How to Build Real Intelligence

how to become intelligent

The world can only be grasped by action, not by contemplation. The hand is more important than the eye. —Jacob Bronowski

It’s easy to get overwhelmed by the magnitude of effort that creating something demands, give up, and talk about how real “artist’s block” is.

It’s easy to do something once and think of ourselves as experts.

It’s easy to form opinions purely based on superficial understanding. It’s easier to parrot others’ opinions and appear intelligent.

But this intelligence comes at a huge cost.

We fall into the habit of talking a lot without anything to say.

We replace action with thinking and become armchair philosophers, like armchair social media warriors.

“A man who reads too much and uses his own brain too little falls into lazy habits of thinking.” — Albert Einstein

We waste too many resources doing useless things, like failed startups.

FOMO and living by an external scorecard follow. We subscribe to others’ definitions of happiness and success.

FOMO and living by an external scorecard follow. We subscribe to others’ definitions of happiness and success. We do things that conflict with our conscience because of our addiction to external validation.

Anxiety gnaws at us every day. When prolonged, such anxiety leaves us confused about our own feelings. The clinical term for this is alexithymia, but we prefer to call it “depression” and strut it like a medal.

Do you want to live such a hollow life?

What’s the alternative?

A life filled with meaningful action, one where you work on something.

Write, paint, code, cook, play a sport or a musical instrument… do anything. If you don’t know where to start, pick a task that feels cathartic and structure how you work on it.

Working helps you understand the subject better. It’s also the most effective medicine for anxiety, better than any drug a psychiatrist can prescribe.

Remember how you overcame your initial fear of something when you stuck to it? Remember how much you began to enjoy it? How confident you felt when you understood how it worked and how the anxiety vanished?

The more you talk or think, the luckier you get, said no one ever. Luck always favors those who work.

Talking is easy, but it becomes boring. Doing is tough, but it’s always fun. And it helps you build real intelligence.

True intelligence isn’t just the ability to understand concepts like tectonic plates and cloud computing. It’s the ability to process information and understand how the world works. It’s the ability to free your mind from cognitive biases.

Don’t shy away from the effort. After all, your hand the tool that shapes everything, including your mind.

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