If you look around for ways to become smarter, you will usually find tips to look smarter, will be told you need to educate yourself more, or even that it’s not possible to increase your intelligence at all. After all, it is a very common belief that intelligence is something you are born with, and you can’t do anything to change it. Fortunately, this isn’t true. It’s possible to become smarter, much smarter in fact, and it doesn’t involve spending countless hours studying in front of a dictionary or other text books.
Here on the How to Become Smarter website, I will aim to share with you the best information, tips and exercises that I have found, that will help you to achieve the intelligence you always wanted.
This is a bit of a long post so feel free to skip ahead to the sections that interest you most. For most this will probably be the one called How to Become Smarter where I talk about a couple of very powerful exercises you can start practicing today to increase your IQ.
The Evidence that You Can Become Smarter
First of all, how do I know it’s possible to become smarter? Research. A lot of research has been done to determine whether intelligence can be at all increased. At first it was largely unsuccessful, and that’s what gave rise to the false belief that IQ can’t change. Now we know that they weren’t using the right techniques to increase people’s intelligence in those studies, and the first clues that one can really become smarter came when studying the effects of mindfulness meditation.
In one such study at UCLA, for example, 20 students with no previous meditative experience were made to meditate for 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week, for a total of two months. In that period, their IQ was seen to rise an average of 23 points.
On later studies, a connection was found between IQ and physical endurance. Exercise, and in particular running, was shown to increase intelligence in people of all ages. I have written a detailed article about this called Run for Your Brain, where I also show you how to safely start on a running program, if you are interested.
Meditation and running are but two ways to increase intelligence, and allegedly not the most powerful ones at that. Many, and I really mean MANY different kinds of techniques have been devised over the years to make people smarter, that allow you to remain comfortably seated on your chair, some of them so powerful they are claimed to take your IQ to over 180 points, though long term studies on this are still pending.
Why IQ Matters
I include this section because many people say that IQ doesn’t really mean anything. It also seems that a lot of other quotients have appeared recently, one of the better known being the EQ (emotional intelligence), and some believe that these are more important.
It is certainly true that intelligence has many facets, and IQ alone can’t predict success. One can have a very high IQ and not put it to any good use. BUT, a high degree of intelligence is necessary for lasting success. We need it, for example, to analyze situations and make the best possible decisions. Intelligence can be defined as your ability to reason, problem solve, decide, learn & act successfully in the pursuit of your valued goals.
Intellectual intelligence has different aspects to it. These aspects include, but are not limited to: amount of vocabulary, verbal comprehension, arithmetic ability, digit span (how many digits or numbers can you remember, both forwards and backwards), and spatio-visual rotation (your ability to rotate 3 dimensional objects in your head to see what they would look like from different angles).
Here is one very important thing that psychologists have discovered: all of these facets are very highly positively correlated. What this means is that people who are good at one will usually be good at all of them. Contrary to popular belief, people who are good with numbers are also good with words, though it could come to happen that they have a lot more interest in one than the other, and so excel more in one of them.
To give a very interesting example, one classic paper by Charles Spearman that looked into this found that a student’s mathematical ability was a much better predictor of their musical ability than their pitch discrimination!
When IQ is measured using a professionally administered test, it is a very exact measure of intelligence, which is your ability to form arguments and discuss a variety of subjects with other people, your capacity to clearly assess a situation and make the best decision, and your musical, literary and mathematical abilities, among others. These are all very important to success in many areas of life, including studies, career and business. This is why IQ really matters.
How to Become Smarter
Every person is different and will react differently to the many techniques that exist to raise IQ. I can’t in this site provide you with a full description and schedule of all the techniques known, that will suit every person’s needs. If you are interested in that, I suggest following a program like The Complete Guide to Genius which I review farther below. What I will do here is give you a description of the best and most powerful techniques for beginners, to keep you busy for months to come, along with many other tips and recommendations including diet and exercise.
My first recommendation for people who want to increase their IQ fast, is to begin with the technique known as Pseudo-Telekinesis. I explain the technique in detail in my post How to Improve Concentration. However, keep in mind that although it will increase your intelligence fast, it will only do so by about 5 to 15 IQ points.
There is a technique that provides much bigger improvements on intelligence, which I also highly recommend, but that works slower over the course of several months. You can read all about it in my post called Image Streaming.
