Pursue education in your PJs

YouTube is awesome! I have learned useful techniques from cooking to crochet, and from sprouting to software use. Most recently I learned how to replace Windows 10 with Linux Mint on my new laptop and what to do after that. Sometimes I want to learn something in a lot more depth.

A friend told me about Courseara and later I discovered that my local library provides Lynda.com to its members. There are a few others that I’ve explored as well. Some have a wider variety of courses and others offer a more specialized selection. Some sites offer courses for free and only charge for a certificate of completion. That works for me since I’m interested in the content, not the paper proof. Some are not free but still budget-friendly.

  • Courseara is available both through a browser and mobile apps. Most of the courses are free if you don’t require a certificate. It offers courses in the following categories: Business, Information Technology, Data Science, Computer Science, Personal Development, Language Learning, Arts and Humanities, Social Sciences, Physical Science and Engineering, Math and Logic and Health. Some courses are part of “collections” where you would want to take them in the recommended order. I’ve taken the four “Think Again” courses.
  • Khan Academy is designed for elementary and high school students, including Advanced Placement (AP) courses. It also offers material to help students prepare for SAT, LSAT, MCAT and several other tests. The categories of courses include: Math, Science, Economics and Finance, Arts and Humanities, and Computing. Another neat feature is their “Partner Content” from various museums and other institutions. Not only young people but adults who want to refresh skills learned in school or explore what their children or grandchildren are learning can benefit. I used it to review Algebra and plan to explore history next.
  • EdX is a lot like Courseara but offers courses in over 30 different topics. I haven’t tried this one yet.
  • Lynda.com is a paid service available through LinkedIn and some other institutions. It is subscription-based so that you pay a monthly fee and lose your course material when you unsubscribe. It offers courses in Business and Professional Development, Web Design, Marketing and Sales, Design and Photography, and Mobile App Development. You can access it through a browser or use a mobile app.
  • Udemy is a service where you pay a one-time fee for a course and it is always yours. They claim to offer over 10,000 courses. I haven’t enrolled for any of them yet but may do so in the future. I would probably choose this service over Lynda.com if it weren’t for the fact that I get it free from my local public library. Udemy offers courses in the following categories: Software Development, Business, Finance and Accounting, IT and Software, Office Productivity, Personal Development, Design, Marketing, Lifestyle, Photography, Health and Fitness, Teaching and Academics and Music

During this isolation time are you ready to do some self-improvement?

  • Do you know about any other free MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses)? MOOCs 101
  • Have you heard of or tried any of the sites described above? If so, was it a good experience? If not, do any of them interest you?
  • Do you want to learn for fun or maybe prepare for a career change?

Quarantined at home: What to do with all that time

I am still getting used to the WordPress app. I thought that by scheduling this post, it would have been published automatically last Monday at 8 a.m. Guess I should have checked before this! I wrote this post over a week ago before we were all put in social isolation so I’ve made a few edits. The target date for things to open up again is April 1st. My guess is that we’ll still be in isolation till May 1st or longer.

I want to come out of this period feeling good about how I used my time. I don’t want to just GET through this crisis, I want to GROW through it. I don’t want to drown myself in the fear and negativity; I see this time as a gift, an opportunity to get more deeply connected to God, to myself, and to my husband.

Here is what I’m grateful for:

  • It’s not summer and so hot in the apartment that all I want to do is go to a mall or coffee shop and chill, both literally and figuratively.
  • The power’s on so I have lights, hot water, a working landline phone, and let’s not forget, the internet. After being without power for almost three days in September 2018 due to a tornado, I think I’d rather be sick with a flu for a few days and have power than to be well for three days in a blackout.
  • My family and friends are, so far, unaffected.
  • We are both retired so our income won’t be affected by not being able to go to work.
  • I have a treadmill, stretch bands, weighted balls and a variety of exercise videos so I can keep in shape at home.
  • Because we’re not eating out, I have a lot more control over my food intake so I can lose that last 5 pounds to get just under my goal weight.

I have the type of temperament that thrives on structure and planning. I would roughly sketch out a routine for the coming two solitary weeks and post it on my fridge. There needs to be an element of discipline in my life if I am to feel good at the end of each day. To achieve this during my quarantine, I would do something from my “want to” list only after I’d completed at least one household chore and one or two things on my “should do” list, depending on how long the item took. If one of the activities involved more than one hour of sitting, I’d set my timer for about 45-60 minutes then get up and move around. I wouldn’t enjoy my two weeks much if I let myself get a stiff back and neck from too much time in one position.

