What intelligence means to me
Put almost any group of people in a room together, and they’ll eventually start talking about how dumb everyone else is.
Put a group of people with above-average intelligence in a room together, and they’ll start talking about what intelligence means — when they first started to realize they were “gifted,” how they tried to measure and quantify their intellectual gifts, and how little those scores really tell us.
If this sounds self-congratulatory, that’s because it is.
At some point in that conversation, someone will jump in and say, “Well, here’s how I can tell when somebody’s smart…”
Hunter S. Thompson valued professionalism above all other virtues. If you’d met the author of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas three days into a cocaine binge, and asked him if it might be time to call it quits, he would have shrieked in outrage —not because you were judging his drug habits, but because you were implying he wasn’t fully conscious, aware, centered and intentional in his behavior.
“Do you think this is some kind of amateur cocaine binge?” he probably would’ve howled.
A retraction of every “live your dreams” screed I ever wrote
Confession time! I used to write some of those “Quit your job! Follow your dreams!” articles. You won’t find any of them in my Medium history now, though, because I deleted them all months ago.
Looking back on my smugness now feels like looking back on my goth phase in high school: I’m not exactly ashamed of it, because I can understand the motivation behind it; the need to craft a public identity that would validate my perspective on the world— but it still makes me cringe a little,
Because I wasn’t nearly as cool as I thought I was.
A slap of reality from a cartoon scientist
One cool spring night a few years ago, I drove out to the desert with my two best friends. We passed around a bottle, and made jokes, and played guitar, and finally just lay looking up in silence at the stars. And after a few minutes, a strange feeling came over me.
Why “trying” to be creative doesn’t work —and how to fix it
Everyone on earth has brilliant original ideas several times a day.
Even if you’re in a bad mood — even if you’re mentally ill — you’re brainstorming all the time. Problem is, the instant you get a great idea, one or both of the following things happens:
- You grab onto the idea and start trying to develop it more fully, but the more you try to shape it, the more it slips through your fingers and disappears.
- Your mind reacts with, “Eh, that’s not important!” and tosses the idea away before you even get a clear look at it.
These are both natural reactions, because you’ve been taught all your life to scrutinize and critique unusual ideas, while it’s unlikely that anyone’s taught you how to come up with them in the first place.