30 Ways to Increase Your Mental Capacity

Posted by Donald Latumahina

If you want to grow in life, increasing your mental capacity is a must. By increasing your mental capacity, you will be able to handle more things and assume larger responsibilities.

It’s just like your physical capability to lift heavier and heavier weight in weight training. People with greater physical capability will be able to lift heavier weight effortlessly while those with less capability will tire themselves out or even not be able to lift it at all. So just like you should train your muscles to increase your physical capability, you should also train your “mental muscles” to increase your mental capacity.

streamingBut how should you do that? How should you train your mental muscles to increase your mental capacity? I believe the answer is similar to the way you increase your physical capability in weight training.

To increase your physical capability in weight training, you should train yourself by lifting weight which is just outside your current capability. If your current capability is 100 pounds for example, you can increase your capability by training yourself with 110 pounds. Though it may feel a bit hard in the beginning, you will find it effortless after some days or weeks of training. You can then add a little more weight, and by doing so again and again, after 1 or 2 years you will see your physical capability increase significantly.

The way to increase your mental capacity is similar:

Do things which are just outside your comfort zone.

This  – I believe – is the best thing you can do. It introduces some inconvenience in your life, but only in a bearable way. As a result, your mental muscles will grow stronger and your mental capacity will increase.

To help you put it into practice, here are 30 ways to do things which are just outside your comfort zone to increase your mental capacity:

  1. When someone asks you to do something, make your default answer “yes” (but don’t forget to say “no” when appropriate).
  2. In a gathering (class, conference, etc.), sit next to someone you do not know.
  3. Visit a place you normally wouldn’t (museum, monument, national park, etc.).
  4. Eat at a new place.
  5. Try a new kind of food.
  6. Go to a conference or seminar in a topic you are not familiar with.
  7. Email or call an old friend you haven’t met for a long time.
  8. Initiate conversation with someone you don’t know.
  9. Find the most unpleasant task in your to-do list and do it first.
  10. Email or message someone you don’t know to initiate a friendship.
  11. Learn a new hobby.
  12. Learn a foreign language.
  13. Join a new club and interact with the people there.
  14. Practice an art you normally wouldn’t (painting, music, etc.).
  15. Learn a new musical instrument.
  16. Be dare to ask. This is to familiarize yourself with rejection.
  17. Read fiction if you normally read non-fiction, and vice versa.
  18. Read a new author.
  19. Read an old book.
  20. Visit a new genre of blogs.
  21. Find friends from a new country (i.e. a country from which you haven’t had any friend before).
  22. Find friends from different professions.
  23. Volunteer for activities conducted by your social or business group.
  24. Do your groceries at a different store.
  25. Take a different route to work.
  26. Attend an art festival.
  27. Listen to a new genre of music.
  28. In a bookstore or library, browse books in a section you wouldn’t normally visit.
  29. Watch a new genre of movies.
  30. Read history more than news.

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Categories: Attitude, Thinking

Please use your real name and note that I reserve the right to delete inappropriate comments.

  • http://www.gmail.com sanath

    This is a very good tip to improve ur “uummph” factor.. by doing the above mentioned steips, its not only sure that u will gain confidence in life, but also feel that rejection, disagreement and other negative things are common in life.. you will start taking things around you in a very cool way.. so go ahead, try ur hands on few points which u think u r good at..

  • http://www.lifeoptimizer.org Donald Latumahina

    Thanks, Sanath. As you said, negative things are very common in life. Our ability to advance is very much determined by our ability to handle them, and I believe increasing our mental capacity is the way to go.

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  • http://www.replete.nu Phil

    Thanks, inspiring little article!

  • http://www.lifeoptimizer.org Donald Latumahina

    You’re very welcome Phil!

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  • Douglas Woods

    There are some excellent tips here. It is just the first one that I have problems with. In my work I find that there are too many people who will always say ‘yes’ to any request, whether they can do it or not! Not surprisingly this adds to their stress levels. Quite often in reality they have neither the time nor the skills to do what has been asked of them.

    It seems that people are worried about saying ‘no’ because they fel they are saying ‘no’ to the person, when in reality they are saying ‘no’ to the request.
    Equally, there are people who ‘manage’ or ‘manipulate’ people because they know they will not say ‘no’ to them.

    It is really the second part of your first tip which I feel is more important .. say ‘no’ when it is appropriate.

  • http://www.lifeoptimizer.org Donald Latumahina


    In my situation, “no” seems to be the default answer due to the desire to “focus on the important”. This may go overboard though, which is why I wrote the first tip. I admit that the tip is subjective; it’s more suitable for people who are in similar condition as mine.

    Your situation is different because the default answer is “yes”, and I agree with you that in such condition it’s more important (and more productive) to learn to say “no”.

