Are you smart enough yet? I love this question. If you are tempted to say yes then I want you to pause and listen. The answer to "are you smart enough" should always be no unless you have decided to stand still in life and stop growing. If you're finished with your journey then, yes, you are probably smart enough to hit the brakes and coast on through life. However, if you still have that itch to chase down new goals and big dreams you have to commit yourself to being a life-long student.
Step 1: The Big Question
Over 30 years of teaching has taught me the value of asking simple questions so let's start with this one. What do you really want out of life? Until you can genuinely answer that question you will not be able to determine in which areas of your life you need to be smarter. Years ago, I decided I wanted part of my legacy to be centered around being known as a creative and positive person. My personal reflection allowed me to identify what I wanted in life and to set goals to achieve my dreams. So I am asking you to take a few minutes alone and reflect on what you truly want in order for you to identify what you need to learn to achieve your dreams.
Step 2: Do The Research
When you determine the areas of your life where you need to increase your intellectual capacity it's time to buckle down and do the research. When I decided I wanted to increase my creativity I recognized immediately my intellectual gaps and I laid out a plan of learning that led me on a 10 year odyssey of self-discovery which opened my horizons. How did I do this? I began to build a personal library, I re-prioritized my funds to travel to new places and I visited creative learning facilities all over the world. In the middle of my life, I realized I had always wanted to paint so I picked up the brush and found my creativity increased in all areas of my life.
What do you need to learn to achieve what you want out of life? Make sure you do not put a funnel over your dreams by researching from only one area of learning. Books, movies, music, art, travel, and ultimately people are all valuable resources that you can learn from to expand your intellectual capacity.
Step 3: Record It All
If your life is worth living it is worth recording. I would strongly encourage you to make this project an event you track and write down. As I began, I used a journal to keep notes of each step of the journey. It's healthy to write it all down and more importantly to keep specific notes of your progress and "aha" moments. There will be many.
I would encourage you to keep detailed notes from each phase of the experience. You will add substantive value to this process by recording and reviewing each experience. The more you learn the more doors open to new possibilities that you did not originally consider. Questions will arise that will take you down new pathways and new relationships. If you don't record your journey it's difficult to track your progress and improve.
Step 4: Apply and Grow
Once you have identified what you want out of life, researched what you need to learn to achieve your dreams, and started the process of learning, it's time to execute. Often, people wait for a moment of absolute certainty in life or business before they decide to act. Here's the problem. The moment of absolute certainty doesn't exist. Education is a life-long process, one where we can always improve and grow. If you sit around waiting until you think you know it all, which you never will, you will cost yourself valuable time and money.
Start today to take small steps towards your goals. By applying what you have learned, you will set in motion a learning continuum. Motion creates more motion and as you move forward with an expanded intellectual capacity your level of energy and enthusiasm will also expand.
The exciting part of this approach is it will unequivocally help you. You will be able to determine and achieve everything you want in life. When we take the time to determine our future dreams, and where we currently stand, we can look to the future with genuine child-like optimism.
Make a difference today.