Do you believe you are intelligent or stupid?
When it comes to the question of intelligence, there’s often a definitive black and white label given to each person in question.
Like from day one that you were either blessed with it or unluckily were as láthair the day it was given out.
A lot of people carry a strong belief that they themselves have it or don’t, that there’s no possibility of change.
This belief is matched with behaviour confirming the belief, we say things like ‘I could never do that’, or ‘I wish I was more like him’.
This post looks to dispel the myth that you are definitively either intelligent or stupid and more importantly open up the possibility to you becoming more intelligent.
def. Stupid- Having or showing a great lack of intelligence or common sense.
“Having and showing”
Let’s deal with having first.
Proof that you have intelligence:
Have you ever surprised yourself with something you did, said or thought, some connection you made or work produced which you didn’t think you were capable of?
If you are being honest then there likely has been a time when you showed incredible intelligence, the kind you didn’t know you had up to that point.
You may have put it down as luck, a fluke, something you could never do again in a million years and instead of exploring the possibility that it’s innate, you buried it beneath one of those limiting explanations.
Hopefully this has opened the possibility that you have this natural intelligence.
If nothing came to mind then just open to the possibility that you may have it as we explore the next part of the definition:
“Showing a great lack of intelligence or common sense”
If we are still working on the assumption that we have intelligence, the difference between being intelligent and not is around showing it.
If that’s the case what could stand in the way between having intelligence and not showing it often?
How about fear?
Fear causing us to stay quiet, remain curious without acting on it and keep our hand close to our chest.
Never change rings out in our ears, stay the same.
What separates curiosity from acting on it is fear.
If the curiosity is stronger than the fear we will act on it and vice versa.
- Fear of what changes in your relationships if you show that intelligence.
- Fear of discovering you are more capable than you previously thought.
- Fear of what changes in your life when you start exploring the possibility of becoming more intelligent.
Fear is embedded at the root of human behaviour.
It drives much of human behaviour, but it doesn’t have to.
When fear is driving behaviour then we are operating from the primitive part of our brain.
That lizard brain which serves one major function, survival and does not care about quality of life.
Here’s another blog I wrote exploring the lizard brain and how it causes us to self sabotage in order to avoid change.
The primitive brain not intelligent in the truest sense of the word.
In a world where survival is pretty much guaranteed every day then we can seek more than survival.
We can seek out new experiences and feelings.
We can thrive.
By seeking out experiences and feelings, by acting on our curiosity and by backing ourselves in exploring our gut instincts.
def. Human intelligence, mental quality that consists of the abilities to learn from experience, adapt to new situations, understand and handle abstract concepts, and use knowledge to manipulate one’s environment.
Let’s break some of that down.
“Learn from experience and adapt to new situations.”
Both require a new experience.
Meaning every new experience or moment in our lives represents the possibility of becoming more intelligent.
Think about that.
Life is a series of moments where we can show intelligence or not, each one provides an opportunity to accelerate growth or death.
That means that even if we have done something a thousand times before, we can still learn from it if we are curious and open to the possibility of learning.
No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it’s not the same river and he’s not the same man. – Heraclitus
Every one of us seeks new experiences in our lives, travel, creative pursuits, reading, conversation, music and sports are all forms of these.
The riskier ones, the ones that carry the most uncertainty and bring up the most resistance are likely the most important ones for us to explore, the ones which will provide the most learning from.
We develop intelligence through habit.
Like a muscle, the more we use it the stronger it gets.
We are all incredibly curious it’s just some of us are better at acting on our curiosities than others.
It’s not that they have removed fear from the equation, it’s that they are aware of it and act anyway.
A default behaviour of do it anyway, despite the fear.
The old saying; we learn something new everyday can hold true, the possibility of us becoming more intelligent every day.
Our childlike curiosity has never left us, it is just hiding beneath layers of fear, maybe you would like to uncover it again and embrace it?
It felt good when we explored things for the first time, with beginners mind, not really knowing anything or taking things for granted.
Let’s bring this to a point.
One of the biggest regrets that people laying on their deathbeds state is not related to what they did in their lives, it’s related to what they didn’t do.
Curiosity never explored.
More questions than answers.
Some people are buried with their best work left in them, still holding their hand close to their chest, never having showed the world what they really had because they never knew they had it.
That curiosity is at least worth exploring, it may be the best habit you rebuild.
The art of possibility.
You are more powerful than you think, act accordingly. – Seth Godin.