You can do both Pseudo-Telekinesis and Image Streaming if you like, they are a powerful combination! However, never do brain training exercises for more than a total of 1 hour per day. As a beginner, it’s best to start with just half an hour, and gradually build up to the 1 hour limit if you wish. Ideally, always take a break every 20 minutes of training. It is recommended you train a minimum of 5 days a week, but no more than 6 days a week in order to give your brain the rest it needs.
If you like to exercise or are thinking of starting on an exercise program, then you will be interested in my article Run for Your Brain. Running is a great way to increase your IQ. Expect to see an increase in the range of 5 to 25 IQ points. This doesn’t count towards your 1 hour daily brain training, so even if you already trained for a whole hour that day, it is safe to go out for a run.
If you want to learn even more techniques than this site provides, The Complete Guide to Genius offers 21 IQ increasing techniques to suit all likes and needs, that will keep things fresh. The two techniques I gave you above are included. They also touch on running, though in less detail than I do on this site. Of the rest of techniques in The Guide, some of them are less powerful than the ones I give you here for free, and some much more powerful but only meant for advanced users who have been practicing Image Streaming for at least several months.
I will be posting more tips and techniques over time, so be sure to come back to the blog regularly and read my new posts!
How Much Smarter Can You Become?
From my research, I would say you can become as smart as you want. There doesn’t seem to be a limit. How long that will take, however, I can’t truly say. Some people don’t even want to become too smart, stand out too much or be too different from their friends and family, and that’s OK too. You can stop increasing your IQ and follow a maintenance program any time you want. For those who want to take it as far as they can, it would seem that techniques like Image Streaming and its more advanced variations can take your IQ to 180 points within one year of consistent, hard work.
Also, the lower your starting IQ, the faster you will make initial gains. People with a starting IQ of 100 can typically see an increase of 50 points within 6 months. Keep in mind your results might vary from this, but you will see results if you are consistent.
Don’t expect to become a genius overnight. It will require many months of consistent work to merit the genius title. This however doesn’t mean the harder you work the better. Balance is key. To give you an idea, if you wanted to get bigger muscles by lifting weights at the gym, the lifting (doing the techniques) would provide the stimulus, but the proper nutrition and rest that follow are what allows the muscles (and intelligence) to grow. The Complete Guide to Genius discusses all of these factors, though I don’t agree with all of their nutritional advice, which I discuss in my review down below.
What to Expect as Your IQ Increases
As you increase your IQ, you can expect to see many changes take place. Looking around the web, I have compiled a list of what people typically experience with the techniques. The first items on the list are achieved in the short term, within a few weeks, while the latter ones are experienced after many months or even years of dedicated practice:
- Improved social skills (more easily finding things to say)
- Increased mathematical ability
- Faster learning
- Improved memory
- Improved concentration
- Feeling of well-being in the brain
- Improved reading speed and comprehension
- Improved intuition, imagination and creativity
- Increased intellectual curiosity
- Increased visualization skills
- Enhanced problem solving and argument rebutting skills
- Always being focused and alert
- Clear and thorough dreams
- Feelings of smoothness and harmony in the mind
- Ability to easily construct highly complex arguments
- Exceptional ability to absorb new ideas and information
- Photographic or near photographic memory
- Mental bliss
How Permanent Are the Results?
As it seems, the longer you work with these techniques, the more permanent the changes become, and the less you need to do to maintain your IQ. But as with everything, your brain is subject to the “use it or lose it” effect.
One person whom I talk about in the testimonials section below, says that 3 short sessions a week are now enough to maintain his IQ of 165. Keep in mind that The Complete Guide to Genius recommends 20 to 60 minute daily sessions, at least 5 days a week, in order to make gains.
Possible Negative Effects
In this section I discuss negative effects people might experience with the exercises, as well as factors that might affect brain development negatively. It’s not a critique of The Complete Guide to Genius – for that, read my review of it just below.