Since I don’t live alone, much of my time is spent doing things with my husband: watching movies, watching educational videos and playing games. While we are doing these things, I am making knitted and crocheted squares to create blankets for charity.

If I were in the situation I described in the opening of this post, the first thing I would do is make two lists. The first would be a list of the things that I needed to do or that I “should” get done now that I had all this time with no committments or demands on me. The second would be a list of all things I’ve been wanting to do but haven’t had time or made time for until now. I’d keep both lists handy and add to them as I thought of other things to add to either one.

Most of the things on both of these lists would be activities I do sitting down. Too much sitting is not good for a lot of reasons that I won’t go into here. As I mentioned above, I wouldn’t do a sedentary activity for more than one hour at a time. I would set my timer for one hour each time I started this type of task on my list. When it went off, I would get up and move around for at least 5-10 minutes. You could do some stretches or put on some music and dance – but not for more than one song unless you’re in good shape! I tried this last week for the space of three songs. I walked around for three days like a very frail 90-year-old lady. I felt all of my 62 years plus a decade more!

Between my sitting activities, I am making a conscious effort to get up, stretch and do at least one chore that involves some movement. I’m continuing my daily treadmill routine that I began in 2017. I need to make a habit of strengthening and balance exercises.

One of the things on my “should do” list would be digital de-cluttering:

  • Delete saved emails from email lists I subcribed to and never got around to actually reading; some of these have emails dating back five or more years.
  • Organize my browser bookmarks. Since I use Safari on my iPad and Firefox on my Linux laptop, that would be quite the sorting exercise, putting them into folders and deciding which ones to simply delete.
  • Detect and delete duplicate files on my external hard drive. Fortunately there are utiilities for that!

As for my “want to” list, my plan would be to do the more actively creative things during the day when I had more energy. I would listen to my body and take naps when I felt like it, even for just 20 minutes. There are creative activities I enjoyed but haven’t done in over a year; these include guitar, keyboard, virtual pottery on my iPad.. Most of my creative energy these past eight months has been devoted to writing.

I intend to devote most of my evenings to light entertainment. Apart from the evenings I spend watching movies with my husband,I have novels on my bookshelf that I bought but have not read, not to mention loads of e-books on my iPad. After 9:00, I’d be better off to shift to print books if I want to fall asleep sooner rather than toss around for an hour or more.

This is good advice that I’ve not followed so far. I’ve been getting to bed way too late so I need to get my routine back on track. I feel much better and my brain is less fogged if I get to bed around midnight and get up around 9 a.m.

Though I mention this at the end, it is the most important part of my day now. It never goes on a list any more than breathing would. It is the foundation of everything good and worthwhile in my life. I start my day with my usual hour of prayer, spiritual reading and journaling and end my day with another period of prayer. During this social isolation time, I punctuate my day with brief periods of prayer between other activities or while my husband takes a nap.

The things I miss the most are: daily Mass and spending evenings at Tim Hortons with friends., After a couple of more weeks of this isolation time, I’ll really missing the freedom to go out whenever I wanted. I’m an indoor girl so I wouldn’t miss being outdoors. I’d just miss the places I like to go, like the library, coffee shops and craft stores.

So, what about you?

  • What, if anything, are you grateful for in this challenging time?
  • Do you have any kind of structure or just do whatever comes to your mind in the moment?
  • Are you enjoying your sollitude or are you seeking any and every distraction from spending time with just your own company by spending most of your time talking on the phone, texting or browsing social media?
  • How long would it take you to get a bad case of “cabin fever”? How would you cope with it?
  • If you were to tackle a task that’s been weighing on your mind for a while, what would it be?
  • Would you do something creative? Assuming you had the necessary material at home, what would it be?
  • If you didn’t have to work and had no income concerns, would you find the prospect of being isolated at home for a month or two appealing or abhorrent? Why is that?

Writer’s Block – Is it real or an illusion?

Is “writer’s block” a real problem? Most authors of the posts I’ve come across both acknowledge it and have experienced it. Some of the authors outlined various causes, some authors suggest cures and yet others provide interesting lists of ways to generate new ideas.

While researching this article, I came across a few posts claiming that “writer’s block” was nothing more than an excuse for a lack of discipline. That seems harsh when you consider that some well-known authors such as Leo Tolstoy and Ernest Hemmingway suffered temporary lapses in their ability to write.

