Today was a good day. While I don’t usually characterize my days as good or bad, I must say that today was the exception to the rule. I guess part of the reason I had a good day was the fact that I had a pretty good weekend. Traveled a few thousand miles back to the South and had a random adventure in the urban section of Atlanta with a friend and some others. Witnessed an altercation that could have quickly turned into a fight and did some advocating and mediation that actually had some positive results. But I digress. Today I got a chance to spend some time with a friend I hadn’t seen in a while and I really enjoyed it. As I grow older I have found that good conversation is a luxury that is often disregarded. While there are people I talk to fairly regularly and keep in touch with through phone calls or texts, there’s no substitute for a genuine human face to face interaction with someone I enjoy talking to. It’s a great feeling to have an intelligent conversation without constantly backtracking and feeling like you may be offending the other person and that they don’t understand where you’re coming from. It was also great seeing a familiar face because that rarely happens unless I travel a significant distance. I personally enjoy good conversations because they can be so enlightening and helpful. Those kind of conversations are even better when you have rapport with the person and there are mutual interests and a history of shared experiences. Those are the conversations that keep you awake, alert, and engaged despite just finishing your 12 hour shift and being beyond exhausted. Yup, it was a good day.
I love this humorous yet somewhat true description of introverts. Granted it’s not all encompassing, we all know someone who fits at least one of the descriptors. I’m pretty introverted for the most part. Surprisingly, I actually like speaking in front of people and doing presentations. I’m a behind-the-scenes sort of person and I don’t seek out the spotlight. However, if the spotlight shines on me, I’m usually prepared and ready. I honestly can’t stand meaningless conversations. I feel as if they’re a waste of my time and energy but I have them on a regular basis because despite the fact that I find them mundane, many times they are necessary in order to bridge the gap into more meaningful conversations. I think that the world needs a mixture of both extroverts and introverts because while those personality types can clash they can also complement each other. A quiet person with a loud person can be a great combination because they won’t try to out-talk each other.
I really really like smart people. In the world that we live in, individuality is said to be celebrated and appreciated. However, we still (and maybe unknowingly) look down on or despise people who do not fit into our molds of what they should be like. History tells us that the people who accomplish the most and succeeded tend to be those who think outside the box and aren’t afraid to challenge the social and societal norms of their time. So many people are taught to fit in from an early age. They are encouraged to do well in school, get along with their peers, graduate from a decent college after wasting freshman year partying, find a good job, marry, work some more, and die. I have witness so many older adults approaching 20-somethings and asking them if they in school and if not, they are somehow wasting their lives away. While I can’t image my life without a significant amount of stress about my education and schoolwork, I recognize that the traditional route isn’t for everyone and in reality, it shouldn’t be. Over the past few weeks, I have had the opportunity to listen to people who are extremely intelligent. But in addition to being intelligent, they are able to convey their thoughts and ideas in a way that is extremely clear. While these individuals may not have degrees, they have adopted the mindset of being a lifelong learner. While I try not to divide the people I know into categories based on my perceptions of their intelligence, I have learned that you can’t have all conversations with all people. It just doesn’t work out that way. It’s extremely hard, if not impossible to have a conversation with someone about a topic that they know absolutely nothing about. This doesn’t mean that they’re not intelligent, it just means that they have a different point of reference. The deer in the headlights look in the middle of a conversation is usually a hint to change the topic. This is the point in my post where I insert some inspirational quote about eagles not hanging with chickens. To be clear, I think that we can learn a lot from the people around us. However, you won’t ever stretch your mind if you’re the smartest person in your group of friends and you know it. People who know what they are talking about and are aware of the world around them are more sought out than those who don’t. Point blank. Find someone smarter than you and be their friend. You’ll learn a lot.