When taking an objective approach to improving yourself, you should strive to improve in ways you currently can't comprehend. This can be understood as a subset of the Dunning Kruger effect, which isn't meant to make you feel stupid, it's simply a reality we all face.
Eating right, getting enough sleep and water, and exercise are all critical parts of a self-improvement regimen. But there's another critical component that most people neglect, learning new things.
Here is some good reference material about the connection between learning new things and cognitive health
- Harvard Health Study - "Learning a new skill can slow cognitive aging"
- Ireland Gov Learning New Things
- UK Gov - "Learning for self-esteem"
The benefits of learning new things include
- improved self esteem
- slowing of cognitive decline
- increased optimism
- in some cases even physical growth of brain matter
So yes, learning really can make your head bigger. I could list a lot more, but this quote from the UK Gov page does it justice better than I could
Research shows that learning throughout life is associated with greater satisfaction and optimism, and improved ability to get the most from life.
People who carry on learning after childhood report higher wellbeing and a greater ability to cope with stress. They also report more feelings of self-esteem, hope and purpose
Obviously, there are limitless ways to learn. If you already incorporate learning novel things in your daily regimen, keep doing what works for you. In reality, learning novel things is an impractical task for most people simply because of the time it takes.
A while back I decided I wanted to consistently learn novel things every day. I spent a while thinking of an efficient bias free way of accomplishing this, and then I remembered the random Wiki page.
With the random Wiki, every time you click this link you will get a unique article. Each article is completely random and entirely unrelated to anything you've searched or looked at before. This provides a means of learning n new things every single day, just by clicking the link n times and reading the webpages that open up.
You will be blown away from the type of things you never knew. You will also often be very confused, such as when I learned that Texas A&M has a Qatar campus.
If you don't already incorporate learning novel things into your routine, I recommend opening the random wiki page a few times a day. It takes very little time and truly broadens the boundaries of what you do and don't know.
If you already learn novel things as part of your routine, I would love to hear about them in the comments!