Here are 120 things you can do starting today to help you think faster, improve memory, comprehend information better and unleash your brain’s full potential.
Solve puzzles and brainteasers.
Cultivate ambidexterity. Use your non-dominant hand to brush your teeth, comb your hair or use the mouse. Write with both hands simultaneously. Switch hands for knife and fork.
Embrace ambiguity. Learn to enjoy things like paradoxes and optical illusions.
Learn mind mapping.
Block one or more senses. Eat blindfolded, wear earplugs, shower with your eyes closed.
Develop comparative tasting. Learn to properly taste wine, chocolate, beer, cheese or anything else.
Find intersections between seemingly unrelated topics.
Learn to use different keyboard layouts. Try Colemak or Dvorak for a full mind twist!
Find novel uses for common objects. How many different uses can you find for a nail? 10? 100?
Reverse your assumptions.
Learn creativity techniques.
Go beyond the first, ‘right’ answer.
Transpose reality. Ask “What if?” questions.
Turn pictures or the desktop wallpaper upside down.
Become a critical thinker. Learn to spot common fallacies.
Learn logic. Solve logic puzzles.
Get familiar with the scientific method.
Draw. Doodle. You don’t need to be an artist.
Engage in arts — sculpt, paint, play music — or any other artistic endeavor.
Learn to juggle.
Eat ‘brain foods’.
Be slightly hungry.
Sit up straight.
Drink lots of water.
Vary activities. Get a hobby.
Listen to music.
Look for brain resources in the web.
Change clothes. Go barefoot.
Play chess or other board games. Play via Internet (particularly interesting is to play an ongoing game by e-mail).
Play ‘brain’ games. Sudoku, crossword puzzles or countless others.
Play video games.
Be humorous! Write or create a joke.
Create a List of 100.
Have an Idea Quota.
Capture every idea. Keep an idea bank.
Incubate ideas. Let ideas percolate. Return to them at regular intervals.
Engage in ‘theme observation’. Try to spot the color red as many times as possible in a day. Find cars of a particular make. Invent a theme and focus on it.
Keep a journal.
Learn a foreign language.
Eat at different restaurants – ethnic restaurants specially.
Learn how to program a computer.
Spell long words backwards. !gnignellahC
Change your environment. Change the placement of objects or furniture — or go somewhere else.
Write! Write a story, poetry, start a blog.
Learn sign language.
Learn a musical instrument.
Visit a museum.
Study how the brain works.
Learn to speed-read.
Find out your learning style.
Dump the calendar!
Try to mentally estimate the passage of time.
“Guesstimate”. Are there more leaves in the Amazon rainforest or neuron connections in your brain? (answer).
Make friends with math. Fight ‘innumeracy’.
Build a Memory Palace.
Learn a peg system for memory.
Have sex! (sorry, no links for this one! )
Memorize people’s names.
Meditate. Cultivate mindfulness and an empty mind.
Watch movies from different genres.
Turn off the TV.
Improve your concentration.
Get in touch with nature.
Do mental math.
Have a half-speed day.
Change the speed of certain activities. Go either super-slow or super-fast deliberately.
Do one thing at a time.
Be aware of cognitive biases.
Put yourself in someone else’s shoes. How would different people think or solve your problems? How would a fool tackle it?
Adopt an attitude of contemplation.
Take time for solitude and relaxation.
Commit yourself to lifelong learning.
Travel abroad. Learn about different lifestyles.
Adopt a genius. (Leonardo is excellent company!)
Have a network of supportive friends.
Don’t stick with only like-minded people. Have people around that disagree with you.
Change your perspective. Short/long-term, individual/collective.
Go to the root of the problems.
Change the media you’re working on. Use paper instead of the computer; voice recording instead of writing.
Read the classics.
Develop your reading skill. Reading effectively is a skill. Master it.
Say your problems out loud.
Describe one experience in painstaking detail.
Learn Braille. You can start learning the floor numbers while going up or down the elevator.
Buy a piece of art that disturbs you. Stimulate your senses in thought-provoking ways.
Try different perfumes and scents.
Mix your senses. How much does the color pink weigh? How does lavender scent sound?
Debate! Defend an argument. Try taking the opposite side, too.
Use time boxing.
Allocate time for brain development.
Have your own mental sanctuary.
Develop your visualization skills. Use it at least 5 minutes a day.
Take notes of your dreams. Keep a notebook by your bedside and record your dreams first thing in the morning or as you wake up from them.
Learn to lucid dream.
Keep a lexicon of interesting words. Invent your own words.
Find metaphors. Connect abstract and specific concepts.
Get random input. Write about a random word in a magazine. Read random sites usingStumbleUpon or Wikipedia.
Take different routes each day. Change the streets you follow to work, jog or go back home.
Install a different operating system on your computer.
Improve your vocabulary.
Deliver more than what’s expected.
Dance! (by Shanel Yang)
Study Philoshophy and the writings of great thinkers. (by ZHereford)
Be around people that are smarter than you. (by Angel Cuala)
Use ‘brain fitness’ software. (by Eric Blue)
Read text upside down (the text, not you… well, you can try that, too). (by Thales)
Act in a stageplay. (by Thales)
Practice ‘environmental creativity’. Keep asking yourself questions like “What does this mean?” and “How can I use this?”. (by Chuck Frey)
Use a reverse clock. You can buy one or make your own. (by Brendan Dunphy)
Take an improvisation class. (by Patricia Ryan Madson)
Pun! Play with words. (by David Lurey)
Do It Yourself: Create or repair things without the aid of paid professionals. Repair, sew, cook, build, weave, paint, etc. (by b.honey)
Teach someone something you know. (by Usiku)
Help a child with their homework. (by Usiku)
Provide thoughtful comments on blogs and websites. (by Usiku)
Discuss religion and politics, even with friends. (by Usiku)
Teach yourself origami. (by Pamela)
Learn to knit or crochet. (by Pamela)
Shop at a market different from the usual. (by Pamela)
Think of something you fear. Work to conquer it. (by Pamela)
Play bridge (or other card games). (by millie)
Practice Yoga. (by Rajesh)
Learn martial arts. (by Chirou)
Study the concepts of Relativity (both General and Special). (by Tim)
Practice echolocation (sense objects by hearing echoes from those objects). (by Tim)
Help and immigrant learn your language. (by Ray)
Translate articles (by Remigiusz Durka).
Note: Thanks to everybody who translated this article! Caruso (Spanish), Tommaso (Italian), Eylos (Turkish) and Remigiusz (Polish). (Anyone else I’m missing?)
Eat raw foods. (by Carlos Caridad)
Remember childhood and imagine living it with your current experience. (by Janine)
Imagine how would you survice in a different epoch (say, 5000 years go). (by Mel Smith)
Play role-playing games (RPG) (by FreeMasons)
Treat life’s challenges as social experiments (by Michael Gaudet)
Eat with chopsticks. (by Tore)
Crawl backwards, walk up steps backwards. (by Meribela)
Make mistakes! (by Marc)