Exercise Your Problem-Solving Skills

A mind is a terrible thing to waste.

You know what the difference is between intelligence and cleverness? Intelligence is raw knowledge, while cleverness is the ability to utilize that knowledge. Without intelligence, cleverness is inherently useless; without cleverness, intelligence is just a bunch of meaningless trivia. It’s the ability to use these two qualities together that makes you smart in the real, valuable way.

Just like any other muscle in the body, the brain needs exercise to perform its regular tasks. It needs stimulation, not in the form of physical stress, but mental stress. Now, I’m not telling you to go out and disprove Einstein’s theory of relativity (though if you think you can, then by all means). Rather, working out your mind is as easy as completing a simple logic puzzle once in a while. Solving puzzles helps you to develop your problem-solving skills and look at the world from multiple perspectives. Plus, when you solve one on your own, you feel pretty gosh-darned smart.

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Here’s a classic puzzle to cut your teeth on: let’s say there are two doors guarded by two dudes. One door leads to freedom, the other leads to bad things. One of these dudes tells only the truth, the other only lies. You can only ask the dudes one question, so what do you ask to find the way out? It’s easy: just ask one of them which door the other dude would say is the right door. No matter who you ask, both would point to the wrong door, so you pick the opposite one. Neat, huh?

Solid problem-solving skills are a vital skill in life, so do your brain a favor and flex them once in a while.