7 Activities That Sharpen Your Practical Intelligence

Learn by doing with these fun and brain expanding activities.

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By Andrew Medal


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Tell me, I'll forget. Show me, I'll remember. Involve me, I'll understand. -- Chinese proverb

I love learning by doing. Practical intelligence is just that. Life is all about perpetual and compounded growth and evolution. Learning by doing empowers me to create new value, habits and experiences, which all translate to a more productive and rewarding life.

Related: The 4 Attributes You Must Develop to Achieve Everything You Want in Life

Practical intelligence was the topic in my global entrepreneur Facebook group recently (request an invite here). Here's a short list of ways to hack your brain and sharpen your practical intelligence by doing some unique activities.

1. Learn to code.

"Everyone in this country should learn how to program a computer … because it teaches you how to think," Steve Jobs once said.

Coding is not just for computer geeks. Even if it is just to understand how a computer works, to make your job more efficient or to add some common knowledge and a cool hobby on your list, coding can provide value. Coding creates new synapses in your brain by deconstructing and analyzing problems. It also teaches you how to learn.

2. Sketch.

Don't worry if you are terrible at drawing, sketching helps you learn how to free-hand by helping you notice important angles and shapes, patterns and shadowing. As free-handing can be more difficult, sketching can actually make your brain more alert, as you will have to absorb more details.

3. Try an escape room.

I'm obsessed with these things. I've been to seven in the past five weeks. For those who don't know, an escape room is an immersive experience. You are locked in a room and have to solve puzzles and clues to get out. These escape rooms teach you how to use limited resources and rely on a team. There is no preparation for it -- every second counts and every action is a learning process.

Related: 10 Habits That Help You Learn Twice as Fast

4. Build something.

Take a hands-on class on carpentry or any DIY building class that you find interesting. Make sure you work with your hands in the class. Learning to build helps push your mental limitations, and will empower you to look at resources and supplies in new ways. Worst-case scenario is you end up with an extra bookshelf.

5. Play video games.

Video games offer stimuli that can seldom be found in real life. Choose a strategy or role-playing game. Games such as World of Warcraft give you tasks you need to do with certain resources and the higher the level, the more difficult the task, so there is always room to grow. Research shows that video games translate to improved cognitive and motor skills, which help to improve your overall intelligence. So get to gaming.

6. Take a hike.

Being in nature puts things into perspective, and can help you tap into your creativity. I love being in nature, whether it's the beach or the mountains. It puts me in a relaxed state, which empowers my brain to unleash new levels of thought and creativity. There are so many amazing things in nature, and being outside helps expand your brain's capacity by putting life into perspective (gigantic world, small human --perspective).

Related: Determine Your Life's Purpose in 10 Minutes

7. Invent something.

What would make your life easier? Maybe it's a simple device you could use at home or it's organizing your apartment in a way that you will get the most of the space. You can be more inventive by figuring out how to use your resources efficiently or how to create new value with inventions of your own. They can be as simple as your phone in a cup to create amplified music or as complex as a fully automated home. Start using your brain in an inventive way and you'll be able to access more brain power for other tasks.

These are some of my favorite ways to build my brain into a growth machine. What are some of yours?

Andrew Medal

Entrepreneur Leadership Network VIP

Entrepreneur & Angel Investor

Andrew Medal is the founder of The Paper Chase, which is a bi-weekly newsletter. He is an entrepreneur and angel investor.

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