I’ve been drawn to highly intelligent entrepreneur types for nearly a decade now who publish their own books, create an endless amount of content, turn their passions into a business, brand themselves, monetize what they’ve created, market to the audience that they’ve developed, and continuously strengthen their intellect. These are individuals who are not only at the top quartile of intelligence, but who have used that strength to take massive action while believing in themselves to get to where they are.
As someone who is drawn to this, I too have read a countless number of books, viewed a massive amount of the content created by a few of these people who stood out to me, and have resultantly strengthened my intellect to a level well above average. I think that for someone like myself, I was drawn to these individuals based on the simple premise that knowledge is power. I believed that anyone can accomplish anything if they were dedicated enough to seek out the actions that lead to the desired result, and if they’re persistent enough to stick with it relentlessly, however long it takes, with an absolute refusal to give up. And in a lot of ways, this has proven to be true. What I want to talk about today is how being hyper-logical and leaning on your strength, that being your intellect, in every situation you encounter in life can actually become a disadvantage.
Our brain has two hemispheres, the left and right. When you’re left brain dominant, you become like the people I’ve described above and you’re heavily reliant on logic to navigate through life’s issues. It’s what you’re most familiar with, it’s comfortable, it’s rational in your eyes, and it has solved many problems in the past. The problem is, if you are constantly using one side, and neglecting the other you become imbalanced. To put it into context, imagine someone who constantly goes to the gym and only trains one side of their body. This would result in massive muscle imbalances and probably end up doing more harm than good. The same can be true for anyone who invests a large amount of time developing one side of their brain, while neglecting the other.
The right side of the brain is where creativity, emotion, and all those human characteristics come into play. If you were to eliminate them and strictly live based upon pure logic, you’re basically a robot. And without any human qualities, I don’t care how smart you are, in the near future there will be robots who are smarter than you, leaving you obsolete. So in order to avoid becoming obsolete to robots we need to focus on blending in what makes us unique, that being right-brained, human emotion and creativity.
As an example, I don’t watch much TV however I happened to catch an episode of a show called Limitless. I found the story line to be quite interesting and became somewhat hooked on the show. The main character is introduced to a drug that gives him access to all of his brains full capacity resulting in him becoming super intelligent. When the drug wears off, he goes back to his normal level of intellect. I bring this up because in one of the episodes, he began to make videos while on the drug, to instruct his lesser intelligent self, when off the drug. The character was conflicted between doing what his right-brained “conscious” told him to do was right when off the drug, and what his highly intelligent self instructed him to do purely based upon on logic while on the drug.
This example illustrates the issue I’ve set out to address. When you lack balance and you’ve trained yourself to lean heavily on the logical part of your brain, you can end up becoming so rationally driven that you neglect to develop the more “human” characteristics such as unconditional love, acceptance of others the way they are, tolerance, being expressive, empathetic, caring, passionate, excitable, or being at peace with life the way it currently is. I’ve recently became observant of this issue within myself which resulted in the conclusions being expressed in this post.
When you’re committed to being a lifelong learner, you’re highly motivated, and you’re taking action to create the life you want you’re going to develop a higher level of intelligence through exposing yourself to new information and creating new experiences. To be frank, you will most likely become smarter than the average people you encounter on a daily basis the same way a bodybuilder becomes exponentially stronger than the average person. It’s a simple cause and effect relationship.
When you’ve put in the time to develop your intellect over many years, you distance yourself from a time where you did not posses that level of intelligence, and eventually it becomes difficult to identify with people who haven’t invested in strengthening their minds. The harder it is to identify with someone, the more difficult it becomes to express emotion towards them. You will see the mess they’ve made of their lives based upon ignorance, laziness, and always doing what’s most comfortable and your impulse to lean on logic will say, it’s clearly their fault that their life has gotten this way, why should I feel pity? If they chose what I chose, valued what I value, and worked on making improvements they could turn it all around. Some of these people are twice my age, had twice the amount of time to figure it out, how can they be so blind?
