The Learning Moment

“Intelligence is the ability to adapt to change.” –Stephen Hawking


Have you ever been in class and somebody continues to answer all of the questions. When you finally get the chance to prove your intelligence to your teacher, you mess up. You answer the question wrong. Your classmate’s eyes are practically burning a hole in your head and you almost hear the judgment ringing in your ears. That one question does not determine your intelligence, but it’s whether or not you take that moment and learn from it.

This is what I like to call the learning moment. Many people, including Albert Einstein, know this moment well. This is a moment in time where you take the silent criticism and deadly stares, and turn them into a time when you focus, rewire your mind to the correct answer, and find how it works.

Like many “smart” students I am expected to do extremely well in school and to help academically less fortunate kids. Though I find one young lady in my graduating class to be quite inspiring. This young lady is considered “dumb” and “clueless,” though she is currently enrolled in all college level classes. People judge her intelligence, yet she is unaffected by the useless opinions and carries on like nobody ever saw her make a mistake. I often ask myself, why? It’s because she is not a normal 16 year old girl that goes to school; she is a learner, critical thinker, and a genius. Though she may not see it yet, someday she can reach her full potential and become the next academic hero this world needs.

Jonah Lehrer wrote an article for The New Yorker called,”Why Smart People Are Stupid.” In this article Lehrer mentions a question that he asks people in his town. Lehrer shows that most people,” responded quickly and confidently,” then goes on to prove the confident people wrong. Jonah Lehrer believes that people are either “smart” or “dumb.” Though he makes a good point with his question, he fails to realize that most of those people that he asked had gone home and instead of accepting the fact that they were wrong, took that trick question and created their own.

The reason why most people believe that there is a social class like difference between “smart” and “stupid,” is because 7 in 10 people believe they are not good enough or don’t measure up in some way, if you aren’t confident in yourself how do you expect people to be confident in you and your mental abilities. How are you supposed to believe in your abilities if you can’t first learn that you can do anything you want to.

Virginia Castiglione wrote an article called, “ One Day You’ll Wake Up and Realize You’re Not Smart Enough,” on ThoughtCatalog. Her article’s point was that people can have brains,but heart is more important. I say, why can’t we have brains and heart? Castiglione assumes that having brains is a set IQ score and that’s how smart you are until you are deceased. But, we can increase our intelligence and help people, which is having “brains” and having “heart.” This way in the end we can have increased our self-esteem and the self-esteem of the people around us.

IQ quizzes are just limiting tests that are supposed to put you in a group that lets you know that, “you can only be this good.” They make you see who is better than you so that you have lower self-esteem and you constantly measure yourself to them. All IQ points do is kick dirt in your eye when you work hard and feed you with a golden spoon when you don’t deserve it.

When the final bell rings and the lessons of the day have been taught, look back and take every wrong as a new chance and every right as a routine. I challenge you to take every wrong answer and turn it into a right opportunity, and maybe someday we can be like that young lady who has the mindset of an revolutionary.

12 thoughts on “The Learning Moment

  1. Wow I really enjoyed this read. I liked the quote from Hawking-very appropriate. I think if you live this way and turn every wrong into a chance to grow then you more mature than your years. The older I get the more I realize what I don’t know. Excellent read.


  2. So cool! Glad you are sharing about this issue. I am often really anxious about my work until I realize that it’s a fear of failure that is holding me back (This is also related to imposter syndrome which is a real thing for lots of people).

    I try two things to calm down. The first is that I remind myself that in the tech industry the goal is to fail quickly and learn from those failures. So I fit in! The second is to remind myself that one of my strengths is learning and that every failure is an opportunity to learn – or as Temple Grandin it’s a new door to walk through!


  3. Yes! You chose an excellent topic that is being discussed by a lot of teachers, principals, and leaders right now in education. The idea of a ‘growth’ versus ‘fixed’ mindset was pioneered by Carol Dweck, who wrote the book “Mindset”. Encourage your teachers to try a few lessons from where a research group from Stanford has made some lessons to help teach kids the importance of learning from your mistakes (not being afraid to make them in the first place).

    I also really like this graphic about the difference between a fixed versus growth mindset:

    Share this with your friends, your family, and your teachers. Take the lead on this and don’t hesitate to ask for help! You can take this idea and make some positive changes! Oh, and this was a well written blog post!


  4. This is WONDERFUL! You speak of emotional intelligence in a very insightful way. I’ve always told my students that the smartest people are the ones who know they don’t know everything and who constantly strive to know more. I think it’s incredible that you are able to sift through the other junk and recognize genius in your fellow classmate. That is a sign of unbelievable character, a gift that you possess that is far more important than IQ.


  5. Yo, this is ya boi Will, and I have to congratulate you on this op ed. I agree with your side of the argument because I have been that person many times and completely agree.

    Jordan, bro since i know the perspective of the student and understand the higher meaning in your writing i can’t help but to ask the question, Why did you make this your op ed topic because it is great.

    keep up the good work and remember be dumb and confident…….


  6. When i was reading this, after every sentence, i would smile and feel a drop in my stomach, cause this story freaking spoke to me man! The flow of it and the message i got from reading it was amazing, it was like the first time i had meatloaf! This inspired me to not only try my hardest for now on but to try and over come my challenges to help those in need. Way to go man


  7. Growth mindset is something that should be treasured and respected! As someone who is so darn afraid to fail, this is the kind of mindset that I am trying to develop myself. I am a project in the works.


  8. I agree with you because you can look at someone and easily judge them from the way they look but once you interact with that person, your perspective can change. This reminds of spongebob when Neptune refused spongebob of pulling the spatula out of the hole but he did. Like the ted talk we have to be growth minded.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s