Whispers and Whoops: How to Get as Smart as a Brick

Who doesn’t love Brick Heck? He’s so cute and quirky (*Softly whisper the word QUIRKY into your chest – because it comforts you.*)

In case you don’t know, Brick is the youngest son of Mike and Frankie Heck – a middle class family in middle America in the TV series called the Middle. The role of Brick is played by Atticus Shaffer. (*ATTICUS.*)

Brick is smart. Very smart. Here’s what this lovable TV character can teach us about how to get as smart as he is:

Be Gentle

Be gentle with yourself and with others. As Gerald Huther suggests his book ‘The Compassionate Brain: How Empathy Creates Intelligence’, being thoughtful and attentive to others requires your brain to function on a higher level. And as we now know, exercising your brain makes you think better.


Want a shortcut to getting smart?: Read. Read a lot. Read anything. Even magazines and comics. Even your mother’s steamy romance novels. (*ROMANCE.*)

Embrace Your Quirkiness

Smart people embrace their own quirkiness. They spend less time worrying about conforming and more time cogitating. (*COGITATING.*) Think about the greatest thinkers the world has ever known – being a unashamedly odd seems to be an intractable feature of genius. Right now, the link between eccentricity and intelligence is still more of a matter of correlation rather than causation, but researchers are working on it.

Try New Things

Why get stuck in a routine? If you’re open to new adventures, one will find you. Trying new things forces your mind open. You might prefer the sanctuary of the library, but now and then it’s important to go to strange new places and to dabble in new things. (*DABBLE.*)

Be Patient

Be patient. Becoming smart is a process. If you work at it a little bit a time, you’ll get it. Even if it takes a decade or more. Like lime jello salad.

Be Afraid, Be Happy

Is it weird that Brick is smart and happy? Well, no. Contrary to popular belief, being smart does not make you unhappy – quite the reverse. Ignorance is not bliss. Avoiding training your brain to be smarter because you’re afraid you’ll be unhappy is thus counter-productive. Yes, you may lose a few comforting delusions along the way, but you will be left with a few truths which you know are true. And that’s a happy thought. (*DELUSIONS.*)


Honestly, intelligent people are more likely to lie – simply because they are better equipped to do so. (WHOOP!) You know you’re getting smart when people believe your untruths. But perhaps we can give ourselves an inbuilt lie detector to offset the negative implications of this feature of intelligence. Brick lies often and well, but he also says ‘whoop’ when he lies. That seems like a good way to balance things out.


There are other things to keep your brain busy with. Don’t fill it with grudges.

Strange Interests

Brick has a strange fascination with three syllable words and with fonts. Smart people have strange interests. Find yours.

Emotions are Important

Acknowledge your emotions and deal with them. Emotional savvy is not a barrier to becoming smart, it’s part of the process. (*PROCESS.*)

Embrace Your Inner Introvert

Introverts are smarter than loudmouths. (WHOOP!) OK, not really. But we do take more time to process information to a greater depth. And if you want to get smarter, that’s always a good thing.

Images: http://imdb.com


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