Page 2 of 23

Robert Sterberg’s triarchic theory of intelligence suggests that intelligence exists across a spectrum which involves three distinct forms: analytical intelligence, practical intelligence and creative intelligence.

Analytical intelligence is what we typically associate with ‘smart’ people. It’s book smarts. Specifically, it’s the ability to understand, recall and develop ideas which aid in problem solving and decision making.

Practical intelligence is all about how we interact with our environment. How to we change ourselves to suit it, and how to we change our environment to suit us? Practically intelligent people are excellent lifestyle designers.

Finally, creative intelligence is about extending beyond analytical ideas and into the generation of ideas which react effectively to new situations. People with high creative intelligence are those who are comfortable developing new approaches to problems which may not always align with conventional thinking.

Each of these forms are multiplied by one another. If we excel in one but are deficient in another, our overall intelligence still suffers.

If we’re honest with ourselves, can we spot our weakest link?

How much could we be benefit from focussing on improving it?

There’s a lot of research which suggests that we can foster any one of these forms with a bit of dedicated practice.

If that’s important to you, find your weak spot and begin building a habit.

Don’t wait.

Start now.

We don’t run out of time, we simply fail to seize enough of it.

That big project you’ve been meaning to get around to for weeks isn’t finished for one of two reasons:

Either It’s not as important as you think it is;

Or you’re scared.

Both are entirely valid, but it’s important to know the difference.

If it’s not that important, kill it. Then find something that is.

But if you’re scared… It’s probably an indicator that you’re onto something special.

You’ll never be rid of the the fear involved with doing important things. But you can dance with it.

Thank it for turning up. Be grateful that it’s alerted you to the importance of the task at hand. Then send it on it’s way.

You’ve got more time than you think you do.

Get to work.

It’s a mild, cloudy afternoon. You’re on a bush trail and the earth is dry beneath you. All of a sudden, you feel a drop. Then another. The sky slides open to release a fine drizzle and the raindrops make soggy little craters in the soil.

What can you smell?

Imagine it for a moment. Can you smell that delightful, wet, earthy aroma?

That scent, which is always present when rain falls on dry soil, is called petrichor.

The word was coined in 1964 by Australian Scientists and originates from the Greek words petra, which means “stone”, and īchōr, the fluid which pulsates through the veins of the Gods.

Next time petrichor hits you remember that, like most things, it has a name.

Excellent words are worth remembering.

The act of putting things off is how we the waste the most time. What’s worse is that we rarely even do so deliberately.

Unconscious procrastination is perhaps even more poisonous than the conscious, conservative kind.

Too many young people find hilarity in the fact that our parents’ generation worked themselves to the bone for fifty years, all for the sake of a handful of holidays spent limping between Balinese pubs and war memorials. While unbeknownst to us, as the un-retired amongst our parents sacrifice their present for a luscious, expected future they aren’t guaranteed, we let our present dwiddle away before our eyes in an even more insidious way.

Glowing screens snatch our attention involuntarily, as if not by choice but by instinct, and the time we have left is often spent curating the next thing we’ll contribute to the very ocean of content we ourselves are drowning in.

At least they know what they’re giving away.

Death is an uncomfortable, turbulent, messy part of life.

Most of all because the toll greif takes is insensitively personal. It’s an isolating experience like no other, which sometimes prompts us to reach out.

And we ought to reach out. Because community is the antidote to most feelings of isolation.

What’s important to consider are the channels through which we seek that community.

Some of our channels limit our ability to connect earnestly, honestly, and with respect.

Seeking support in these places can be a demoralising way to realise that life goes on and not as many people care as perhaps it feels like they should.

If you’re in need, find a friend and share the same air for a while. Each second will be worth a thousand shallow likes.

Laws are the things that govern what we are and aren’t allowed to do.

They’re not voluntary.

Rules are conditions we agree to abide by when we opt into a game.

They are voluntary.

Sometimes, the rules we sign up for aren’t explained to us explicitly.

Some kids, for example, feel as though they must go to university once they finish high school. They’ve opted into this belief to such an extent that no other options feel valid.

Where there are rules, there are penalties for breaking them.