First of all, when you begin doing the techniques, the ones on this website or the ones in the course, you will feel something’s happening in your head. That’s normal. After all, if you lifted weights at the gym and felt nothing at all in your muscles afterwards, you probably didn’t get the best out of the workout. But if you begin to experience headaches, then this can indicate you are working too hard and need to back off the exercises. It can also mean that you are not giving your brain the rest it needs in between sessions – never do more than half an hour of training a day if you are just beginning (1 hour if you are more experienced), no more than 6 days a week, and be sure to get enough sleep! It could also be that you’re not giving your brain all the nutrients it needs, which I will touch upon later in my review.
In the beginning, consistency is VERY important in order to keep making gains and to maintain the gains you have made. Initial gains can be lost rapidly if you stop doing the exercises. On the bright side, if you stick with the program long enough, many of the changes will become permanent and upon complete cessation of the exercises, intelligence will only decrease partially and slowly.
If you are truly serious about making IQ gains, you need to watch your health carefully. Diet and proper rest will all play an important role in how fast and how much your intelligence will actually increase. Health is important because it affects your whole body, not just one part or another. If one part of your body is sick or unhealthy, then your whole body suffers. Improper diet, insufficient rest, recreational drugs, low fitness levels and even multitasking can all very negatively impact brain performance and IQ levels.
The Complete Guide to Genius Review
Short History of the Guide
It seems hard to find much about the original author of The Complete Guide to Genius (which I will also sometimes refer to as the Guide). Rumor has it that he was an average Joe with an IQ of about 100. In order to overcome his low IQ he did a lot of research and experimented with many different techniques. He sorted what worked from what didn’t, while taking himself to an IQ of 195. He then put everything he learned into the Guide. Whether this is all true or not, I cannot say!
Several years later, and there is a whole team of people now behind the Guide, over at geniusintelligence.com. Over the years they have updated and improved it, keeping up with the new research as well as the feedback from its users. Because of this, they claim the exercises they teach are the best and newest ones known to increase IQ in the fastest time possible.
Of the 21 techniques in the Guide, some tackle IQ more directly, such as Image Streaming and its more advanced forms, while others focus on individual aspects of intelligence such as concentration or memory, while indirectly increasing IQ.
Features and Bonuses of the Guide
The program is based around an e-book, called The Complete Guide to Genius, which contains 21 techniques to increase intelligence, concentration, memory, creativity, intuition and more. All the techniques come with their own Q&A section, suggestions, guidelines and schedules to follow according to your needs or level. Some of these techniques increase IQ only by a few points, while others are designed to take you well into the genius category in the long run.
Besides the e-book, you will also find the Square Attention software program. It’s an IQ training game that you play on the computer. Square Attention is their own enhanced version of the dual-n-back set of exercises. The n-back exercise was originally introduced in 1958 by Wayne Kirchner and is commonly used to assess the working memory of the subject. In studies, it has been shown to cause statistically significant increases in fluid intelligence and working memory.
What does this mean? You can think of fluid intelligence as your raw IQ, your capacity to learn and process new information without any regard to how much knowledge you already have. Increasing your fluid intelligence is the same as increasing your IQ. You can try a dual-n-back game for free on this website. The Complete Guide to Genius‘ version of this game, the Square Attention, is supposedly harder than any other you will find, and so should be more powerful in raising your intelligence.
You also receive brain harmonics audios, which allow you to increase intelligence up to an IQ of 160 all while “just” listening to the audios for 30 to 60 minutes, 5 days a week. A word of caution, do not overdo the audios. More is not better here. Follow the instructions given carefully. If you listen to the audios too much without giving your brain the chance to recover and adapt, you can actually decrease your IQ.
Although it sounds really nice that you can achieve such a high IQ just by listening to some audio, the trick here is that in order for the audios to be efficient, you need to be engaging in intense mental activity such as studying or playing chess while you listen to them. You can even listen to them while doing other exercises from the Guide. The point is to keep the mind active. Don’t just lie around doing nothing, or they won’t have any effect.
They also include a brain harmonics audio to help you in manifesting the material success that you have always wanted. If you’re into the Law of Attraction, this might just be the thing for you. You only need to listen to it once a week while focusing on what it is you want to manifest in your life.