I’ve been maintaining a blog on writing.com since August 2019 and another on WordPress.com since January 2020. A few weeks ago I found myself unable to think of anything to write. Even before I started researching this article, I listened to my intuition and paid attention to my body. I had been going to bed very late and spending every spare minute either reading or listening to podcasts. I had exhausted myself both mentally and physically. In addition to getting to bed earlier and taking naps daily for about a week, I stopped reading non-fiction and listening to podcasts. I did a brain dump and started colouring on my iPad. It made a huge difference.

Here are a few ways I’ve seen writer’s block defined:

Writer’s block is a condition in which a writer is unable to think of what should be written next.

Mental Health Daily

Writer’s block occurs when a writer cannot write at all, when they work at a much slower pace than is usual for them or when they find it difficult and exhausting to write.

Dudley Court Press

Writer’s block is the state of mind whereby a writer loses the capacity to put words on paper.

The Latino Author.com

Although the physical rest and mental relaxation helped me to write again, I still felt stuck a week later, but for other reasons. Because the reasons were different, the remedy also needed to be different. Writer’s block is a significant problem. It has causes and there are cures. The cures most likely to be effective depend on the situation or the combination of factors that led to the block. Therefore, the path to the remedy is self-awareness.

Self-knowledge is critical. You can read 100 or more tips to cure writer’s block and the information overload could be more of a hindrance than a help. I read quite a few posts that gave lists of “cures”. I think I would have been further ahead to stop reading when I saw a suggestion that my intuition indicated would help.


Why do we embrace some beliefs and reject others?

“The truth is defined as that which corresponds with reality, It usually does not correspond with our desires and preferences. Those beliefs which we hold and cling to, regardless of whether or not they match reality, are the ones which are more appealing, more convenient, more palatable, or more popular.

It takes work to conform your beliefs to reality.

Why we care about truth —Amy K. Hall

Our culture, in the name of “tolerance” encourages us to believe illogical things such as: “there is no absolute truth”, and “truth cannot be known”. If the belief that there is no absolute truth is accurate, then anyone’s claim that there is no absolute truth is only their opinion, and a self-contradictory one at that. The statement that truth cannot be known is itself a statement that claims to be a knowable truth.

We don’t invent truth; we discover it. The process for discovering truth begins with the first principles of logic that we know intuitively. One of these principles is the law of non-contradiction; A cannot be A and non-A at the same time. For example, a cat cannot be both a cat and not a cat at the same time. Another one of these principles is the law of the excluded middle. A statement that can have a truth value is either true or false; there is no middle ground. For example: a snake is either a reptile or not a reptile; there is no other possibility.

Any claim we encounter is only worthy of belief if it points to the truth. Unfortunately, many modern beliefs are based on subjective preferences rather than on objective facts. If we genuinely desire to find the truth, we must be willing to give up our preferences in favour of facts.

Although we cannot always trust our intuition, I contend that it is a great place to start when searching for truth. Moreover, when one’s intuition is supported by a cumulative case of data, there is good reason to continue trusting intuition

The Ring of Truth —Tim Stratton

There are a lot of factors that go into the formation of a belief. When you encounter a new idea for the first time, you will either be attracted to it or you’ll be inclined to resist it. Occasionally you may withhold judgement until you research it but even then, you are predisposed to either accept it or reject it. Here are a few questions to consider when you initially encounter and react to a new idea:

  • Are you more likely to accept an unfamiliar idea if you read about it than if you hear about it from a friend?
  • Does it match with your previous learning or with your experience?
  • In the absence of related knowledge or experience, what might make the new idea appealing or at least worthy of further consideration?
  • Will embracing this idea or putting it into practice require you to exert new effort or make it necessary for you to sacrifice either comfort or convenience?

Why I ditched Windows 10 for Linux Mint

I bought a new laptop last October so I’d be ready to go online with something other than my Windows 7 laptop. I wiped off Windows 10 and replaced it with Linux Mint 19.2 and I’ve had no regrets.

As with so many other things, there are two opposite and vocal camps. There are those who think Windows 10 is the best OS ever created and there are others who want nothing to do with it. You can read what each side has to say, but sooner or later, you have to decide for yourself. After informing myself, I trusted my intuition.

