In my profession, it’s easy to find things to complain about. With so many moving parts, one inadequate activity can lead to the next, causing a snowball effect. Of all of those things, the one that bothers me most is a specific thought process. It’s a rationalization. It bothers me most when I encounter a kid and they have the audacity to tell me that they cannot do something, because they’re not smart. I feel the same way when I get that response from adults too. It hurts me. It actually hurts society as well when many people do not think this way. For whatever reason, they just believe this fallacy. Maybe someone shattered their dreams as a kid. Or took the opportunity to discourage them instead of breathing life into them. They may have had a bad experience in the classroom. They may have been criticized or judged based on not knowing something that their peers understood to be fools play. But for whatever reason, they considered themselves and maybe considered by others, to be “not smart”. The causes can be a range of things, but the result is the same – they perceive themselves as not being smart. But the result of this thinking, of this mind-set is a crippling one. It’s a result that diminishes all future opportunities to come. Because of this mindset, many of these people live lives never maximizing their potential, never fulfilling their genius and never really living a life of fulfillment.
I’ve been lucky enough to believe the opposite. The truth is I have been called smart so many times that if I didn’t believe it to be true, I would consider it an option. Even when I was a child and my siblings picked on me, they did so in saying that I was smart. Sometimes, so smart that I was stupid, but smart none the less. I mean, the good comes with the bad and I have also been called many other things synonymous with not so. The fact remains though, I do have some level of intellectual capacity and other people have recognized it.
Don’t believe me? Here are some things that I often think about. Compare them with your regular thoughts. Are we similar in this regard?
When communication speeds up, the world becomes smaller. Look at the printing press. Look how it changed the world.
We see the same thing happening with the development of transportation. The car, train and plane all forever changed society.
Continuing this trend, the pay phone, cell phone, email, and text message all reshaped the world. The emoji has made significant contributions in the past few years as well.
All of these things have not only changed our lives and the world around us, it’s changed us. It changed our attention spans, patience levels and even the physiology of our brains.
I know other things too. Like the brain can’t distinguish between real life and imagined reality. One study showed that athletes performing an athletic task had mirroring brain functions of athletes just visualizing the same talk in their mind. The brain couldn’t tell the difference.
If schools could accurately determine mans purpose in society, wouldn’t they do a better job of preparing them for it?
I also know that 2 out of every 3 students that can’t read by the 4th grade will end up in jail or on welfare. Pretty sobering statistics huh?
I think a “smart guy” is living up there somewhere.
Unfortunately for my ego, and fortunately for all of us, the reality is, none of those things make me smart. Not even the questions. I truly believe that the questions are more important than the answers, but even the questions proposed above, result from a gathering of factual information and intelligence. And the fact that I may have some questions that my peers do not, proves that I either have more information than they do or I’m simply focused on different things. I’m sure that someone somewhere knows more than me and I am also sure that you too can learn those things in a blink of an eye. With the development of the Internet, information is free and with the development of technology, that free information is at the disposal. It’s literally waiting to be summoned by you. You have access to it at any moment.
I recently went to a lecture on the city with an author and an employee of the new social media craze “Snapchat”. They talked about a host of things but what I found to be particularly intriguing was when they talked about modern libraries. The two jointly found it fascinating that kids were visiting cellphone and computer stores at alarming rates. They weren’t visiting to make a purchase, they were visiting to update their Facebook statuses and check their emails. They were visiting to access the world’s information.
Are these children smart for capitalizing on such an opportunity?
I’d say that they are smart. I’d also bet that the creators of theses brick and mortar stores nor the developers of the products predicted that this would be a phenomenon .
What I have found out is smart is not a thing that you have or that you don’t have. The brain is a muscle and it must be used in order to be improved. What proves the intelligence that many people have determined that I have, is the same thing that the students inside the cellphone store are using. It’s the thing that is incorrectly being viewed as “smart”. That thing is the ability to look at these seemingly isolated ideas, outside of their intended purposes, connect them and do so in a way to accomplish a specific task. In the case of the students, uploading a Facebook status and staying connected to an ever connected society. In my case, being able to pull together the details of this article, thus proving to you that smart is not a thing, and the proof of intelligence is only in the actions and creations you bring to life.
The world is truly yours, you have to first believe it yourself.