Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people.
Schools and traditional education can limit us. Schools focus on a very narrow view of intelligence and overvalue particular sorts of talent and ability. They enforce a one-size-fits-all approach and marginalize all those who do not fit their paradigm.
To maximize learning opportunities, we have to discover the best times to learn, find the most conducive learning environments and connect with nurturing people who inspire us to consider new possibilities and dare us in a supportive way to stretch and realize our potential.
If we value creativity, we have to find our own path in order to express our uniqueness and creativity. And don’t expect to get it right on the first try. If you are not prepared to be wrong (i.e. can accept being incorrect and false starts without being devastated or shamed). It must be hard for people who are easily shamed to learn via experimentation when so much of experimentation results in failure. And yet the willingness to try something new (i.e. experimentation) is how we learn and find what’s right for us.
Many people set aside their passion and pursue a conventional, traditional path for various reasons (the need for financial security, uncomfortable with the unknown and therefore requiring excessive predictability in their lives etc). Conformity undermines creativity. And anything that condemns you to sacrificing your creativity and originality is limiting your life choices and possibilities. To be authentic (as opposed to being a phony or a clone) demands that you follow the path that is highlighted by your passions. Passion is a tricky thing to define. Some people may have multiple interests. Others may have a singular passion. We also really need to understand our aptitudes or strengths and not be shamed because certain endeavors come easy for us.
Everything you do (work, marriage, social relationships) should support and be consistent with who you are. On a personal note, I suspect that my first marriage failed because I couldn’t be my authentic self and my second marriage flourishes because it allows me the freedom to be who I desire and to do what I damn well please.
Intelligence is dynamic. Performing and focusing on one task to the exclusion of others will result in overdevelopment of a particular corresponding part of the brain which can either be a good thing or an undesirable thing depending on your perspective. The dynamic use of the brain is how you find new connections (that’s the definition of creativity) and new connections result in breakthroughs and new paradigms. Dynamic learning is at the opposite end of the spectrum from rote learning. Rote learning rarely results in creative breakthroughs. A person’s intelligence is unique and can consist of multiple forms of intelligence. And these forms can be combined to be used in different ways. Howard Gardner in his book Theory Of Multiple Intelligences states not only do people have multiple ways of learning and processing information, but these methods are relatively independent of one another as opposed to the theory that there is a single definition for intelligence. Gardner has defined to date 8 forms of intelligence:
- People with this intelligence have skills in the area of logic, abstractions, reasoning, numbers and critical thinking .
- This area deals with spatial judgment and the ability to visualize with the mind’s eye. A spatial person is also good with puzzles.
- This area has to do with words, spoken or written. People with high verbal-linguistic intelligence display a facility with words and languages.
- The core elements of the bodily-kinesthetic intelligence are control of one’s bodily motions and the capacity to handle objects skillfully.
- People with a high musical intelligence are able to adroitly sing, play musical instruments, and compose music.
- This area has to do with social interaction. Interpersonal intelligence is the ability to understand others. In theory, individuals who have high interpersonal intelligence are characterized by their sensitivity to others’ moods, feelings, temperaments and motivations, and their ability to cooperate in order to work as part of a group. They read people well.
- This area has to do with introspective and self-reflective capacities. This refers to having a deep understanding of the self: what your strengths/ weaknesses are, what makes you unique and being able to predict your own reactions/emotions.
- This area has to do with nurturing and relating information to one’s natural surroundings.
Discovering who you are is recognizing the various forms of intelligence that you possess and discovering where your own true strengths lie and using them to your advantage. This is the key to realizing your potential.