We’ve probably all met at least one person in our lives who has a really good memory, is really good at doing math in their head, or something along those lines. Most of the time we just assume this person is some kind of genius, or perhaps a savant, and we think it’s beyond us. However, for those of you who wish that you could have some of those abilities, the good news is that you actually don’t need to be a prodigy to learn them. There are many mental superpowers that anyone can learn, as long as they are willing to put in the time to practice.
10. Want A Cool Party Trick? Learning To Speed Solve A Rubik’s Cube Is Entry Level
Everyone knows the Rubik’s cube, and most people have at least idly picked one up, solved one side, and then gave up when they realized they would have to destroy their work to fix another side. A lot of people have never bothered to go much further past this, but many wish they could complete one, at least to say that they finally did.
For those of you who feel that solving a Rubik’s cube is out of reach, and that trying to solve one as a speed-cuber is even more out of reach, the nice thing is it actually isn’t really that hard. If you can solve one side, you can get the rest done, as long as you follow the right movement patterns. You see, there is a simple pattern of movement that will change other parts of the cube, but leave the parts you didn’t want changed as they are as you finish with the movement pattern. As for how hard it is to be a speed-cuber, a nine-year-old in China named Yihang Wang has done it in under five seconds with decent consistency, so you can learn how to do it in a few minutes if you really practice and set your mind to it.
9. Training Yourself To Have An Incredible Memory Is Easier Than It Sounds
Some people see someone with a really good memory, and they’re shocked by that person’s genetic luck, and how they just “have” a good memory. This all goes back to so many people thinking that talent is something you just have, and not something that is mostly a learned ability. However, the truth is that true photographic, or eidetic, memories are considered a myth by most researchers, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still have a great memory. The trick is, you actually need to train and discipline your mind properly to do it.
Now, while there are a ton of mnemonic techniques that can help you which we don’t have room for here, the main concept is just understanding how your memory works. Memory actually has addresses in your brain that trigger it, based on the context when you memorized whatever it was. This can make it hard to remember things, as we have to recall what else was going on at the time, but if we can train ourselves to use triggers that make more sense, we can control our memory much better.
Furthermore, if you use something called chunking, you can actually increase your working memory as well. Short term memory can hold up to nine chunks of information at a time, but if you take items and put them into categories, you can expand this capacity.
8. Learning To Count Cards Is Both Easy And Potentially Profitable
In movies like The Hangover, we see a character using crazy math calculations in order to count cards and get our main cast all the money they need to hopefully escape a sticky situation. The technique is made to look almost impossibly inaccessible to anyone who isn’t some kind of crazy genius at mathematics, and the drama is tuned up to the highest degree. However, the truth is it isn’t actually that hard to learn to count cards.
It does require discipline and practice, just like anything that you want to learn properly, and you will probably want to practice memory techniques as well to make sure you don’t make errors under pressure. However, it doesn’t require complex math. In fact, all it really requires is arithmetic, which is something most of us should have mastered long ago. As for whether it is legal, what happened in The Hangover was illegal as it was a conspiracy involving several people. However, if you are working alone without electronic help, you can count cards all day and all they can do is kick you out and tell you not to come back.
7. Learning Human And Animal Body Language Is Like Teaching Yourself An Extra Sense
Most of us know a decent amount of human body language just from being, well, human. But there are many things we don’t know about the science involved, and if we teach ourselves to learn these tricks, it can feel like opening up an entirely new sense. This can be especially helpful with pets, who speak an entirely different language than we do.
Dog body language is mostly well known, but a lot of people don’t quite know cats so well, as studies on them haven’t been as common until more recently. What we do know makes it relatively easy to understand them though, and can open up new understanding between you and your cat. The most important thing is to watch their tail movements, which indicate most of their mood. A raised tail, for example, indicates interest and openness, but a thrashing tail means your cat is really, really angry and frustrated.
As for people, one trick many don’t know about is that by watching which way their eyes are moving, you can often tell if they are telling the truth or not. The trick is that when remembering things, people typically look left, and when thinking of something new, they probably look right and upward. If they are looking right and downward however, it could indicate they doubt their own words.
6. Learn Classical Logic And Apply it To Your Everyday Thinking
A lot of us tend to think of ourselves as pretty logical, for the most part, and we like to believe that we are already applying logic most of the time to our everyday lives. However, while it is true most people are at least trying to be logical most of the time, that doesn’t mean they always are, or that they couldn’t be more logically sound if they took the time to learn classical logic. Now, the reason a lot of people don’t think too highly of it is that at its most basic level it can seem almost absurdly reductive, but that’s kind of the point.
