Creative Commons License photo credit: swambo
This is actually the fourth article so far in a series of articles that began with The Courage to Dream. The impetus behind this article series is a powerful quote by Sidney A. Friedman that I’m using as a framework to show you exactly how you can achieve anything you want in life.

“You can achieve anything you want in life if you have the courage to dream it, the intelligence to make a realistic plan, and the will to see that plan through to the end.”

– Sidney A. Friedman

While some people seem to hit upon success out of what appears to be dumb luck more often then not achieving what you want in life requires a certain degree of intelligence. Particularly if you want to achieve anything beyond what society is geared to deliver. You know, the 9 – 5 job, a partner (possibly divorced), 2.3 children, a mortgaged home and a bunch of material things you don’t need.

I know those things are hard enough to achieve in and of themselves. However, to go beyond them, to break out of the mold and do your own thing, to live your own unique dreams, requires more. Firstly it requires The Courage to Dream. It also requires intelligence. What though is intelligence?

“The most intelligent thing you can possibly do with your life is grow.”

– Steve Pavlina

Intelligence can broadly be defined as the ability to comprehend, to understand and profit from experience. To be intelligent is to be able to understand, learn from and adapt to our environment. To be intelligent is to be able to change in response to experience. This means we must be able to let go of, or at least expand upon, our past beliefs and ideas in the face of new information from our environment. We must grow.

The word “intelligence” comes from the root word “intelligo” which means, “to select among”. Thus to be intelligent also means to be able to select among choices within the quantum field of possibility, even discontinuous choices. The difference between an intelligent human being and an animal is that animal’s act out of instinct, which is the product of conditioning. Humans have the potential for true creative intelligence.

To achieve what you want in life you quite simply must grow. To do that, as we have established, requires intelligence. Why must we grow to achieve what we want in life? What we have achieved to date is the product of who we currently are. If you wish to achieve greater things then you must grow to become the person to whom such great things belong.

“I’ve always felt that a person’s intelligence is directly reflected by the number of conflicting points of view he can entertain simultaneously on the same topic.”

– Abigail Adams

We have defined intelligence, examined what it means to be intelligent, and how our intelligence aids us in achieving what we want in life. Next we will take a look at how we can become more intelligent. You don’t want to miss that article.

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