When you ask someone why they go to the gym they usually give a reply like ‘I’m training’ or ‘I want to be fooking jacked for summer brah’, and that is seen as an acceptable reply for such a question. But when you ask someone why they’re reading or studying, and they reply with ‘I’m training’ you look at them like they’re a bit lost in their head. But when you break it down the two activities, gyming it and reading/studying, aren’t really that different (although they usually attract polar opposites).
When you train your muscles you rip them so that they grow back stronger. Also when you activate a muscle group your body automatically pumps more blood to that area, as now that it is activated it requires more oxygen. The brain is almost the exact same. The brain is a muscle, and so when you ‘train’ your mind, you make it stronger (more intelligent). This is something not a lot of people talk about.
The brain is a muscle just like another, it needs to be stretched and it needs to be used in order for it to be in full working order. If you want your brain to be 100% productive and efficient, it must be trained and exercised. From my experience, the best ways to do these things would be reading, interacting with people way more intelligent than you, writing, and challenging your own beliefs. I would see them as the core exercises, like compound movements in the gym. Other activities like travelling and experiencing new things, I would compare with accessory movements in the gym. Each activity targets a different part of the muscle and promotes healthy growth.
When you don’t exercise your muscles shrink, as they no longer require as much oxygen and proteins as they used to. When you don’t stretch your muscles they become inflexible and you run the risk of tearing something if you have to sprint to catch a bus. The EXACT same thing happens to your brain. If you don’t use it, if you stop pushing your intellect, if you stop challenging your own thought process, you become inflexible. You can no longer see things from any other perspective other than your own, you can no longer accept that your assumptions may be wrong, you can no longer live up to the potential that you have inside you.
Usain Bolt wasn’t born the fastest man on Earth. He trained day in day out, pushing himself to go faster and faster. He knew what he was capable of and did everything he could to achieve it. He lived up to his potential. I could list example after example of this type of thing. Most people, however, seem to think that your level of intelligence is set in stone. I disagree. I am a firm believer in that your ‘intelligence’ changes the more effort you put into it. I think that brain will grow and improve when it really needs to. If you constantly read books that are above your level of intelligence, your mind with grow into that level, and then the next and the next.
Michael Jordan is 6 foot 5”. Neither of his parents are above 6 foot…How did that happen? When young Michael was playing basketball with his homies, he would always lose. Game after game he lost. And he lost because the other guys were much taller than him, they could reach the basket and he would fall flat on his face. He knew what he loved, basketball, but he also subconsciously knew he wasn’t going to make it if he wasn’t as tall as the other guys. Over one summer, he shot up and became the giant he is today. His mind knew it had to grow, to live up to his potential, and it did. The mind is so incredibly powerful and we know so little about how it works. But this seems to be a reoccurring event. Not so much people growing to be 6 foot 5”, but their minds growing to fit their environment.
Do you think you’d be more intelligent, if you always hung around and talked to people way more intelligent than you, or if you hung around and talked to people who can barely even walk straight and chew gum at the same time? We all know the answer, but no one seems to do it. When it comes to the gym, the biggest thing that discourages people from working out is that they don’t want to be seen starting from the bottom. Similarly, most people don’t want to be seen as less intelligent than everyone else. But let me remind you, if you are actively trying to improve yourself, in any way, you’re already doing what most people don’t. Eventually, they will look at you in sheer awe, because you went from having an inflexible brain to being so high-performance you can almost make melons explode just by thinking about it.
Re-invent yourself every day. No product is perfect the first time around.