The idea behind classical logic is to break things down into simple statements, like, “If I eat until I feel full, I ate enough; if I eat after I feel full, I ate too much.” It also breaks everything down into simple true, false, or both statements. This is actually really easy enough to learn, even if the more complicated version involves algebra. If you do teach yourself to start applying classical logic to everyday life, you can impress people with your complex problem solving skills. Also, by forcing yourself to look at things logically, it will be much harder for the news to emotionally manipulate you as well.
5. Learning To Read Lips Is Useful, But It Can Be Misinterpreted
You’ve probably never thought too much about learning to read lips. Most people don’t. This is usually because we tend to think of it as a skill that’s something you only learn if you’re hard of hearing. It helps you figure out what people are saying when your ears are not working properly, and allows the person to better understand a conversation without needing the other person to know sign language. However, it can be useful for more than just people who are deaf, as sometimes when looking right at someone we might miss a word or two due to sound, and not want them to repeat themselves, or we might be trying to pick up part of a conversation from across the room.
Now, while anyone can read lips, it is important to know that reading lips should be largely based on context and not just what you thought you read. You should also be careful not to take action simply from what you thought you read from their lips. The reason for this is that a lot of words or phrases will make the same exact movement as other words or phrases, and context is not always enough to entirely make up for this.
4. Learning Just The Fundamentals Of A Wide Variety Of Subjects Has Multiple Advantages
It can be easy to get frustrated during your early years in college. You might be annoyed at having to take a bunch of general education courses that don’t seem to fit your major. This is a very common complaint, but the colleges stand firm, claiming that it is important for you to learn all of those things. Some people think it’s a conspiracy from the colleges to get you to spend more money going to unnecessary classes, but there is actually a good reason for all of this.
The thing is, while specializing is great, that doesn’t mean that you get to reach the skill of a specialist just by specialization alone. Most subjects have a lot of interconnected things that might not necessarily be a direct part of your major study, and making all these connections as you learn will help increase your understanding of your field. It will also make you a more well-rounded person capable of impressing people by at least understanding the basics of a lot more subjects. Finally, it will also help you with employers, who are looking for people with a more diverse skill set, and can help land you jobs in interconnected fields.
3. Even Sighted People Can Benefit From Learning How To Use Echolocation
Echolocation is something a lot of people think is just a skill that is unique to heroes like Daredevil, who are not at all real (well, as far as we know…). Now, while it is true that you are unlikely to ever learn to be able to use echolocation to the level that Daredevil can in the comics, you can learn to use it to great effect, even if you can see just fine.
Some of you are probably wondering what the point of this is if you can already see, but echolocation is basically using your brain to create a sonar map. Anytime something is blocking your vision, you can use echolocation to get a better visual map of what might be behind the things that are obstructing your view. Some may think that only blind people can learn this, but the fact is that blind people actually don’t have extra hearing, and some studies have shown sighted people picking it up easier than blind people.
2. Train Yourself Not Just To See Or Hear, But To Observe
This all goes back to the basic principles of Sherlock-ian deduction, which can be best illustrated by a conservation Holmes once had with Dr. Watson where he asks the good doctor if he knows how many steps lead up to their flat at 221b Baker Street. Watson cannot answer, and Holmes replies, “You see Watson, but you do not observe.” This fundamental principle is the basis of all of Sherlock’s deductions, as he has trained himself to actively observe everything around him, as opposed to just seeing it like most of us do.
Now, some may think this is splitting hairs, or just something you need if you are a detective, but there is a good reason for normal people to train their brains to think like this. There is something called situational blindness where we can see something daily, and be so used to the general schematic of it, that we don’t notice small changes. These changes could even cause you to have an accident in the wrong situation, so it’s good to actively keep your eye on things. Furthermore, by applying this skill to observing people, you will get a better handle on subtle mood shifts that you might have missed in your friends and workers.
1. You Can Become A Human Calculator By Learning Some Simple Tricks
Let’s start off by being clear that while everyone can learn it, there is a good reason this one is number one on the list. It’s easily the most impressive skill to learn, but it’s also going to require the most practice of any of them to really get down. That being said, for those who think this is a skill beyond them because it requires advanced math aptitude or skills, you can rest easy knowing that really isn’t the case. You may have seen people at the county fair or somewhere similar managing complex multiplication faster than you would be able to enter it into your calculator, and thought they were a real-life Will Hunting. However, they are using simple tricks and not advanced math.
The first trick is knowing the basics of arithmetic really well, and understanding how to round up or down and simplify things by breaking them into chunks. If you know the basic principles, you just need to memorize most of the square roots, and then learn a simple formula you can use as a shortcut for advanced multiplication. If you understand that ((A Squared) – (B Squared)) = ((A + B) * (A – B)), how to plug in the right numbers, and you know your square roots, you too can be a math magician.