Being intelligent is not the same as being smart. Intelligence refers to your capability to process concepts and information. Being intelligent helps with being smart since you learn more quickly. However, just having a good set of brains doesn’t say much about the content. We need to put in the effort to acquire the knowledge and fill our minds.Someone could have an IQ of 130 but not know much about the world at all. In this case the person might be intelligent but not very smart (yet).
Just as being intelligent doesn’t necessarily means we are smart, being smart doesn’t imply being wise. Being smart is about knowing how things work and understanding how things relate. It’s also about knowing what you should do in a given situation. Wisdom is about doing what you should be doing. It’s about acting on the knowledge. Being smart is required to be wise but it isn’t enough. Just because you know what you should be doing does not imply you do that by default.
Just like we have to put in the effort to get smarter, so we need to put in the effort to act on our knowledge in order to become wiser. It’s often not easy. We usually know pretty well what we should be doing. However, acting on it is usually quite hard. Things like fear or peer pressure often lead us to act against our better judgement, sabotaging our dreams in the process.
It’s the ability to act per default on that what you know you should be doing that makes the difference between those who seem to achieve whatever they set their minds to and the rest who just get by.
Being intelligent and smart can even work against us in our quest to become wiser. I don’t mean we should avoid getting smarter of course, we first need to know enough to realize what we should be doing before we can act on it. But, as a clever person you are also better at coming up with logically sounding excuses not to do things.
This is where the effort comes into play. We need to make sure not to fool ourselves. We should be aware of our line of thinking and how we act. In the end it is us who benefit from acting more wisely and us who suffer the consequences when we don’t. In order to become effective at achieving the goals we’ve set for ourselves, to be able to realize our dreams, we need to become wiser. This will require being a bit harsh on ourselves from time to time as well as overcoming some of our fears. This isn’t always pleasant in the moment but discomfort is not something we should avoid at the cost of sacrificing our dreams.
We become the average of the five people we spend the most time interacting with. No matter how ambitious you are, it won’t last long if you spend your days surrounded by people who have no ambition whatsoever. Being surrounded by people that believe that realizing your dreams is impossible and you should just settle for whatever life brings you will effectively ensure you will become like them eventually.
The same goes for people who constantly complain about how unfair life is and think the world owes them. The people who constantly blame circumstances and other people for their lack of success. Their thinking will affect your sense of responsibility and eat away at your ability to take control of your life.
They say that birds of a kind flock together, but it´s more that birds of a flock become more alike. This is because we are highly social animals. We unconsciously assimilate the behavior and way of thinking of the people around us to help us fit in more. If you don´t consciously decide what kind of person you want to be and what kind of people to hang out with you are at the mercy of the people who you happen to hang out with.
Now this does not mean that you should shun people that display the personality traits you don´t want to assimilate or that they are bad people. The people are most likely nice, funny, and well meaning. However, mindset is highly contagious. Spending too much time with people who’s thinking doesn’t align with that which you really want to do with your life will sabotage your success. With success I mean the accomplishment of goals you’ve set for yourself. Spending too much time interacting with people who have a defeatist attitude will undermine your drive to make your dreams come true. You don´t have to shun those people, just limit the time you spend with them.
Now you might want to help the people around you by instilling a sense of ambition and get them to chase their dreams so they can live more fulfilling lives. This is a noble objective but it´s ineffective to do so while hanging out with them all the time. A better way is to limit the contact with the naysayers while you work on accomplishing your dreams. Once you have done so you can show them that it indeed was possible and even help them out to do a similar thing. But you need to get the order right. Otherwise you´ll be driving towards your goals at full throttle but with the breaks on at the same time. It will wear you out.
You become the average of the five people you spend the most time with. It might pay off to reconsider with who you spend most of your time. If you want to live a fulfilling life and chase your dreams be sure to choose people who are like minded. If you want to start a company spend time with others who have the same goal or are already running one. If you want to become a writer hang out with other writers. And if you want to go through life blaming the world for everything hang out with people who do so as well. It´s up to you.
When it rains during your BBQ party or a falling tree branch hits and damages your car you might feel inclined to ask the following; why does this always happen to me? However, it’s not happening ‘to you’ in the sense that someone or something is doing it on purpose just to punish or plainly annoy you. The universe doesn’t revolve around your existence; it’s not here for your sake. It’s not out to get you or help you. It’s just there doing its thing. It’s neither fair nor unfair.
The idea that life should be fair stems from wishful thinking. No two persons are the same. The conditions in which people are brought up, as well as the challenges people face, differ dramatically. Yes, it might be easier for someone else to achieve a certain goal than it is for you. But so what? What are you going to do about it? Should you just sulk and be mad about the fact that the rich kid at the end of the street had no trouble getting the money to set up his business while you had to call a 100 people before finding an interested investor? Should you just give up and think that you weren’t meant for that kind of stuff anyway? Of course not.
It doesn’t matter in what kind of position you are in right now, all that matters is where you want to be and figuring out what steps you should take to get there. There is no reason to be jealous of other people. It doesn’t help, it’s not productive. Life isn’t fair, get over it.
Negative thinking gets you nowhere. It takes energy, makes you feel bad and prevents you from succeeding. You might as well stop it and use the time and energy to actually take steps to getting closer to your goals.
It’s your life; it’s up to you to decide what to do with it. So what will you choose to do with it? Be mad at the world all the time for not being fair or making the most of what you have and work to achieve your goals?
What is the quickest and most effective way to develop yourself and realize your goals? What is the fastest way to learn new skills and take in new information? It’s quite simple, just take a look at how birds learn their young to fly.
When a bird is learning it’s young to fly it does so by pushing it over the edge of the nest. In this way it has no other choice than to spread it wings and follow it’s instincts. It’s do or die. Trying is not an option.
The best way to quickly learn new skills and develop yourself is by making sure you just have to. Burn bridges, take the leap out of the nest and you will have no choice other than to succeed. We need to step outside our comfort zone from time to time if we really want to do something great. The moment you burn your bridges and put yourself in a situation where you have no other option than to grow and learn, that’s when your learning potential will finally be awakened and you’ll get the fastest results.
The right environment is crucial to your development, luckily we can influence this. If you want to learn a foreign language, move to that country. Make sure you have no other option than to learn the language to deal with daily life. The same is true for learning a certain instrument. Start a band and sign up for a band-contest or arrange a gig in the near future right away. This way you have the choice between mastering the instrument in time or embarrass yourself and your fellow band members greatly, something what you just can’t get away with. It’s amazing what a bit of proper pressure can do for your development rate.
If you think about becoming an entrepreneur, there is no quicker and better way to learn it than to actually just go for it. Founder of Linkedin Reid Hoffman got to the essence right away when he defined entrepreneurship as: ‘ Seeing a new opportunity, jumping down a cliff and assembling the plane on the way down.’
If you always wanted to start your own business and make a impact on the world there is only one question left, where are you waiting for? Get started already!