Finally, they include 4 other e-books that you get for free when you buy their program, namely:
- Powerful Ways to Sharpen Your Memory
- The Power of Thought
- Master the Oxford Interview (in case you ever want to apply to this world-class University)
- Brain Myths Exposed
At this time, the whole course with the bonuses costs $67. There are a few things I really like. First, you can pay in two payments 30 days apart. Secondly, once you make the purchase, you will have access to any changes they ever make to the Guide and the techniques, for free. Finally, it comes with a 60 day 100% money back guarantee. If you think you are committed enough to put the effort required into the techniques but are feeling skeptic about their efficacy (and it is a healthy thing to be skeptic!) then this will definitely help you.
What I recommend is that you take a free IQ test before you begin the program (there are some good ones that I recommend in my post What Is My IQ?), do the techniques for 60 days and then take another test. You will then know for sure if the techniques worked for you or not, and if you are not satisfied with the results, you can then ask for a full refund of your money while keeping the whole course and its bonuses.
Whether you follow their program or your own, always keep track of your progress with IQ tests!
My Critique of The Complete Guide to Genius
As far as the techniques in the Guide go, they are the best I have come across. There are so many to choose from and the schedules are great to fit a wide variety of needs and people. When it comes to the nutritional advice and the section on supplements, however, it is a different story. I happen to have done extensive nutritional research over the last several years, and I hope the following section on diet and supplements will be of help to you. If you want even more information on brain performance and nutrition, I have written a whole article about it called Food for the Brain.
My final criticism would be that they changed their contact e-mail address, and at the time of writing this, they still give their old address in most pages of the website, which in my experience will have you waiting for an answer until the end of time. If you want to get in touch with them, use the address they provide in the Contact Us page, which should be firstname.lastname@example.org. When I have used this address, I have always had my questions answered.
The Guide’s Advice on Diet and Supplements
I personally don’t think the Guide should have a section on supplements at all. As much as anyone would like to think you can increase your IQ just by taking a pill, this isn’t the case. Supplements will only help if there are deficiencies in the body. Deficiencies are very personal and they are something a guide of this scope can’t expect to diagnose.
When someone is actually suffering from a specific deficiency, a supplement can help to temporarily alleviate symptoms and help the person to recover, but only while such person is taking appropriate steps in order to correct the causes behind the deficiency.
Current estimates have it that only about 5% of all nutrients have been discovered. It could be even less. By taking supplements or multivitamins that contain only nutrients within that 5% (because they can’t add nutrients to a pill which are not yet known to exist), we could potentially be opening ourselves, in the long run, to serious imbalances and health problems.
There is a reason for this. Nutrients in nature don’t work in isolation, but rather synergistically. This means that a given nutrient needs the presence, in the right amounts and proportions, of dozens and sometimes hundreds of other nutrients in order to function properly. Many of these are yet to be discovered. The way we evolved, our bodies developed to work perfectly with the amount and balance of nutrients as we find them in their natural state in the foods in nature.
If you do some research on studies that have looked upon the effects of isolated nutrients, you will often find that the results are either neutral or negative, because nutrients were never meant to be utilized or consumed in isolation. You can read for example this article from NBC News, keeping in mind it talks about vitamins as found in supplements, not naturally in food.
If you really want to take some sort of supplement, because the quality of the soil is very sub-par in the present industrialized societies, don’t go for a pill that has been manufactured in a laboratory. Stay away from multivitamins. Whole plant supplements that have not undergone refinement, such as organic barley grass, can be a good source of vitamins and minerals as the nutrients are all found in their natural state.
On the other hand, a diet based on whole, organic plant foods, will supply all the nutrients necessary without needing to worry about deficiencies or imbalances, while providing the best for your brain development.
When it comes to diet, the Guide does get some things right. Its best points are to make fruits and vegetables the main focus of your diet, plus to avoid processed foods and limit salt intake. The rest of the advice, you could do without. Be sure to check out my article Food for the Brain for a more thorough analysis of what to eat, and why. Following, however, are a few pointers.
The Guide puts too much stress on the Glycemic Index (GI) of foods. The GI tells you how much a gram of carbohydrate from a particular food will raise blood sugar levels. Much more interesting is the Glycemic Load (GL) which takes into account how much carbohydrate is actually available in a serving of that food, and is a more accurate measure of how much a specific food will raise blood sugar levels.
Many foods you may have thought were bad for you because of a high GI, are actually very low in the GL scale and are very good for you, like fruit. You can use this table for future reference, keeping in mind a GL between 0 and 10 is considered low, between 11 and 19 is medium, and 20+ is high.
