5 Hobbies That Can Make You Smarter 105

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This is a guest post by William.

There is no magic wand that will make you smarter, but there are things you can do to help improve your chances of becoming smarter.

Don’t look at these hobbies as routes to greater intelligence. Look at them as ways to treat your mind in a way that improves your chances of becoming smarter. These hobbies are definitely a better alternative than other hobbies and pastimes if you wish to become smarter.

1. Exercise Regularly.

Do not be dissuaded by the lumbering fools who play professional sport. They may appear of less-than-average in intelligence, but that is because they have dedicated every drop of their focus and learning to their sport of choice.

Exercise alone will not make you smarter, but it will help to keep your brain efficient.

It will help maintain your attention levels, and it encourages a level of psychological well-being that is tough to find elsewhere.

There are many people who believe that poor health and a generally unfit body creates a serious lag in a person’s cognitive ability. It probably isn’t true. But even if being healthy means you get sick less often, then you will have more time to acquire knowledge and improve your critical thinking skills.

2. Read Daily.

Read fiction, as it flexes your imagination in a way that movies and computer games are unable to do. If you read self-help books and books that teach you things, then you are likely to gain new knowledge.

If you are a very self-aware reader, you may also critically analyze the text you are reading.

We all have a lazy tenancy to agree with what we are reading, especially if we are enjoying the book. If you are aware of your own bias, then you may also flex your critical thinking skills as you read books.

3. Give Yourself a Few Moments Every Day.

The most common tip is for you to meditate. It gives you a few moments to yourself where you may cover issues in your mind that you may otherwise neglect.

People who do things such as mediation are more likely to make smart and intelligent decisions because they have given their ideas a little more thought. Obviously, this is not always the case, but it is more likely to occur if you give yourself some time every day.

People who smoke enjoy these types of benefits because they take short ten-minute breaks during their day.

Productive people think things over and reach conclusions that they may not have done otherwise if they had kept themselves busy all day.

People who pray to a creator/god or people who talk things over with a creator will also enjoy the same benefits. Which may explain why so many powerful people in history have also been devout believers in a god/creator.

4. Learning a New Language.

Susan Rich, a CEO of  Assignment Masters , said:Communication and language are so heavily imposed on our brains that it is widely believed that some of it is instinctual. After all, why do babies around the world smile? Why do our brains go into high alert when a stranger raises a hand above his/her chest when talking to us?”

Learning a new language creates new pathways in our minds, which is what happens whenever we learn anything new. But learning a new method of communication creates new pathways in very old and usually untouched areas of our brains.

This is why some people who live in a country where their own language is not the most common will often be surprised that they are actually thinking in another language rather than simply speaking it.

5. Teach.

For some reason, people seem to learn better if they teach others.

For example, if you are learning a new language, then write blog posts on what you have learned. Try to keep in mind that others will read your blog posts and take your word at face value. You have an obligation to get it correct, but more than that, you will absorb and remember the information better if you are teaching it to others.

That is not to say that all teachers are smart; far from it in fact. There are plenty of dumb teachers out there, but the things they teach are so ingrained in their minds that they would have to live two lifetimes in order to forget it.

The things you learn can be forgotten in a matter of days, weeks or years. However, the things you teach will stick with you forever.

Stop Looking for a Shortcut.

There is no shortcut to becoming smarter, and your hobbies are no guarantee that it will happen. Yet, the activities mentioned in this article will help you on your quest to becoming smarter.

They will not carry you, nor will they direct your intellect acquiring efforts, but they will offer a helping hand.

Think of these hobbies as the tires on your car. You can fit your car with these hobbies and have thick and soft tires with deep tread. Or, you can try hobbies such as TV watching, game playing, or recreational drugs and fit your car with bald and slippery tires.

What would it be?

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The Five Elements of Flawless Customer Experience 10

The Five Elements of Flawless Customer Experience

Providing a flawless customer experience is the ultimate goal for any business.

There’s a lot that goes into creating a customer experience that keeps your clients coming back for more. In fact, there’s so much involved that it can almost seem overwhelming.

