F. Scott Fitzgerald On First-Rate Intelligence

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“The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function.”

F. Scott Fitzgerald said that in 1936.

Francis Scott Key Fitzgerald was an American writer and novelist.

At the age of 24, the success of his first novel, This Side of Paradise, made Fitzgerald famous.

The Great Gatsby is considered Fitzgerald’s finest work.

While he achieved limited success in his lifetime, he is now widely regarded as one of the greatest American writers of the 20th century.

Intelligence encompasses many related mental abilities, such as the capacities to reason, plan, solve problems, think abstractly, comprehend ideas and language, and learn.

“The surest way to be deceived is to think oneself more clever than others,” said, François de La Rochefoucauld

Fitzgerald’s model of thinking can be applied in many decision-making scenarios, thinking processes and negotiation techniques.

This approach to thinking can stop you from jumping to conclusions when faced with a tough situation.

The surest way to be deceived is to think of yourself more clever than others, and neglecting opposing views because you don’t agree with them.

If you want to be a critical thinking and prevent yourself from falling into self-righteous, self-serving conclusions, be open to other ideas besides your own thinking model.

In the “The Crack Up”, Esquire Magazine(February 1936) he wrote:

One should, for example, be able to see that things are hopeless and yet be determined to make them otherwise. This philosophy fitted on to my early adult life, when I saw the improbable, the implausible, often the “impossible,” come true. Life was something you dominated if you were any good. Life yielded easily to intelligence and effort, or to what proportion could be mustered of both….
I must hold in balance the sense of futility of effort and the sense of the necessity to struggle; the conviction of the inevitability of failure and still the determination to “succeed” — and, more than these, the contradiction between the dead hand of the past and the high intentions of the future.

Yes, you can entertain two opposing philosophies without losing your mind

You should be able to look at things that may seem almost perfect, functional and still find a way to improve it or pose challenging questions that could help make it better.

George Orwell once said, “Each generation imagines itself to be more intelligent than the one that went before it, and wiser than the one that comes after it.”

We can’t completely understand and build a better future without the knowledge of the past. The past informs the future.

First-rate intelligence allows you to gain fresh perspective on ideas, products or analyse information better, and to power really creative, breakthrough thinking.

You can use this skill to explore ‘what ifs’ or ‘why nots’ around barriers, downsides, and upsides.

The unique skill to understand and empathize with both sides of an issue, an idea, or school of thought, and still retain the ability to make the right choice and be yourself is rare but important to strategic decision making in life and business.

It pays to keep an open mind in life and be able to live your life to the fullest.

In this mental state, you can you able to see all sides of an issue and know that any of them is a possibility.

The smartest people analyze what they’re told, what they read, or here (either immediately or over time) and assemble a raft of truth that they can justify intellectually.

They explore varied opinions, hold creative tensions between them, and make decisions based on critical evaluation.

To improve your thinking, and maintain a deeper appreciation of thought, be prepared to embrace different realities, positions, interests, mindsets, and ideologies without necessarily getting

Be open to continuous improvement.

You don’t need a first class intelligence to navigate a complex problem, conflict, or an issue, embracing this thought process can help you dig deeper into many subjects.

Don’t rob yourself of the fullness of your own intellectual capacity.

Look at things in all situations from different perspectives. Use this as learning session to strengthen your capacity for thought.

Dig deeper

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