Even the GL might not be a good index when considering foods which contain no carbohydrates, like meat, yet still produce a pronounced insulin response. As a curious fact, beef raises insulin levels in diabetics as much as straight white sugar!
There is much misunderstanding about carbohydrates, which has done much harm to people, especially diabetics. Meat and fat are the main culprits in raising blood sugar levels. One recent article showed that fruit is good for diabetics. Don’t be scared of fruits, but keep the fat in your diet low.
The effects of excess fat in the diet is one very important piece of information that’s missing from the Guide. Excess fat consumption results in poor transport and delivery of essential nutrients, plus oxygen, by the bloodstream. The blood becomes thicker, red blood cells stick together, and insulin receptors are affected.
The effects of this excess fat are, among others, that insufficient amounts of oxygen are being transported to the different parts of the body, and sugars get stuck in the bloodstream, raising blood sugar levels and not feeding the cells which need them. Poor health, low energy, and low brain function are common consequences. If the fat intake is too high for long enough, it can also cause so called sugar metabolic disorders, such as type 2 diabetes. If you want to be on the safe side, keep your total fat intake to around 10% of your daily calories, or less.
In summary, I would recommend basing one’s diet on fresh, whole, organic, raw fruits and vegetables, while avoiding as much as possible any processed, refined or heavy foods, salt, stimulants (like caffeine) and recreational drugs. Also, stay away as much as possible from high fat foods such as meats, dairy products, eggs, fish, chocolate, pastries, cakes, etc. These last ones are usually fat foods, not carbohydrate foods.
Stan is a great example that the neuroplasticity of the brain doesn’t stop with aging, meaning it is capable of great increases in intelligence at any age.
Stan says he was in his sixties when he decided to give The Complete Guide to Genius a try. He had always been an avid reader and had a close circle of intellectual friends with whom he liked to hang out and discuss. His IQ was pretty high to begin with, at 142 points being quite above average.
He didn’t begin doing the exercises because he wanted to be more intelligent, but because an old war injury forced him to start taking morphine. The drug had devastating effects on his mental faculties, severely affecting his concentration and short term memory. He couldn’t understand what his friends were talking about anymore, and couldn’t understand what he read in his books. He became depressed as he lost the things he enjoyed the most in life, until he found the Guide.
The way he tells it, it was the Pseudo-Telekinesis technique that helped him most in the beginning, restoring his short term memory and reading comprehension. He did do the other exercises in the Guide as well, particularly Image Streaming, achieving his ever highest IQ in the process.
We can see in Stan’s example how the exercises were very powerful even while under the influence of morphine, which he says he has to take for the rest of his life. According to him, even though his IQ was pretty high to begin with, within just 2 months he went from 142 to 165 points, which is an increase of 23 points, and within 6 months he tested at 173 before deciding to stop the exercises for a while, only to resume a mild maintenance program to stay in the 160s. His depression completely vanished.
He also reports very good service from the team behind the Guide, having contacted them numerous times. In his own words:
The support at Genius Intelligence are the experts and they are very willing to help in any way they can. I have had a number of times that I have asked for help and it has always been extremely complete and they have great response times. They have been great to work with.
Someone else had this to say about how the Guide helped them:
This is just an update on my progress. Recently I took the math-section of the SAT and I scored an 800. This is probably due to the fact that my current schedule is tailored to increase my logical/mathematical abilities. Not only did I answer correctly the questions in the section, but went through it like a breeze. Even though a calculator was not prohibited I really had no need for one. It’s amazing how much my speed of crunching numbers in my head has increased.
There are many other testimonials such as these that you can find online. The two above seem to be pretty common results for those who undertake the program seriously.
In summary, The Complete Guide to Genius, although not perfect, is from what I have seen out there, the best program to increase your IQ and all related cognitive abilities, to a truly incredible degree.
Keep in mind that, when it comes to diet and supplements, the Guide is in my opinion a little lacking and misguided. Don’t get me wrong, some of the advice on diet is still quite good, but the rest not all that useful.
All in all, this is in my view the way to go if you are serious about making significant changes to your current mental abilities, intelligence and IQ level, and you truly want to become smarter. Remember you can also try it risk-free for 60 days.