However, providing a flawless customer experience becomes much easier when you approach the task through these five distinct elements:

Time
Understanding
Ownership of Emotions
The Unexpected
Follow-Through

Time

When it comes to your customers’ satisfaction, time is essential. Think of how a great experience at a new restaurant quickly sours if you’re left waiting for your food to arrive. Think of how your excitement over a great department store sale turns into frustration as you stand in line for what seems like hours.

Time is your most valuable resource and it is up to you to make sure you’re using your customers’ time wisely.

This is why restaurants have comfortable waiting areas with drinks and appetizers, or why airports have lounges with restaurants, shops, and even bars.

If your customers are being forced to wait for a service, make them feel as if their time spent is not wasted. The more positive drivers you offer customers, the less likely they are to grow dissatisfied with their experience.

Think of how you can implement this in your own business. Are there places where you can help fill customers’ time? Are there places where technology can be used to cut down on the time it takes to complete a task? Remember, it’s the customers’ time that should be valued, not your own.

Understanding

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You must understand what your customers want, when they want it, and how.

While this may seem daunting, getting a better understanding of your customers doesn’t take millions of dollars, complex data analytics, and a degree in psychology. Instead, all it takes is a simple look. Watch their process, engage with them, ask them questions, and listen to them.  

How are customers interacting with your product? What’s the first thing they do when they enter your store? What’s the last thing they do before they leave? How long are they spending in each department? Do you notice anything that hampers their experience?

Take a look at your competitors. How are your potential customers interacting with them? What does this business offer that you don’t or vice versa? What is your, as Harvard Business School professor Clayton M. Christensen says, “job to be done?” What are your customers hiring your product or service to accomplish? Understand why your users are turning to your products.

Ownership of Emotions

Many companies have already taken hold of their customers’ emotions, though cynically. Subliminal advertising is a key example. However, the ownership of emotions does not have to be cynical. When used correctly, it can be the “holy grail” for companies.

Owning emotions begins with the aforementioned ability to understand. When you truly understand a customer’s choices and then act to make the experience better, you’re building a relationship of trust. That trust is the foundation of emotional ownership.

One way to build this trust is to reduce the “emotional” noise that surrounds your customers. Let them know that, even on their worst day, your business or product is there for them and that it will be a constant in their lives.

Think of restaurants and the long wait times you have to endure when they’re busy. Think of how angry—or “hangry”—you feel as you stand around, waiting for your table, and listening to your stomach growl. However, think of how some restaurants are able to reduce that emotional noise by serving you finger foods and drinks as you wait.

Also, seek to understand what emotionally motivates your customers.

Why should they be motivated to visit your store or use your product? To feel confident? Free? Unique? Secure? Successful? Research shows that all human beings are motivated by one of those factors.

The Unexpected

Experiences become stronger and more memorable when they’re accompanied by an element of surprise. Surprise can be addictive, which will only keep your customers coming back for more.

Think about mailing your customers or clients small packages with gifts and swag. Everyone loves to get mail and everyone loves free stuff, especially when it’s least expected.

A surprise doesn’t have to be a huge flash mob (though it could be!). Hand out snacks at your store. Is it a cold day? Give your customers hot chocolate or warm punch. Is it a client’s birthday? Send a card! Even a small note of thanks for a customer’s business is a nice little surprise.

The most important thing to remember: simply be sincere and don’t become predictable. Chocolates on hotel pillows were once a great surprise for guests. However, now that their wow-factor has faded, hotels are continuously trying to get back to the “unexpected.”

Follow-Through

You’ve made promises and established goals. The only thing that’s left is to follow through on them. This starts with creating your mission statement, one that you, your employees, and your customers can commit to it. This will define your customer experience.

Your mission statement must promise to impact yourself/your business, the community, or the world. It may commit to impacting one, or all three. However, whatever it promises, you must follow through on. Your customers’ trust, and thus their experience, depends on it.

More about these five elements can be discovered in Unforgettable: Designing Customer Experiences that Stick, to be published in 2018.

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Kyle H. David has made a career in technology and entrepreneurship for nearly 20 years. In 2001, he formed The Kyle David Group, now KDG. Over the past 16 years, KDG has grown at a rapid pace, attracting clients ranging from the United States Senate to major financial institutions, international nonprofits, and Division I universities.