I went through the same process of research and reflection when it came to the decision about whether or not to have Windows 7 and Linux on the same laptop, using a dual boot system. I found videos that claimed dual booting was trouble-free and others that advised against it. My initial instinct was to keep them separate. Since I was given an old tower in 2018 and I already had Windows 7 on my laptop, this is what I decided to do. I’m really new at this and did {u}not{/u} want any problems that I would feel completely at a loss to resolve. I liked the result so well that I was ready and willing to wipe Windows 10 when I replaced the old tower with a fairly inexpensive laptop.

A few years ago when Windows 10 was still very new, I heard a lot of negative things about it. Aside from that, I felt uncomfortable with Microsoft’s software strategies. I’m old enough to remember going from DOS to Windows 3.1. I thought I’d be OK using an OS without a GUI but I wasn’t keen on that idea. A friend told me recently that I could run a version of Linux that looked like Windows. That captured my attention! It was time to explore the Linux universe.

Here are some reasons behind my decision to reject Windows 10 and to adopt Linux. I’m not entirely abandoning the Windows OS since I still have and use my Windows 7 laptop. I just don’t go online with it.

  • Windows does a ton of stuff in the background without the user’s consent or knowledge which consumes resources and slows down your machine. Linux has nothing running in the background. Since Linux is open-source code, no viruses or malware can be hidden in it. Any bugs are detectable and get fixed by the Linux community. Most important, no “spying” software gets into your computer.
  • File management is easier and cleaner so there is no need for defragging or registry cleaning.
  • The operating system and all the apps are free, though you can give a donation if you would like. Windows 10 is likely to go the route of Office 365 and you’ll need to pay an annual subscription to use it.
  • Unlike with closed systems like Windows, malware cannot remain hidden in Linux.
  • Linux runs well on older, less powerful devices whereas the Windows OS is a real resource hog.
  • Linux does not impose updates as Microsoft does, which has caused lost data for some users.
  • Linux provides easy “one-click” software installation and removal from secure sources.
  • Since all Linux software is available online, you can’t lose it.
  • Windows does a ton of stuff in the background without the user’s consent or knowledge which consumes resources and slows down your machine. Linux has nothing running beyond the control or knowledge of the user.
  • Some of Windows 10 updates did not include a registry back-up.

Linux has so many possible options. As a user migrating from Windows, I’ve tried Linux Zorin and Linux Mint. Since Mint is more established and has a much larger user community, I decided to stick with Mint which is based on Ubuntu. Fortunately, you don’t have to make a blind “leap of faith”; you can test out your Linux “flavour of choice” by running it from a DVD or USB, leaving your Windows OS entirely untouched.

I plan to keep my Windows 7 laptop to use for my favourite Windows apps, such as my sudoku program. My iPad will continue to be my main internet device, mostly because it’s so portable and fun to use. My Linux laptop will be my “go-to” for the financial and other very personal stuff I do online.

Now that the date for Windows 7’s retirement has come and gone, what have you chosen to do?

  • Go with the majority and upgrade to Windows 10, if you’ve not already done so, discarding Windows 7
  • Avoid Windows 10 like the plague and go with Apple even though it’s quite expensive and still vulnerable to malware since it’s a “closed” system.
  • Keep Windows 7 along with some version of Linux
  • Surrender your life entirely to Linux


Have you been sucked in by pseudoscience?

Pseudoscience defined
  • a system of theories, assumptions, and methods erroneously regarded as scientific. Merriam-Webster
  • any of various methods, theories, or systems, as astrology, psychokinesis, or clairvoyance, considered as having no scientific basis. Dictionary.com
  • a system of thought or a theory that is not formed in a scientific way. Cambridge Dictionary

My first encounter with the concept of pseudoscience came from watching the Crash Course in Philosophy.  In Episode 8, Hank Green explains how Karl Popper compares Freud’s and Einstein’s scientific methods.   Freud was able to fit any datapoint into his theory, using past data to predict the present.  By contrast, Einstein predicted a future event, a solar eclipse, based on his theory of relativity.  If the eclipse didn’t fit certain very specific criteria, his theory would have been disproven. In ancient Greece, to look at the world from a scientific eye excluded any preconceived ideas. You made theories based on what you observed.

Pseudoscience is differentiated from science because – although it claims to be science – pseudoscience does not adhere to accepted scientific standards, such as the scientific method, falsifiability of claims, and Mertonian norms. … The term pseudoscience is considered pejorative, because it suggests something is being presented as science inaccurately or even deceptively.


