Everybody wants to be smart (which is why there’s all sorts of exercises, diets, products and services that claim to boost your brainpower) but no-one’s really sure what works… because so far, most of it doesn’t.

On the other hand we know for sure what makes us stupid and the good news is a lot of it is under our control. Sleep deprivation makes us dumb, as does stress, social isolation, dehydration, poor diet and lack of exercise… and these are things we can do something about.

In fact, most of the really big brain-dimmers are self-inflicted. Alcohol and recreational drugs make us stupid, after all that’s what they’re for. And the same might be said for gambling, TV, marketing, popular culture and gossip; things that are so determined to dull our brains that no amount of fish oil or Mozart will get your smarts back again.

be stupid

 Case in point. Can the advertiser’s message be any clearer?

But the greatest IQ killers are the ones that come from within us: powerful emotions such as fear, greed, anger, guilt, jealousy, lust, panic and paranoia make idiots of even the smartest people, which might explain the bizarre behaviour of otherwise brilliant politicians.

Want to be smart?

Forget about the latest brain training miracle; get more rest, water, friends and exercise. Reduce your exposure to pop culture and marketing, drugs and alcohol, avoid anything that stirs up strong negative emotions, switch off the TV and step away from the poker machine.

Get control of the things that make you stupid.

That’s smart.

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Written by Jason Clarke

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Celebrated author, adventurer, gold medal Olympian and popular TV chef; Jason is none of these things. He is, however, one of the most sought-after creative minds in the country. As founder of Minds at Work, he’s helped people ‘think again’ since the end of the last century, working with clients across Australia in virtually every industry and government sector on issues ranging from creativity and trouble shooting to culture change and leadership.