Raw IQ is a wonderful thing… but unrewarded genius is legendary, and life management skills, rational thinking (often called critical thinking), and shear brain power are three very different cognitive abilities. While intelligence is mainly fixed at birth, life management skills and critical thinking ability are learned, the result of the focusing and harnessing of intelligence. The DESIRE to learn such vital coping skills is much more crucial a factor in success than your IQ.

For Life Management Skills, I highly recommend Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People (What and Why) and Tony Robbins’ Awaken the Giant Within and Unlimited Power (The Techniques of How) along with Getting to Yes by Roger Fisher.

“Critical Thinking” is the ability to analyze situations and problems, break them down into their components, find and implement solutions. It includes the ability to handle Complexity across Extended Time Frames i.e. when one “most important thing” variable is identified and take care of, the next most important thing bubbles up to the top and must be dealt with in turn, plus the “Law of Unintended Consequences” is always in play. 

Remember! When attempting create change, it is better to “Remove Restraining Forces” than to “Increase Driving Forces”. If you can remove restraining forces by satisfying whatever issues cause them to be in opposition, hopefully it is a permanent solution. If you “solve” a problem by increasing driving forces, the situation may reoccur the moment you relax your driving forces i.e. “A man convinced against his will is of the same opinion still.”

The ability to handle complexity involves juggling a multitude of variables, understanding how they interact and impact each other, how different factors can vary in importance at various stages in the process, sort the wheat from the chaff, focus on the “Big Rocks” (the most critical variables), practice Triage with resources including time, emotional energy, money etc. all in pursuit of a difficult goal(s) and potentially moving target(s) in a fluid environment. At higher levels, it includes the ability to anticipate future consequences, comprehend feedback loops, and understand group dynamics, organizational behavior, systems theory and EQ (being aware of and understanding one’s own and others’ emotions). 

Closing Quotes:

“Knowing a great deal is not the same as being smart; intelligence is not information alone but also judgment, the manner in which information is collected and used.” – Carl Sagan, 1934-1996

“No way of thinking or doing, however ancient, can be trusted without proof.” – Henry David Thoreau, ‘Walden’, 1817-1862 (Tuberculosis)   

“Reason obeys itself: ignorance submits to what is dictated to it.” – Thomas Paine, ‘Common Sense’, 1737-1809, Founding Father

As always, I share what I most want/need to learn. – Nathan S. Collier