July 7, 2014

Personal Health

According to results of a study that followed thousands of students throughout their college careers, the higher-education system (regional accreditation) is effectively broken. The results show that many students are leaving college with degrees but little to no improvement in critical thinking or complex reasoning skills.

New York University sociologist Richard Arum, lead author of the study, reports that after following 2,322 typical-age college students from 2005 to 2007, he found that a whopping 45 percent showed no improvement in higher-
reasoning and critical-thinking skills after two years. Moreover, 36 percent managed to go four years and obtain a bachelor’s degree with no improvement regarding those skills.

Many graduates—yes, people who graduated—had trouble:

  • sifting fact from fiction.
  • addressing subjects objectively.
  • reconciling and analyzing conflicting reports of a single event.
  • making decisions and arguments based on fact and logic without being affected by appeals to emotion or political spin.

In short, these are things we would tend to ask from functional citizens, whether they have a degree in art history, biochemistry, or nothing at all; yet they could not be performed by a large percentage of college graduates from prestigious universities.1

Examining Intelligence

Intelligence is our capacity to learn, retain, and apply knowledge. Raising our intelligence comes with significant advantages, such as becoming more efficient in studying and allowing us to live a balanced life despite being in a rigorous academic program. As our intelligence goes up, we also become more creative, more logical, increase our influence, and even increase our likelihood of becoming wealthy.

So how can intelligence be increased? Attending an Ivy League university may or may not raise it slightly, but profound increases in intelligence occur only when the frontal lobe of the brain increases in both circulation and activity. If intelligence is raised in this manner, a wonderful side benefit occurs—emotional intelligence also goes up. Studies show one’s first job out of college tends to be directly related to IQ (intelligence quotient), but how far we advance in that job is no longer related to IQ, but rather to our emotional intelligence.2

People with high emotional intelligence manage their emotions and relationships far better than people with below-average emotional intelligence. In addition, they’re highly motivated to achieve their goals.

Improving the Frontal Lobe

So the big question is, How can we improve the frontal lobe of the brain so both forms of intelligence can increase, therefore increasing future success and happiness exponentially?

There are actually multiple proven ways to do this.3 Some things are simple, such as becoming fit through regular aerobic exercise; doing 3D tasks with our hands at least 20 minutes a day; curtailing television and movie watching; and listening to melodious classical music. Others are more difficult, such as avoiding caffeine and alcohol; switching to a plant-based diet with no arachidonic acid; eating a diet higher in omega-3 and plenty of folate, choline, and vitamin B12; habitually analyzing and correcting distorted thoughts; daily Bible study and/or practical and useful spiritual material; and keeping the Sabbath holy.

Whatever may be easy or difficult, by prioritizing a lifestyle that is healthful for both body and brain, everyone can improve their intelligence—and by so doing can become a far greater influence for good in this world. 

To learn more, go to nedleyhealthsolutions.com or http://weimar.org.

  1. Richard Arum and Josipa Roksa, Academically Adrift: Limited Learning on College Campuses (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2011).
  2. Daniel Goleman, Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ (London: Bantam Press, 1996).
  3. Neil Nedley, The Lost Art of Thinking: How to Improve Emotional Intelligence and Achieve Peak Mental Performance (Artmore, Okla.: Nedley Publishing, 2012).