I always enjoy sitting back and observing people, thinking about what they choose to do and what they choose not to do. Here’s an amazing reality – there are waaaay to many distractions today. And I think most people are actually too distracted to even notice they are being distracted. Let me put it this way: If you don’t put in effort to get better every day, you are going to get passed by others who are putting in this effort. You will lose the race.
Turn off the TV
Watching TV is one of my peeves. I just think it’s plain dumb. There really is nothing on that is worth your time, unless you think your time is best spent voyeuring on idiots who complain about their reality/celebrity lives or just argue and swear all the time. Does watching this make you a better person?
I will just say it: If you find yourself laying in front of the TV each night, you are getting dumber.
Television watching is a passive activity. It has been proven watching TV does not use enough mental capacity to gain intelligence. Honestly, I am actually scared we are getting less intelligent as a society, and a lot of it has to do with how we are spending the majority of our time each day. If you feel you must watch (cause you are addicted) limit yourself to 30 minutes a day and then get on with doing something productive with your life. Just turn the dang thing off.
I am a voracious reader and it has flat out changed my life. It will help you learn new things, help with word comprehension, help with writing (more on that below) make you sound smarter than you are, impress the ladies (or men) and get you hired. Seriously, when you can answer the “what book are you currently reading” interview question with a unique and intelligent response, you will win them over. Interestingly, the web has made this easier with all the blogs and articles you can read now, even when using your mobile device. This has been one of my favorite innovations that have come along with the spread of the internet – information proliferation. It is just everywhere. And I take advantage of that to get smarter anywhere I can.
I get my best ideas when I am exercising. When I run, I allow my mind to run free as well, spinning ideas and thoughts out at a frantic pace. This helps me evaluate an idea and determine if it is valid enough to take further. I can only do this when I have 45 to an hour of “free” time to just allow the thoughts to flow in and out of consciousness.
Exercise is good for your health, but you probably know that so I am not going down that road. Get out, get some exercise and let your mind run free as well. It is one of the best ways to have a natural brainstorm session each day.
Interacting with others and meeting new people is a great way to raise your stock. How easy is it to stick to the same comfortable group of friends? I actually think most of us are wired that way – staying in comfort zone and only communicate with ones we are familiar with. Well, if you are looking to progress socially as well as professionally, you need to get uncomfortable and get in front of new people. Before you know it, they will be your new friends and you will grow your circle of influence. And you know what, they usually know people who you need to know.
I couldn’t have told you this a month ago but writing is one of the best ways to step up your game and expand your influence. Since I have started SoEntrepreneurial and started blogging, I have connected with many different people around the world in the technology industry. In fact, I just got off the phone with someone in Helsinki, Finland. We had a great conversation about startups and his new venture I wrote about previously – Founder2be.
Writing and reading go hand in hand. The more you read, the better you will become as a writer. This is natural and will take time to come together, but here’s my advice: get started. And keep going. It will open doors you never even knew existed.
It’s time to step up your game.
Image courtesy of Flickr user Roger Smith.Follow @jnickhughes