Inner Glow is largely dependent upon a woman’s intelligence. ~John Robert Powers, Secrets of Poise, Personality, and Model Beauty, 1960.
I’ll admit it right here: I have zero interest in shallow and vacuous people despite the constant barrage by the media and entertainment industry thrusting these type of people into the spotlight for us to worship. I much prefer hanging around people who have developed (and are still developing) the depth and breadth of their mind.
Here are some tips for intellectual development that will ensure that people will find you fascinating:
- Be very discerning about what you allow into your mind. If you only feed yourself intellectual junk food, in 140 characters or less, so to speak, then only junk will come back out during conversations.
- Stop getting your news from television and personality-focused sources. Read about current events from a variety of sources across the political spectrum–preferably in a print format that delves deeply into the topic (new research shows that print newspaper readers retain more information than online news readers). As you are reading, ask yourself: Who will benefit if I believe this version of the story? In this age of confrontational journalism it is more important than ever to have strong critical analysis muscles.
Read “The Classics.” Remember those books you were supposed to read in high school and college but didn’t? Raise your hand if you wrote any of your essays based on Cliff’s Notes “study guides.” I can’t deny that I didn’t, um, rely (yeah, that’s what we’ll call it) on the information from those study guides. But as I became older I realized how beneficial it would have been to actually have read those books and started reading them. Almost every public library has them available for loan. What is great about living in the 21st Century is that The Classics doesn’t have to consist of what is derisively called “The 100 Dead White Males” reading list. Do an online search of reading lists and find one that interests you and methodically go through it (Click here for a list of the Great Books curriculum). I found that I was able to digest and understand the reading as an adult better than I could as a teenager. That is not to say that I’ve enjoyed them all but they have given me a greater understanding of our culture, other people’s cultures, and what makes people tick.
- Stop saying you hate math or can’t do math or any variations on that theme. Yes you can. You use it all of the time without even realizing it. A great misdeed done to women is the perpetual myth that they can’t do math. What about research that says that boys are better? Bunch of hooey that the media jumped on. Yes our brains are wired a bit differently but that just means we all come into math (and every day) problems from different directions–but schools generally teach how to solve problems from two or three (if that many) directions because that is how it will show up on those dang-blasted high-stakes tests. If a person doesn’t understand how to come to a problem from that tested direction, they are labeled a “failure.” This is a load of horse-pucky and one of the reasons I became an educational psychologist. We all come to learning from different directions and we can all do math. So there.
- Develop a hobby and become an expert in it. We used to call these avocations. You might be surprised where your avocation leads you and it provides a nice counterbalance to your vocation.
- Exercise your body. Your brain and mind work better when your body is healthier. And here’s an important fact: Exercise is an effective non-medical treatment for mild to moderate depression. When you exercise your body, it creates the chemicals your brain and body needs to thrive.
Mr. Powers concludes his exhortation to develop our minds by saying,
It may be excusable for a very young girl to be lacking in beauty and charm. She has not yet had time to develop her intelligence sufficiently to learn how to take advantage of her opportunities. But there is no excuse for a grown woman to be lacking in the Inner and Outer Glows. If she is, it can only be because she is not applying her thinking power to her self-development.
When I was growing up, a common myth was that men don’t like smart women. Well trust me, they do. And women do, too.
Are there any suggestions that I forgot?
To your fabulous Technicolor life!
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