But unlike laws, we get to choose which rules we want to be governed by.

If the games you’re playing involve rules that don’t suit you, play another game.

While driving my Nonno home from my young cousin’s birthday party tonight, he burst into laughter.

“It’s funny. When I was growing up. 1940. After the war, there was not enough to eat.”

His Italian accent is thick and his English is sometimes broken, but he makes do.

“We were 7 kids. My father was a blacksmith. We eat vegetables, much cheaper.”

He’s laughing, but it’s clear that life in 1940s Italy involved a lot of pain.

“We were very lucky. Not enough food, lots of people died. Our neighbours, some people couldn’t get enough food.”

He goes on to describe the standard meals his family would share every week; fish soup on Fridays; tomato soup on Saturday; a slice each of off-cut meat on Sundays.

I’ve always found the way he eats peculiar. Each day of the week involves a different type of dish with mild variation, and every week the cycle repeats itself.

“But I never liked pasta and beans. Always we had pasta and beans and I never liked. My father, one day he said, when I didn’t eat the pasta and beans for lunch he said, ‘That’s okay, if you don’t want to eat, don’t eat.’ Then he locked away the bread and said I not eat anything else until I eat the pasta.”

He repeats this part a few times, explaining that each child had their likes and dislikes, but that there was never enough food to begin worrying about what people liked and didn’t like. If you didn’t like a meal, you just didn’t eat.

On the day he refused to eat his pasta and beans, he caved before the day was done. Wincing in disgust, he describes eating the bean pasta, cold and stuck together.

“No refrigerator, no microwave, just sat on a shelf. But I was so hungry.”

It dawns on me why he so naturally avoids waste.

We sit in silence for a few seconds before he clears his throat.

“As a father, a grandfather, I agree with my father now. One person working and 7 kids, not enough to be picky. But at the time… I hated him.”

He bursts out into another fit of laughter. I join him.

“And now, we have so much food.”

He’s laughing almost uncontrollably.

“We have too much food to eat. If you eat all the food you get sick.”

He catches his breath and looks out the window as we drive past a well lit Nandos.

“What a strange world.”

What a strange world indeed.

How is it that we can be both our most and least comfortable while entirely alone? There is peace in isolation, but also vulnerability.

We need it. It’s essential. Without isolation, reflection is impossible. Because time spent with others is time spent wearing an assortment of masks.

We present slightly different versions of ourselves to our mothers, our bosses and our dentists. Every second spent around other people is a second spent (consciously or unconsciously) deciding how to perform.

Only isolation provides the opportunity to wrestle with ourselves. To peel back the masks we dance around in and decide which we’re willing to put back on. To ask ourselves truly: what are the masks we wear in attempt to fool ourselves?

And more importantly, how might we return to the world a little more authentic?

We’re born with talent, we develop skill and we earn opportunity.

Ability is what we get when we take advantage of all three.

To feel like we’re making ‘progress’, our abilities must be growing.

When they’re not, we start to feel stagnant – in creeps the humble dread of meaninglessness.

Shield against that. Learn to love learning. Take risks.


“If one does not know to which port one is sailing, no wind is favourable.”

– Lucius Seneca

I’m a sucker for a good quote.

I know they can be naff, and I get that the they often only seem poignant because they present broad strokes of wisdom which lack specificity or useful context.

“I have often wondered how it is that every man loves himself more than all the rest of men, but yet sets less value on his own opinion of himself than on the opinion of others.”

 – Marcus Aurelius, Meditations

… However, I genuinely do believe that there’s something special about a little perspective altering nugget of wisdom.

My vague quote poison of choice is stoic philosophers – namely Marcus Aurelius and Lucius Seneca.

“The impediment to action advances action. What stands in the way becomes the way.”

 – Marcus Aurelius, Meditations

I’ve written about them before, and I’ll likely do it again. So rather than dive too deeply into why I think these are valuable, I’ll leave you to decide whether they belong on a weeties box, on your facebook wall or etched gently on the inside of your skull for future pondering.

“We are more often frightened than hurt; and we suffer more from imagination than from reality.”

– Lucius Seneca