Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Get Smart


Want to get smarter? Here's some tips I gleaned from a passionate discussion between homeschool moms over the summer. See if you agree or disagree.

1. Read. Pick up books and dive into subjects which fascinate you. Read, study, and ponder things you love...quilting, business marketing, gardening, calculus, photography, dog training, biographies, education, creativity(!) human development, Biblical truth, writing, foreign languages, quantum physics...whatever your passion...follow it. Read deeply in a subject and read widely across a number of subjects. Read authors you agree with and authors you don't agree with.

The man who doesn't read good books has no advantage over the man who can't read them. - Mark Twain

2. Process your thoughts. Write...journal, blog, or write papers only for yourself. Educated people in the days of Thomas Jefferson kept a book in which they wrote thoughts, notes from their daily reading, questions, observations, and ideas. They called it a commonplace book. Writing is a good way to think through a maze of thoughts. Remember, your writing doesn't have to be for anyone else but you. Talk to others. Listen. Think. Muse. Or as my horse-trainer mentor said, 'observe, remember, compare.'

Writing is thinking on paper.-William Zinsser

3. Experience. Get up and do something. Actually learning to rock climb, salsa dance, or how to hold a paint brush activates more brain cells than reading about it. Travel often. Experiencing new cultures (even within our great country) expands your knowledge base and gives insight.

A man who carries a cat by the tail learns something he can learn in no other way. ~Mark Twain

4. Ask questions. This is two actually, because you must really listen for answers. Too much of the time, we only half listen to each other's conversation because we are busy thinking about we are going to say. Today, listen carefully and completely to other people.

The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing. Albert Einstein

There is no such thing as a stupid question; only stupid mistakes made because you didn't ask the stupid question. Charles J. Lewis

I like to listen. I have learned a great deal from listening carefully. Most people never listen. Ernest Hemingway

5. Quit doing stupid. The laugh out loud moment for me in the discussion came when someone suggested the best way to get smart was to quit doing stupid things. Like, for example, watching too much TV, playing video games, or spending too much time twittering. Obvious and oh, so true.

Men's natures are alike; it is their habits that separate them. ~Confucius, Analects

What do you think about these? What would you add to the list? How does getting smart affect your creativity?

2 Other Creative Souls are Saying:

Allie said...

I have to agree with ALL of these - and especially the last. UNPLUG! I noticed that my creativity really took a nose-dive when I discovered the internet. I spend so much time looking at other's projects that I don't come up with my own.

DebD said...

This is a great entry... Good things to ponder. I definitely need to work on several of these things.