This is the age of information. The only type of ignorance that exists now is willful ignorance. If you’re ignorant, it’s by choice. All of this stems from projecting my own values, beliefs, and approach to life onto everyone else and then blaming them for failing to live up to what I’ve projected onto them. Clearly this is left brain dominated thinking with the right brain put into hibernation. Imbalances need to be addressed.
Not everyone was dealt the same hand I was in life. We all have different backgrounds, experiences, opportunities, influences, resources, internal dialog, friends, family, support systems, environments, and we are all unique. These things need to be taken into consideration and when they are, the response won’t be so robotic, or harsh. You can argue that anyone from any background can rise up and achieve anything, which I believe, but not everyone has gotten to a point where they choose that, or where they come to believe in themselves. We’re all at different levels in our personal journeys and what is common sense to some is like advanced calculus to others in their current state.
That doesn’t mean they can’t change, it doesn’t mean they won’t change, it simply means that they aren’t there yet. To give them an intellectual whipping within your internal dialect won’t improve the situation. Your rational mind will scream, “but all my observations are true!” That may be so, but you can’t walk a mile in their shoes, so you can’t fully comprehend what that persons outlook and experience are truly like. The best you can do is try to play devil’s advocate and come to some sort of understanding as to why they are the way they are. Once you understand that, once you empathize and give them a chance, even though they are intellectually inferior to you, only then can you apply your own knowledge and experience in a loving manor to give advice and to be the catalyst for progressive change.
And I don’t refer to anyone as intellectually inferior in a degrading way, or to put them down. We all have strengths and weaknesses. Some of us have higher IQ’s than others. Some posses more emotional intelligence. To the best of our ability to measure these things, we can objectively say that some may be intellectually inferior to others at a given point in time that the assessment is made, on a fundamental level of measuring IQ. Again, that’s not permanent either. Intelligence comes in many forms, and can be strengthened or atrophied the same way muscles are based on use, or neglect.
I don’t feel like intellectual superiority really makes one person better than another, the same way I don’t feel like world class bodybuilders are any better people than the average person. Our goal isn’t to compare ourselves to one another or try to rationalize superiority. Our goal should be to create the most positive experience for ourselves and those around us in a constructive way that does not harm anyone else in the process of creating what is positive for ourselves. If you believe that more intellect will lead to that place, then by all means, do what you can to gain it. If you can find happiness and contribution to the world by keeping things simple and not investing countless hours into saturating your mind with information then that in itself is genius.
Going back to the initial point, what good is your intelligence if it’s used destructively to put someone down, when it could, and should be used in a way to help elevate others? When you’re out of balance you’re not capable of reaching this conclusion. You have to begin to build up your right brain, focus on doing things that are creative, expressive, artistic, musical, social, compassionate, things that there aren’t always a rational reason for doing! Volunteer, help those less fortunate, give something back and contribute to those who have nothing to offer you in return. This will help awaken those right brain qualities and you can commit to becoming a more whole and balanced individual.
At that point you can give up the obsessive drive to constantly reach the next level, never being satisfied where you’re at, always looking at those who are further ahead, and trying to catch up, and finally turn and face the other direction, where a much larger number of people have everything to gain from what you’ve already accomplished and what you have to contribute. Logic and action (skull and bones), lacking emotion and compassion creates many of the issues we see in the world today. The key to unity is balance.
So take the time to do a little self assessment and try to identify the areas in which you are out of balance, out of alignment. If you, like me, are hyper logical then maybe it’s time to correct the imbalance and schedule activities throughout your day that you strictly do for the enjoyment of those activities. There doesn’t have to be an outcome you’re chasing, and they don’t have to necessarily be an action that directly correlates to a purpose in your life. Doing for enjoyment of the action itself has to be enough of a reason, especially when those actions feel good.
Find a way to correct your imbalances and approach life from a more centered place within yourself. This alone will bring you peace and take your relationships to another level. By doing so you will begin to offer more value to those around you and the contribution can bring a level of satisfaction your right-brain-neglecting way of life has failed to provide.
Thanks for reading and don’t hesitate to provide your input in the comments below.
For more on a similar topic check out Identity and How it May Impose Limitations.