Are Your Intellectual Muscles Strong or Getting Flabby?

Don’t let your intellectual muscles get flabby!

Your intellectual image comes from how well you’ve developed what’s inside your skull. This is your intellectual self. I’m not talking about a high IQ or your ability to win at Trivial Pursuit. I’m referring to the depth and breadth of your knowledge, your mental fitness. Most of us were given plenty of basic intelligence. We alone decide whether we’ll use it to capacity or let it get flabby or stiff from disuse.

Can your mind lift abstract concepts from The Wall Street Journal, or from the professional journal in your field? Can you grasp the intricacies of a problem explained by someone in a field completely different from your own?

Can you see an issue from a perspective that’s 180-degrees from your own feelings? Can you entertain ideas that come from a different culture, or from people you don’t like? Can you hang in there when it’s going to take a lot of convincing to get people to see things your way, or when it’s going to mean clearing seven committees and the CEO?

Training your mind to take on longer-term and more demanding tasks gives you the stamina you need when mental marathons come up. Other ways to strengthen your mind might include:

– Taking some classes in a subject you’ve always wondered about — art history, acting, geology — but never studied.

– Learning to play a musical instrument. Or, if you prefer, learning to scuba dive.

– Committing to teaching yourself a new and difficult skill: celestial navigation perhaps, or gourmet cooking, or origami, or winemaking.

– Joining a foreign-affairs group, or investment club, or reading circle, where new issues and speakers abound.

– Buying an expensive subscription to a weighty series of books or musical performances. Paying so much, you’ll probably feel compelled to get your money’s worth.

– Here’s a real test of mental discipline: Listening to a daytime TV talk show without making judgments about the intelligence of the participants!

Another intellect-strengthening exercise is to get in the habit of not assigning labels to people. When you’re at a party and another guest is introduced to you as “a life-insurance salesperson,” don’t you, mentally at least, take a couple of steps backward? Ditto, perhaps, for “IRS auditor,” “debutante,” “parole officer,” or “yachtsman,” depending on your mind-set?

Thus, the hidden assumptions of language can control your behavior. Your preconceived notions of accountants, say, as bland and boring, or of professors as tweedy and reserved, probably does you and them a disservice and may prematurely kill what could be a valuable relationship.

To maximize your intellectual image, attempt to get past the labels. Don’t overlook, for instance, the opinions of a mere “clerk” while perhaps overvaluing those of a “consultant.” It takes intellectual strength to avoid the trap of confusing the specific for the general. But if you can get into the habit of appreciating people’s unique, human side and not judging them generically, you’ll win their respect — and you may learn something, too.

Advertisements

About Assessment Business Center
Dr. Tony Alessandra has a street-wise, college-smart perspective on business, having been raised in the housing projects of NYC to eventually realizing success as a graduate professor of marketing, entrepreneur, business author, and hall-of-fame keynote speaker. He earned a BBA from the Univ. of Notre Dame, an MBA from the Univ. of Connecticut and his PhD in marketing from Georgia State University. In addition to being president of Assessment Business Center, a company that offers online 360º assessments, Tony is also a founding partner in The Cyrano Group and Platinum Rule Group--companies which have successfully combined cutting-edge technology and proven psychology to give salespeople the ability to build and maintain positive relationships with hundreds of clients and prospects. Dr. Alessandra is a prolific author with 27 books translated into over 50 foreign language editions, including the newly revised, best selling The NEW Art of Managing People (Free Press/Simon & Schuster, 2008); Charisma (Warner Books, 1998); The Platinum Rule (Warner Books, 1996); Collaborative Selling (John Wiley & Sons, 1993); and Communicating at Work (Fireside/Simon & Schuster, 1993). He is featured in over 50 audio/video programs and films, including Relationship Strategies (American Media); The Dynamics of Effective Listening (Nightingale-Conant); and Non-Manipulative Selling (Walt Disney). He is also the originator of the internationally-recognized behavioral style assessment tool - The Platinum Rule®. Recognized by Meetings & Conventions Magazine as "one of America's most electrifying speakers," Dr. Alessandra was inducted into the Speakers Hall of Fame in 1985. In 2009, he was inducted as one of the “Legends of the Speaking Profession,” in 2010 and 2011 he was selected as one of the Top 5 Marketing Speakers by Speaking.com, and in 2010 Tony was elected into the inaugural class of the Sales Hall of Fame. Tony's polished style, powerful message, and proven ability as a consummate business strategist consistently earn rave reviews and loyal clients. Contact information for Dr. Tony Alessandra: • Dr. Tony’s Products: http://www.alessandra.com/products/index.asp • Keynote Speeches: Holli Catchpole: Phone: 1-760-603-8110 ● Email: Holli@SpeakersOffice.com • Corporate Training: Scott Zimmerman: Phone: 1-330-848-0444 x2 ● Email: Scott@PlatinumRuleGroup.com • Cyrano CRM System: Scott Zimmerman: Phone: 1-330-848-0444 x2 ● Email: Scott@PlatinumRuleGroup.com

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: