Affordable Assumptions

It’s been said that the human brain remembers everything that has ever happened. While many times we may not consciously remember certain events, our brain can remember on a subconscious level. One thing that has always interested me is how certain things such as songs or smells can immediately made us think about an experience whether good or bad that we have associated with said song or smell. While this can bring back happy memories, for some it’s the start of a flashback of a traumatic event. In a similar way to how smells or songs bring back memories and transport our minds back to certain events, people can be a similar trigger. There are certain people who we are familiar with who we see again after a long period of time and instantly we remember our last interaction with them. The feelings and emotions surrounding that interaction also comes to the forefront of our mind–all from seeing the person or even seeing a picture of them. This experience can also affect our actions to those around us because we become caught up in our own memories to the point that it informs our present behavior. If it’s a pleasant memory, we may find ourselves responding more positively or genuinely to others who have had some part to play in the experience of the past. Many times, this can happen without a conscious thought because our brain hasn’t forgotten these moments. It’s in these moments where we sometimes create assumptions about someone that may or may not be true. These assumptions are rooted in our previous experiences with them even though it may have been years since we’ve seen them face to face. It’s my opinion that these assumptions can sometimes prove detrimental because we are operating off of previous memories, feelings, and emotions. One example of this is someone who takes back their ex-significant other because they remember all the good times they had and their selective memory blocks out the behaviors that made them leave him or her in the first place. The truth of the matter is that we can’t always afford to make these assumptions. While it’s indeed nice to associate a pleasant memory with a person we have to take into account that people change and also realize that we might have changed as well. Sometimes assumptions aren’t affordable because they leave us too exposed vulnerable to people who may not be exactly who we remember them to be. It’s a tough lesson to learn because it can be extremely hard to challenge the good memories you’ve had with someone with the new reality of who they are.

Finding Smart People

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.