“Poor minds talk about people. Average minds talk about events. Great minds talk about ideas.” –Eleanor Roosevelt
Last day of June and I’ve finally come up with something that I wanted to talk about that wasn’t about politics or an event I’ve been to (which I find can be tedious and boring after a while). I sat down to do a journal entry (which I also haven’t done in a while) when this idea came to me. Upon reading the former first lady’s quote several weeks ago I began to take careful notice of my conversations with and between my peers. It seems that the closer you are to a person, the more likely you are to share an idea. The further you are from a person, the more the conversation becomes average then tips over into the poor category.
As a rule, I avoid talking about people whenever possible simply because something obscene may be said about that person and if they’re not there to hear it, then it’s just not funny. I have noticed that when I do, it’s because i really want to talk to the person I’m talking to, but can’t really think of anything more interesting than, “So, how’s so-and-so doing?” Really, the only reason I even ask is out of hopes that that monotonous conversation will lead to something more interesting. Essentially, I find things that I do and think interesting. I’m sure others find the things that they do and think interesting as well. My goal is to find out what those things are. And more importantly, I want to know what people think about those things.
Really, unless you have a poor mind, you find ideas interesting. Ideas are where change comes from. So why do we only share them with certain people?
During one of my classes we had a theater teacher come in and do some exercises with us. One of my favorite was story builder. (I know. Shock right?) The point of the game was for all of us to build a story together. We did this by sitting in a circle and each person taking a turn to say one word. This proved to be far easier said than done. I don’t believe we got through a whole paragraph. People kept stalling and getting stuck while trying to think up a word.
Seems silly right? But here’s what the professor observed. Adults are too self-conscious about what we do around our peers, self-conscious to the point of not wanting to seem stupid while doing a simple exercise. The professor (whose name escapes me) has done this exercise with children. Naturally, they were able to just fly through the story without any pauses. Why?
Because their goal is to hear the story.
I found that during the exercise I was more focused on being witty, crafty, or original that even had we managed to get two sentences in, I would have lost the plot of the story entirely. Shame.
It seems to be the same as when a student has a really smart student. Eventually, that student may dumb him/herself down to not seem too far ahead of the rest of the class, thus attracting the wrong kind of attention that being, “Oh my God, you’re soooo smart!” or, “Oh my God, you’re such a dork.”
It seems there has to be a level of trust in order for us to share an idea which we equate to exposing ourselves to ridicule. Afterall, having an idea kind of assumes you have a strong knowledge of something that no one else has, thus making you smarter. (…I guess). I have taken a leap of faith and talked about some ideas I have about education, writing, or whatever else. It’s kind of a hit and miss situation. The person I’m talking to will either respond with some kind of interest or offering of feedback or their own idea (which I prefer). Or they’ll say nothing beyond, “Oh. that’s sound like a cool idea,” at which point the conversation is effectively over.
I love TED Talks. People from all over the world get together at a conference and talk about their ideas. When I first heard of TED Talks, I thought it was only for techs. But no, EVERYONE shares ideas here on this forum. And it is massive. But the ideas are often simple, common sense ideas that when you watch it you think, “Why have I never thought of this before?” One of my favorite is a video where Joshua Foer talks about the memory and how to train yourself to remember anything.
Another is a talk by Sir Ken Robinson on education.
The moral of this story, you have a great mind, exercise it by sharing ideas.