NB : This is a post I wrote in Feb but guess I wasn’t ready to post, well sorry old version of me…its going!! 🙂
‘Stop being so sensitive!’
This is one of the most debilitating things that people have said to me.
I often feel ‘too much’ especially for people in England.
Growing up, along side this sense of being ‘too much’ I was often called arrogant which I began to hate especially as I realised that there was much truth in the accusation.
5 years ago I found the most important talk that gave me a simple, idea, question and focus to work on to make sure that I was engaging with my arrogance as often as possible, This idea is vulnerability, described beautifully by Brene Brown.
When I realised that for me that the answer to my arrogance was vulnerability and that vulnerability leads to feelings, not all of which are desirable but all important. I began to view my sensitive side in a different light. From this place I started to create things like this track, tears of the strong.
Around this time I also had an amazing girlfriend who taught me a great deal about the beauty and importance of being sensitive, from teaching me to notice the different kinds of bubbles in sparkling wine as it rolled over my tongue to watching how she noticed, felt and dealt with the tiniest of insects.
I have also noticed that the 5 most deeply creative people that I know are all deeply emotional and sensitive and in many cases to senses like touch, light and audio.
The Question came to my mind recently, ‘Is sensitivity synonymous with Intelligence’?
(physiology) The ability of the cell to receive and respond to a stimulus.
Ken Robinson’s book ‘The element’ discusses intelligence and talks about the different Senses.
He quite rightly helps us reframe our questions from ‘Am I Intelligent’ to ‘In what way am I intelligent’ which exhibits a better appreciation for the multi-dimensional facets of intelligence. And points to the holistic understanding of its application in asking ‘ Can I deal effectively with my situation?’
We know our phones are getting much ‘cleverer’ because they are able to sense and analyse complex sensory data, visual, auditory social and geographical amongst much else.
Any connoisseur or expert demonstrates their speciality often not just through knowledge but also though an unusual ability to pay attention to the intricacies of their subject and in many cases to create something unique.
Children with autism often have to cover their ears as some experience sensory inputs
For example a wine lover can tell many different layers within a wine showing complex understanding of fruit, age, storage and timings. An exceptional dancer differentiates themselves from an average dancer through their control and precision which requires great power and strength.
I know very many genius people who the world would consider the pathological definition of irritable to apply ‘undue susceptibility to the influence of a stimulus.’
My question is who gets to decide what an ‘undue’ response is.
Whilst I have met a very many sensitive intelligent people I am yet to meet a numb, unreactive person who I feel exhibits the capacity for intelligent responses to complex scenarios.
Therefore it leads me again to the question
Is intelligence synonymous with the term sensitivity?
There are great many differences in peoples understandings of intelligence http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intelligence although all point in some way to an overall ability to manage ones situation
This is also demonstrated in Nassim Taleb’s work on Anti-fragility http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antifragile where he talks about the acute difference between things that have a concave or convex response to volatility.
Taking one day at a time.
Learning skills not tasks, so for example learning to articulate your real feelings rather than learning a quote from someone else about the analysis of their feelings.
Thinking for ourselves, trusting the rules less.
In my speed awareness course (Whoops) we were asked to grade ourselves out of 10 as a driver and raised my hand and said that honestly I feel I go from a 3 to an 8 purely dependant on my aggregate ability to attend to the task at hand. In this way I think I was saying my level of driving intelligence fluctuates dramatically based on my ability to attend to it.
On the basis our intelligence is a moving target the question ‘Am I intelligent?’ is completely inadequate.
I prefer the question ‘ In what conditions and contexts can I perform most intelligently?’
What if the goal of education was to help students to embrace their sensitivities and to build upon them?
In what environment am I likely to fulfil my capacity to love and contribute the best I can offer?
I think there is a bell curve where the level of sensors becomes too great either for our other sensors or indeed for our context, eg those around us. The first is a problem but the second you can find others in your hyper sensitive tribe.
My IQ relates to verbal reasoning and mental arithmetic which I describe as real-time thinking. I can talk at the same rate to which I think which I believe to be a blessing.
Through two conversations on Thursday night with friends donovan and holly I realised that all this time my ‘specialist subject’ that I am attempting to train for is volatility in the words of Nassim Taleb. I am always trying learn by doing a bit in new concepts and areas all the time and I want to be the best prepared to act when nobody else can, because it is what I have trained for.
I have done many talks and youtube videos http://youtube.com/daveerasmus but I always do hard, fresh content, never want to repeat myself in business, music, or conversation. this is a problem as people only really get paid and praised when they get good at something and specialise.
When I mix my natural intelligences, experiences and desire to stay close to a lifestyle of vulnerability the only thing I can think of is facilitating and experience where we are all locked in for a period of time and together, in the room discuss and experience whatever feels most real, no plan or preparation, just a desire to experience something real and honouring, to go deeper and connect. I would be limited only by my experience and skills so probably using dance and music to try and illustrate points that I am trying make as they are the tools I can use.
This, to me is SCARY AS SHIT – I can be seen as arrogrant and cultish, self important and pompass.
Also people may not enjoy it or understand it as I have no precedent for it. There is nowhere to hide. This is what feels vulnerable, this feels like something only I would do and it feels like the best use of my Sensitivities.