Do you think you're smart? Whether the answer to that question is yes or no, why do you think that? Were you labeled smart as a young person because you scored high on an IQ test? Or did you decide you were less than intelligent because of your failure to get straight A's?
Regardless of how you feel, the latest research on potential and intelligence is clear: you are more responsible for your intelligence than you may think. The good news is that the more motivated you are, the smarter you can be. The bad news is that it's all up to you, and if you don't take the reigns then your limits are already set.
You hold the keys to your destiny. Here are 4 scientific reasons why your intelligence is far more in your control than you may have thought:
1. Your IQ is not as fixed as you may think.
In fact, the very inventor of the original IQ test argued that one's intelligence quotient can certainly be increased. Just like genes only influence a part of who we are, the intelligence level we are born with does not dictate our intelligence for life. Our environmental circumstances--like family circumstances, level of school, work environment, and health access--also matter.
2. Having a growth mindset is one of the highest indicators that someone will be successful.
A growth mindset involves believing you can increase your intelligence by applying effort, and it runs contrary to a fixed mindset, which maintains that intelligence, talent, and potential are fixed. There is true power in believing that you can always keep learning, improving, and mastering new talents. It's been seen in both young students and older employees--those with a growth mindset fare better than those with a fixed mindset.
This demonstrates the importance of letting go of labels. According to psychologist Carol Dweck, students who were labeled smart learned they could succeed without working hard and avoided having to apply themselves. But applying a growth mindset to areas that you are passionate about, will supercharge your ability to succeed.
3. Fluid intelligence can be heavily targeted through everyday activities.
Fluid intelligence is the ability to learn new information, keep it in your working memory, and use it for future problem solving. It is incredibly important to our everyday work and potential, and not until recently was fluid intelligence considered variable. It is actually trainable, and many workplaces are implementing activities to increase fluid intelligence--and therefore success and performance--in workers. There are five primary ways to target fluid intelligence, and you can do engage in these activities everyday: seek novelty, challenge yourself, think creatively, do things the hard way, and network.
4. Meditation can do wonders on the brain.
The benefits of meditation are endless, so it's no surprise that studies have found that this mindfulness practice can physically change the brain. In our everyday living, we tend to use some parts of the brain more than others, creating an imbalance. Meditation helps to reverse this by strengthening the connections between all areas of the brain, allowing for better creative thinking, problem solving, memory, and more. Meditation also increases brain size and pushes us into optimal brainwave patterns--causing a significant increase in IQ.