Pseudoscience starts with a conclusion then finds data to fit that conclusion. In true science, we are led to the conclusion by observation of the evidence or data. It is hostile to criticism where true science embraces criticism as part of the necessary and accepted process. Pseudoscientists use vague jargon and flawed methods. True science insists on precise terminology with clear definitions and rigorous research methods. Pseudoscience uses logical fallacies and invalid logic instead of following the logical practices in the scientific method. In his article How to Spot Pseudoscience, Brian Dunning has distilled a series of lists to provide a 15-point checklist to help us tell science from pseudoscience.

In a true science, the following statement can be easily made: “If x happens, it would show demonstrably that theory y is not true.” We can then design an experiment, a physical one or sometimes a simple thought experiment, to figure out if x actually does happen. It’s the opposite of looking for verification; you must try to show the theory is incorrect, and if you fail to do so, thereby strengthen it. Pseudoscience cannot and do not do this–-they are not strong enough to hold up.

Farnam Street blog

Certain fields are much more likely than others to promote views based on pseudoscience. For example, you won’t find it in pharmacology but it’s much more prevalent in crime forensics and popular psychology, among other professions. Proclamation based on pseudoscience are appealing because:

  • they promise solutions to problems and relief from suffering.
  • they include “success” stories and anecdotal “evidence”.
  • they are easier to understand, and therefore more accessible to most people, than findings published in scientific publications

It is so easy to be deceived by pseudoscientific claims when we know so little about science. A suffering obese person who knows next to nothing about chemistry and biology is completely unequipped to think critically about the many diets that promise quick results. How does one choose a diet that will work or which would even be safe to follow long-term? In the field of nutrition, ideas are proclaimed as gospel truth only to change a few years later.

  • Had you heard of pseudoscience before reading this article?
  • Have you or has someone you know been taken in by it?
  • Can you think of some examples of claims by the nutrition industry that they later contradicted?
  • What do you think the average person can do to counteract its effect on the people in our circle of influence?
Sources and recommended articles:

Forgiveness misconceived

It isn’t only our family members and friends who provide us with opportunities to practice forgiveness. Consider persons who, in the following situations, cause harm and provoke resentment:

  • professionals who harm us through their incompetence or negligence such as a doctor who misdiagnoses us
  • careless or impaired drivers who involve us or a loved one in a devastating accident
  • persons in authority who not only fail, but who refuse to protect us from harm, as in sexual abuse situations
  • life, fate, the universe or God who allows us to be involved in a devastating accident, to contract some serious illness, or to lose a loved one

It’s hard enough to forgive when we have an accurate understanding of what forgiveness is and, more importantly, what it is not. If you’ve somehow absorbed any of the following beliefs about forgiveness, it’s no wonder that you believe it to be both undesirable and impossible:

  • absolving the offender, excusing him or her from blame, guilt or responsibility
  • letting the offender off the hook
  • glossing over, or justifying the offence
  • denying or minimizing the hurt and harm you’ve endured
  • ignoring or forgetting what the offender did and its outcome
  • symbolically setting the offender free from having to carry the burden of the suffering caused by the offence

Forgiveness is an act of the will, independent of emotions. It precedes and is a prerequisite for the healing of the soul and possibly the relationship as well. It is a choice to let go of the desire for revenge.

Psychologists generally define forgiveness as a conscious, deliberate decision to release feelings of resentment or vengeance toward a person or group who has harmed you, regardless of whether they actually deserve your forgiveness.

What Is Forgiveness?

Along with a false understanding of the nature of forgiveness, there are other reasons we deliberately withhold forgiveness from the one who harmed us or those we care about. We see denying forgiveness as a way to:

  • force the offender to keep suffering
  • gain control over a situation, we feel we had no control over
  • take care of, honour and validate our own wound
  • proclaim that our suffering exists and will always matter
  • hold on to our rightness
  • remain justified in our version of the truth

Forgiveness is not a feeling and it does not mean that everything goes back to how it was before you were hurt. There were significant consequences for what was done and one of these is a loss of trust. Forgiveness does not include restoring trust; once broken, trust needs to be earned. It is a gift we give to another. Unlike forgiveness, trusting someone is never something we are required to do.

Forgiveness does not negate the need for justice. A good parent forgives a child’s misbehaviour but does not withhold punishment, a valuable life lesson that decisions have consequences.   An offender may express remorse when confronted by the one he or she harmed but remorse in itself is not repentance. Experiencing the consequence of one’s actions will distress the offender. It may not lead to repentance which, by definition, includes consistent change of behaviour.

