"If I was more effective, what would be I doing right now?"
"If I was more intelligent, how would I approach this problem?"
Sometimes I ask myself these questions, and oftentimes I get good answers.
"If I achieve everything I set out to achieve, what would I have done? How would I have done it? What would I have done right now at this moment?"
I like that last one. Very very useful sometimes.
Also, this one is a favorite of mine when talking to talented people who underestimate themselves -
Me: So, what's (xyz thing) in your field like?
Talented person: I don't know.
Me: Okay, but if you did know, what might it be?
Talented person: (very full and thorough answer)
I don't know exactly why that works. Do we suppress some of our potential? Maybe yes. Why? I don't know... to keep some in reserve for emergencies? To not set the bar too high? To not risk alienating people by performing too well? Fear of failure? Fear of success?
"If I was certain this was going to work, what would I be doing right now?"
Careful with that last one. It makes for a lack of contingency plans. But I've gotten some mileage out of that one too.
There are many different types of intelligence tests. They vary a lot from what most people think of, which is the simple IQ test. That has actually been pretty outdated for awhile now. What you're really talking about is positive psychology. It is a real thing, it really works. It's like playing an instrument. The more you do it, the better you get at it, but you have to tell yourself I'm going to sit down with this instrument and be able to play it. You don't have to literally say that but it is essentially what you are saying every time you practice. So, being intelligent is exactly that. It is taking everything you do and investing enough into it so that you have enough mastery to manipulate it in ways that are useful to you.
I'll tell you what it is. I believe intelligence is a process, not an absolute thing. What I want to say is that even if your iq is 160 (congrats if it is), it doesn't mean that you always perform at that level of intelligence.
So, when you ask that question, specifically "What would I have done right now at this moment", you get to use all your different intelligences (strategic, planning, etc) to get the right answer. In that specific moment you'll be likely to perform at the top of your potential, and because intelligence can be exercised, you can theoretically become more intelligent by asking yourself how you can be more intelligent.
Practical example: If I would be more intelligent right now, I would write down this note, and constantly ask myself "How would I do this if I were more intelligent", probably a variation of that question.
I'm sure that by *constantly* asking ourselves these questions, and thus incrementing the times that we think at the top of our abilities, we can achieve life changing effects.
I'm curious to hear your thoughts about this.
A few days ago, I wrote an open letter to a good friend of mine - "I Think Greatness is Something You Are, Not Something You Do" - I said to him, I'm not a great man, just a normal man working on great things. Greatness is something you do, not something you are.
To give you some background, my friend Brendon is just one of the most amazingly good people in the world. He takes care of everyone around him, his mind, body, and spirit are sharp. He's a black belt, an excellent programmer, a philosopher, a Shodan in Go (actually, even stronger than that - he's a Shodan under the Asian rankings, so probably even higher in America), a hard worker, extremely loyal, a clear and free thinker, widely read and knowledgeable, and again - an amazingly good guy. I've learned a lot from him (notably, he taught me how to play Go, sysadmin Linux, understand basketball at a very high level, improve at martial arts, improve my fitness, and other good stuff - we'd usually go drink green tea and play Go at Samurai Restaurant in Boston, go fight in the park, talk philosophy out at nightclubs, do stuff like that).
He wrote back to me about greatness and humility. I think this is a really beautiful piece, so I asked him if I could gently edit it and put it up. He graciously agreed. It's long, but go ahead and just start it and give it whatever time you have - there's a lot of amazing insight in here.
A Quick Favor Request - if you learn from this or it helps you, please send Brendon a quick email to email@example.com - he was actually a little gun-shy about having such a personal piece put up with such raw power in it. He only agreed when I told him how many people it could help - so please, drop him a short line to say thanks if this teaches you as much as it did me.
Without further ado...
18 years of age since last June, to European standards I'm a ........man! I remember at a play rehersal a friend of mine who's 16.5 years of age, said with an envious tone, 'Your so lucky man, you can drive, drink, have sex, anything'. That 'anything' ringed in my head constantly throughout the rehersal, perhaps it explained why was I told by the director to get the f++k off the stage, which to my fright lurched me out of my dream stance. To the typical person, one would smile tinkle his fingers and do an 'menacing' sort of laugh as he plans for world domination [ok maybe a Mr. Burns type character woukld do that].
Not me though, to be honest I was terrified. Now was the time to start planning my life, no longer were the care-free days of messing about nor the exciting [even deluded] visions of our future lives as adults ....Well I'm one now and I look with shattered, heart-broken disappointment in the mirror as I appear to me the same person as I was at 15. At the age I envisioned I would a goatee beard, bulging biceps, pearl-white teeth, drivers license, straight A grades, had at least one girlfriend, to act, sing and write very well. But no as I see it i'm wasn't the multi- talented hunk about to embark to the realm of teenage stardom. The only thing racing through my mind was......have I wasted my teenage years day-dreaming about the 'perfect life' and the 'perfect' man to suddenly arrive on my doorsteps from the gates of heaven. That I was 'special', the 'chosen one', the.... nooooooooo !!!!
Well I guess i don't have everything for me as I thought I had. it's so easy sitting in a classroom thinking of all these amazing your going to do, neglecting your studies- which are pretty much your only way to a cog in this giant machine called Earth. School, classrooms, teachers, hallways, those were my only world for almost 13 years, so how was I supopose the 'real' world 'outside' the bubble, and without that world how was I supposed to know my own capilities? If all I've really done was sit in class, staring blankly at a chapter about ...the formation of brown earth soils [for example] doing my homework and just being a 'kid'.
Okay that last paragraph was a tiny bit off track, but don't we all do that at times. it shows the unpredictibility of our minds. So if I was able to produce that without knowing before hand, who knows what i could produce if I got overcome the doubts, the fears, the worries, the anxieties [those f++king voices that haunt us all] of trying new things.
To the point of this post, i'm at a point in my life where I need to start making the 'right' decisions to my future path. I've been doing so much research on college courses and anything, but the bottom line is that I don't what to end up as the typical, everyday-joe at the office from 9-5. I promised myself at 14 that become a part of the 'masses;, but now I realize why most of us do. Should take the risky path of the performing arts [which I don't know if I have a true 'passion' for it] or just pick a course that 'interests' me and see where I lead to?