I used to think that smarts and intelligence were super black and white. You either were smart or you weren’t – no in between.
But as I’ve gotten older, I’ve come to learn that intelligence isn’t like that. That it’s multi-faceted and complex. I’ve read and listened to and learned that intelligence is not stagnant – that there’s not a certain amount of intelligence you are born with and that’s it, but that your intelligence can grow and change over time. It’s dynamic.
I think that has interesting implications for how we live our life and how we are able to teach our kids. If we know that your intelligence can grow and change, it gives you more reasons to keep working harder. If, however, you think that there’s nothing about it that can be different, then it’s easier to just say “Why bother?” or “I’m not smart enough.” They’ve actually done studies on this that I heard about on NPR that I find completely fascinating.
There is also something to said for persistence and trying something again when you don’t succeed the first time. The world would be sorely lacking if everyone who failed the first time just gave up. I know, for one, we wouldn’t have Harry Potter if J. K. Rowling had just given up when she was rejected. Dr. Seuss faced rejection a lot too for that matter. Famous inventors had to struggle and tweak things that didn’t quite work. Those people all persisted and helped to create a better world.
I think it’s a wonderful feeling to know that we can always keep growing and learning and knowing new things.