Meditations on Intentional Intelligence
I’ve never been naturally good at anything. I became a great ballerina out of spite, because everyone was very open about the fact that I wasn’t naturally gifted. It never dawned on me that intelligence is much the same way, it’s aquired, regardless of your natural aptitude for it. In ballet, I dedicated 16 years to being a good dancer. I suspect that being a professional or even just an intelligent person is governed by the same principle.
So, I ask myself, how much time have I really invested in being intelligent? I definitely didn’t do much in high school, or even before that. So… since college? By that logic, I’m running on 8 years of effort towards being an intelligent person. How much of that 8 year span was dead time? Time where I was learning for a grade rather than understanding. Time where I was reading a book because I had to, not because I was intentionally extracting value from it. How much intentional intellectual studying can I get done in the next 8 years?
I’m turning 26 next week, so that leaves me about 55 more years of being a student of the world. 55 more years to make an impact on something. Anything.
In school we used to make plans. 1 year plan. 5 year plan. 10 year plan. At this point, I hate to even plan what I want for dinner tonight, let alone what I want for myself in a year, in five, in ten. So let’s try this. Instead of the classical performance goals, I want to set some learning goals for myself. Publicly.
In 1 year I want be able to…
- Hold a conversation in spanish
- Draw a picture with charcoal I can hang up on a wall in my house
In 5 years I want to be able to…
- Communicate a complex thought clearly and concisely
- Overcome the amygdala hijack with grace
- Provide someone with an opportunity they would have never had
- Read a book a week
In 10 years I want to be able to…
- Own a business
- Create a unique idea
- Captain a sailboat in the ocean
- Be 100% tactful in all situations - both in business and in my personal life
- Teach my kids that their intelligence can be achieved with grit