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8 Ways to Increase Your Intellectual Capacity Time invested into your personal growth is an investment in your success.

By Sherrie Campbell

entrepreneur daily

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

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To become a standout success, invest in yourself. The deeper your investment, the more fit you become for sustaining your entrepreneurial journey. You can only grow your career to the extent that you grow yourself. The good news is, time invested into your own personal growth is completely under your control. You will either do it and standout, or not. To follow are some simple ways to expand both your intellectual and emotional intelligence capacities.

1. Expand your horizons.

Expanding your horizons unlocks the world to you by introducing you to possibility. Novel experiences invite the unfamiliar into your life. The unfamiliar gifts you with diverse experiences which vastly increase your knowledge. The brain responds to new things by creating new neural pathways. Each new pathway become stronger with repetition giving us new skills and strengths. For this reason, you should always strive to be just a bit outside your comfort zone. This can be accomplished very easily. You can choose to visit new places, take a different route to the office, or even brush your teeth with your non-dominant hand. The brain isformed around habits. The more rigid and habituated you are the harder it is to cope with change. Whatever is routine in your life actually keeps you from growing in the ways you could if you did just a few things a bit differently on a daily basis. Mix things up to train yourself to thrive in new ways, with new people, and in new environments.

Related: I Started Saying 'No' to These 6 Things. My Life and My Business Got a Lot Better.

2. Be imaginative.

All success begins as imagined outcomes, opportunities and possibilities. The more imaginative you allow yourself to be, the more open you are to creating innovative and effective problem-solving techniques, brainstorming skills and networking skills. The more visionary, the more well-known you become for ability to draw inspiration from all areas of life whenever the need presents itself. This type of creativity gives you a confidence that helps you tremendously whether you're in your daily life or when this skill becomes useful in your business life. People will know that you are the person to go to when new and inventive ideas are necessary to get things moving in a new and better direction. Creativity is the key trait you need to be an intelligent innovator. There is no such thing as "not creative." You all have it, and not only does a little creativity increase the passion you have for what you do, but it can also make the most tedious work a bit more entertaining.

3. Pleasure reading.

Success is not only important to strive for, but is the main priority for Entrepreneurs, so much so, that many of you forget to have fun, to relax and decompress. Personal growth doesn't always mean you have your nose in some sort of a textbook. Reading in general, regardless of the content, is fabulous for your brain. Whether it's a murder mystery, fiction, your favorite poetry or a sports magazine, reading stimulates your imaginative process. Without your conscious effort your brain is translating the words into images that play like a movie in your mind. Reading gives you a break, puts you into another world and creates an emotional connection between yourself and the words on the paper. You all need some time to escape. If you can't vacation, reading a book is a great substitute. Further, reading increases your vocabulary, provides your brain with examples of correct grammar and helps you become not only a better reader and writer, but more importantly a more other-centered communicator.

Related: 10 Simple Daily Practices That Will Make You Happier

4. Train your brain.

There are numerous easy-to-get-ahold-of techniques to keep your mind sharp. There are many word puzzle apps and other apps like Luminosity that are free on your smartphone that provide games and problem-solving techniques designed to increase the neuroplasticity of your brain. Neuroplasticity is the brain's ability to form new neural connections enabling you to function at a higher level. The more neuroplasticity your brain has the faster it makes new connections and the quicker and more effectively you process information. Achieving great success comes down to decision-making, and yet so few train their brain for this on a daily basis.

5. Consistently learn.

There is always something to still learn. Never be above education. Be passionate for acquiring and developing new skills and information. To become a successful Entrepreneur, you must always be searching for what is new and what is not yet fully understood on the cutting edges of your industry. When you continue your education, it is humbling to grasp how much there still is to know. The more you learn the more prepared you become for excellent strategizing. The more knowledge you acquire the more information you have available to you when making critical decisions. Learning is what grows your confidence. It is what increases your skill base and adds to your talent. It is also what allows you to work smarter not just harder. Always assume there is more you need to learn and you will experience a direct and obvious increase in your ability to achieve.

Related: You Can Motivate Yourself to Start Again After a Business Failure

6. Physical activity.

Physical activity not only gets you in better shape, but it gives you a higher functioning brain. The brain responds best when it is full of oxygen. When you give your brain the oxygen-boost it needs from exercise, it improves your memory, boosts your ability to focus, and prevents cognitive decline. Without exercise your brain cannot take in new information or generate the development of new cells. The quickest and most efficient way to become smarter, less stressed, less depressed and more energetic is to get your body moving.

Related: 12 Scientifically Proven Ways to Reinvent Yourself

7. Get enough sleep.

Research has proven that when you put yourself into sleep deprivation, not only does it put your performance in jeopardy but it impacts everyone else around you that depends upon you to perform at your peak. Copious studies have proven that sleep deprivation is the antithesis of intellectual management. Working around the clock makes you as dangerous to yourself and others as someone who is intoxicated. Getting enough sleep determines your ability to sustain attention and maintain intellectual excellence. It is such a simple thing to do, and yet so few discipline themselves to take care of what is directly under their control that can make a huge difference in their life and success. Don't let this be you.

Related: 5 Powerful Ways to Become Your Best Self

8. How you dress.

What you wear has been proven to have a direct impact on enhancing your intelligence. The "Stroop Test" showed that people who wore lab jackets performed better on mental performance tests than those in the control group who did not wear the lab coat. There is power in a uniform. Embrace how important it is to dress for the professional role you play. For one, how you dress makes a direct statement to you about who you are and what your success-potential is. When you dress for you role, you perform for your role. Secondly, how you dress has an immediate impact on how others perceive you and your intellectual capacity. The more you dress for the occasion, the more valuable you will feel and the more seriously you will be taken. The brain responds not to just to knowledge but also to mood. When you dress better you feel better. The more you elevate your mood, the more open, flexible and intelligent you feel and are experienced by others when negotiating, interacting with colleagues or when presenting yourself to a group of people. For this reason, dress to impress

Sherrie Campbell

Psychologist, Author, Speaker

Sherrie Campbell is a psychologist in Yorba Linda, Calif., with two decades of clinical training and experience in providing counseling and psychotherapy services. She is the author of Loving Yourself: The Mastery of Being Your Own Person. Her new book, Success Equations: A Path to an Emotionally Wealthy Life, is available for pre-order.

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