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Seven behaviours that instantly increase your intelligence

Alex Mathers
4 min readNov 27, 2023


Did you ever say something regretfully dumb when angry?

That’s our malleable intelligence at play.

I’ve always argued that intelligence is changeable. There are different kinds of intelligence, too — from social, to verbal, to spatial and linguistic.

Here, we’re focusing on our general ability to take in and interpret information effectively.

Here are some simple ways to increase your general intelligence:

Incorporate simulated urgency.

Humans are highly well-attuned to the need to survive in an often threatening environment.

When resources are limited, and we have a goal in mind, our senses are heightened to aid us in working towards a solution.

For example, if we’re being chased by a bear, our minds sharpen.

Our focus is on nothing but survival.

We can emulate this by restricting time.

We can add deadlines, social accountability, timed work sprints, challenges, and crystal-clear objectives to our days and weeks.

Take two minutes to relax.

Our intelligence and a relaxed body are inextricably linked.

Many of us operate under the belief that if we’re grinding teeth and all scrunched up, we’ll do better.

We never do.

Our minds become still when we’re calm. When our minds are still, we can tap into our innate wisdom.

You know this to be true because you’ve received the best ideas when calm and feeling good.

Right? So spend a moment focusing on your breath and allowing your shoulders to drop. This is the gateway to true intelligence.

Create fewer options.

It’s easy to think we’re doing ourselves a favour by having more options and ideas to pursue some objective.

Perhaps you have an essay to write, and you’re considering what to write about. There’s a reason we stall with option overwhelm.