Can Working in New York Make You Smarter?

“If I can make it there, I can make it anywhere…”.  We’ve all heard that great phrase which sums up New York for many people.  Just to reiterate the point even more and prove that it’s as true as ever, Jay-Z even even recently pointed out that in New York “there’s nothing you can’t do”.

Well, fortunately I get to work with lots of people from New York on a daily or weekly basis and over the years I’ve been generally so impressed that I started wondering, since most of those people weren’t born or raised in New York, was New York in fact making people smarter?

After talking with people born in the city, that only lived in the city, or have never been there it confirmed what I thought was true all along that a city like New York can in fact help make you smarter.

Some of the reasons why fall into categories like brain science (of which I’m a huge fan), common sense and street smarts (I guess I’m fan of those two as well).  I think if you add them all up though a common theme could be stimulation of the mind.

New York is a constant source of inspiration, fascination and new experiences.  When your mind is stimulated in new ways it grows.  The growth taking place forms new connections and allows your mind to then build new ideas or insights that most likely wouldn’t of taken place otherwise.

A city like New York is known for being so diverse that the information being brought into your mind is from a wide range of subjects that you normally wouldn’t be able to find all in one place.  The fact that so many cultures, styles, religions, interests, and different people are in one place makes it ripe ground for the intellectual stimulation you need.

Whether its New York or another big city, your mind is bombarded with information that ultimately stretches it and could help you be perceived as being smarter.  The challenge for all of us then is to use that lesson to find ways to bring in diverse things into our minds on a regular basis.

You don’t need to live in New York to have sources of freshness in your life (freshness is a word coined for this from the innovation firm ?Whatf!).  Just going to the magazine rack at any bookstore can give you a wide range of inspiration to digest and stimulate your mind.

In the meantime, now when I’m scheduling all of those meetings I have in NYC at least I’ll know that there’s an even bigger purpose to going.

Matt Kane

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