came.  You’ll at least enhance your skills of deduction.

5. Focus on the Message Not the Messenger. – Often people shut out learning due to the person delivering the material. Whether it’s a boring lecturer, someone physically unappealing, or a member of the opposite political party, the communicator can impact your learning. Even friends can disrupt the learning process since there may be too much history and familiarity to see them as an authority on a topic. Separate the material from the provider. Pretend you don’t know the person or their beliefs so you can hear the information objectively. As for the boring person, focus on tip two, three, or four as if it were a game, thereby creating your own entertainment.

Go out and start learning today. Your ability to be Really Smart depends on it.  Read the whole article, “5 Things Really Smart People Do