  • Genida

    The ‘do what’s outside your comfort zone’ thing is quite like something you’d find in ‘flow’ theory, you should check that out.

  • http://www.lifeoptimizer.org Donald Latumahina

    Interesting. Thanks, Genida.

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  • http://www.DStressDoc.com Richard Kuhns Hypnosis Stress Management Specialist

    It’s a great recipe for adding some spice in life and may be quite helpful for someone dealing with depression. The last post however, seems more like copy for a David Letterman show.

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  • http://increasementalpower.blogspot.com Lorelei F

    In a course I recently took through Landmark Education the ‘homework’ was to do something you have never done before every week. It was hugely powerful. I suggest a course called The Landmark Forum, by the way, to anyone who has not done it. Talk about something different. It rocks yor world.

  • http://www.lifeoptimizer.org Donald Latumahina

    Thanks for the information!

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  • Michael Clifton

    I’m already making friends Online from different countries and other places in the United Kingdom that I find hard to do in my area cause they’ve got funny minds abusive and bullies in my area towards things about me they don’t understand they get me into trouble for all the time no matter what. I made something new to eat called Pasta Bake with making it as home made cooking and actually it turned out right very pleased with my self for that cause i usually get ready made meals and can’t always do Home Made Cooking now I can do Pasta Bake time to try and make some other Home Made cooking. I am getting into different Genres am now into Rock Music Bon Jovi and Club Extreme Music that I once wasn’t into that type of Music before. It has raised some positiveness in confidence in doing things more. My words can seem to make people laugh with me I’ve started to notice. At one time it would be at me with some of them. There’s a definate improvement there from somewhere. Whether it’s cause of my increased mental capacity or their attitudes are better and that they’ve started to recognise that I am good really and not a bad person they always seem to think in me when ever I went through body changes when I was age 13 and age 16 Channel 5 News on Monday 20th October 2008 said they had sex when your age 16 and age 14 then it’s true. I can’t tell that from them if that’s why. I’m starting to come out with sentences to them I wouldn’t have said before to them at one time I would have just say one or two things Thanks Bye then leave quickly. I use to go to the Cinema by my self saw Spider-man 2 and Sky Captan and
    The World Of Tomorrow by my self. That was a brave move to make cause one usually goes to the Cinema with friends or family and I’ve always gone to the Cinema with friends this time I decided to go by my self and achieved that which I thouhgt I something I wouldn’t do by my self in life. Well I thought wrong about my self and was able to do it. There is no such word as can’t.

  • http://www.Pak11.com Ejaz

    Yes , doing anything new, which you are not used to will definitely add to your mental capacity. Good article

  • http://minilifehacks.blogspot.com MiniLifeHacks

    Great article here, very easy to understand tips. Leaving our comfort zone and observing how we react to different situations is a great way to get to know ourselves better as well.

    This is similar to a post at MiniLifeHacks called Leave your Comfort Zone – Get to know Yourself

  • Mike

    I would utlise my time by playing sudoku games, going on net and looking at diffferent things, watching cartoons movies and palying games. sometimes i go and sleep.

  • Tebogo Pooe

    hey guys, im a SOTH AFRICAN mechanical engineering student.Unfortunately, in my country(SOUTH AFRICA) we face many social and political challenges hence issues such as mental strength are overlooked. The general attitude of people towards such initiatives is very negative. I just want to thank websites such as this one where i can speak to similar minded people and obtain Pertinent KNOWledge.

  • http://www.lifeoptimizer.org Donald Latumahina

    I’m glad that you have the right attitude toward personal growth despite your environment. Keep moving forward!

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  • http://www.FunniestVideosOnline.com Michael

    what a great list! thanks

  • http://www.thenapsterweblog.blogspot.com The Napster

    You could accelerate your mental abilities a lot by a few outdoor activities like jogging in the mornings, cycling, swimming and even through meditation. In the mornings, sit in an empty room, cross-legged. Think about your dreams, your ambitions and your life. Then, clear your mind of all thoughts, what do you see? Think about it. You can also do good with activities like eating different cuisines, meeting different people, reading different books and different music and movies. Drawing is also something that enhances mental abilities, draw anything, a line, a dot, anything that can be drawn. Explore more of the world ie… swimming in a cold, deep lake is better than swimming in an artificial pool. Cognitive activities like playing chess, Sudoku and scrabble also help. Prefer watching documentaries than entertainment shows, as the latter only destroy your vivid imagination. Neglect activities that cause stress. Don’t feel anything negative. Remember, a clear mind is always a better mind. You can also learn new things such as lucid dreaming, 360 degree vision and develop a sense of directions.

  • Diamond

    Thanks for this insight or better still an eye and mind opener.