Held Back by Excuses | Part II: Intelligence
Some people give the idea that they lack the brains to become successful at something so much merit, it becomes a deep rooted belief. But what if you knew that the amount of synapses you have in your brain has little to do with your true potential? What if you were presented a case supported by volumes of research proving to you once and for all that those we deem geniuses have earned their badges more by the sheer work put into sharpening their skills rather than harvesting their genetic endowment?
Over the years, as my own ideas on the subject evolved and shape-shifted I’ve been led to discover that the success equation amounts to about half passion and half skill. We must love what we do but we must also practice, practice, practice. This is why the idea of overnight success is a myth. Obsessed with results, we tend to focus on the tip of the mountain, ignoring the massive amounts of work that went in before to lay the ground for later success. Only after we’ve done something so many times, it’s become automatic, are we ready to truly create and innovate. It is much like learning to play an instrument until we merge with it, and music begins to flow spontaneously, without us having to think about it.
Still, many people stubbornly cling to the idea that they lack the intelligence to commit to their dreams. The fact is, it’s not intelligence per se that’s needed, or what I see as an expanded amount of neuron connections constituting enhanced cognitive agility, or simply — flexibility in thinking. There are millions of super smart people out there who excel at everything but live aimlessly. Intelligence is something that needs time to develop. It’s what learning is all about. Rather, in order to achieve dreams, what one needs is a strong desire to learn something so badly, we’re willing to commit to persevere even, or especially, when the going gets tough. In other words, nothing will stop us!
I’m not smart enough is the second excuse in David Schwartz’s book “The Magic of Thinking Big.” Here is what David has to say on the subject:
Unlike most other types of excusitis, people suffering from this particular type of the malady suffer in silence. Not many people will admit openly that they think they lack adequate intelligence. Rather they feel it deep down inside.
Therefore, it is imperative that in order to get over this one, we must openly recognize this common excuse as an obstacle and do what we can to overcome it. How do we overcome it? We overcome it with deliberate patience and faith in our abilities: by giving ourselves the time and space to get good at something rather then unrealistically expecting ourselves to be pros at our first try.
In David’s view, people make two basic errors with respect to intelligence:
- They underestimate their own brainpower.
- They overestimate other people’s brainpower.
It is so sad to see so much potential wasted in negative thinking. Each time I encounter people we talk about dreams at some point in our conversation. Some still believe they could one day make a change, some have given up years ago and it is clear that this compromise weighs them down.
Because you see, the ramification of such resignation is that our dreams never cease to exist. They are merely pushed to a dark corner from which they continue to nag us, their echo filling our life with a tinge of bitterness and impulsive regret.
Do not put your dreams on hold. Even taking the tiniest step today bit towards your vision will fill your mind and heart with a sense of peace. Take charge, acknowledge what’s been calling you. It will soothe you and heal you. If the seed of an idea is already within you, by design you already possess the intelligence to make it happen, or at least to take the next step.
Do it. The world is waiting.