From a Christian Perspective

We are warned that if we do not forgive, we will not be forgiven. This is because the mercy of God will not penetrate an unforgiving heart. The Lord’s Prayer includes this phrase: “forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.” If we pray the Lord’s prayer while refusing to forgive, we are asking to not be forgiven for our sins. Unforgiveness results in:

  • spiritual darkness and demonic oppression
  • poisoning of the soul which can destroy both emotional and physical health.
  • prevents growth in our intimacy with the Lord

Forgiving is an opportunity to share in Jesus’ redemptive healing work.

In his mysterious wisdom and profound love, when the Father allows someone to hurt or oppose us in some way, He is entrusting that person to our prayers. When our enemy causes us to suffer unjustly, our faith tells us that this was allowed to happen so that we might participate in the mystery of the Cross. Somehow, like those who offered their lives for our faith, the mystery of redemption is being renewed through our own sufferings.

Prayer and the Struggle to Forgive

Goals don’t make the grade

Goals are only useful to point us in the desired direction; they don’t get us to our destination. Though useful as a first step, they have some serious deficiencies.

Having a goal does not determine success. In any competition, whether it’s for a job, American Idols or a boxing match, each competitor has the same goal, but only one achieves it. So having a goal, in and of itself, is not enough. There is something, or perhaps many things that the winner did differently, things no one else witnessed; they had a system of habits in place that gained them greater skill or prepared them in other ways.

Goals create a yo-yo effect with motivation and discipline. What do most people do after the competition is over? The athlete stops training after his team or the other one wins the cup, at least until season training re-commences. The author stops writing after sending her novel to the publisher, at least for a while. Can you think of other examples of this dynamic?

Goals force us into either/or thinking. We eitther met our goal or we didn’t. There’s no in-between. There’s no recognition of what we gained in the process of striving to reach or goal which would certainly include discipline and either a new or increased skill.

We put off “happiness” while striving for our goal. We say to ourselves: “I’ll be happy when I achieve ___ … and there’s always another ____ to achieve. Or we say “I can relax when I finally ____.” Do we keep that promise to ourselves or do we move on to the next carrot that culture dangles before our eyes?

You do not rise to the level of your goals. You fall to the level of your systems.—James Clear

Atomic Habits —James Clear

Smartness is Earned – Intelligence is Gifted

So many people judge others or themselves as not being either smart or intelligent because of a lack of education. On the other hand, people with a PhD are often considered more intelligent or smart than they actually are. Certainly there is at least a minimum level of intelligence to complete high school, and more intelligence is required to obtain university degrees.

Intelligence is defined in the following ways from these dictionaries: Merriam-Webster Dictionary Cambridge DictionaryDictionary.comOxford Dictionary

  • the act of understanding
  • the ability to deal with new or trying situations
  • the ability to make judgments or to form opinions which are based on reason
  • the capacity for learning, reasoning, understanding, and similar forms of mental activity
  • the aptitude for grasping truths, relationships, facts, meanings, etc.
  • the ability to acquire and apply knowledge and skills.

There are several types of intelligence. Consider these five from the article 5 Factors of IQ which can be enhanced by, but which do not depend on, education:

  • Crystallized – It depends on knowledge and skills gained through experience, education and training and what we learn through our culture. It remains fairly constant but can increase through development of additional knowledge and skills.
  • Fluid – It refers to our ability to: reason, plan, solve problems, see relationships and learn quickly in new situations. It also includes the ability to think abstractly, where others think (and communicate) in a much more literal fashion.
  • Visual processing – It involves the ability to visualize, remember and manipulate images in the ‘mind’s eye’. It enables the imagining of objects changing as they move and the ability to predict how they will look after a specific number of twists and turns.
  • Processing speed – It refers to how fast your mental processes are when performing basic cognitive tasks like scanning text for something. This one is most affected by age and can be improved by training exercises.
  • Short-term working memory – It refers to the memory system that holds in mind a limited amount of information for brief periods. Examples include remembering directions while driving, reason through something to find a solution, or calculate a 15% tip.

Education develops your intelligence; it does not determine it. Being educated and being smart are something you earn by effort but intelligence is something you are born with.

Intelligence is therefore an internal force that governs our capacities and our limitations in acquiring skills in different areas. Education is something that is provided by an external force, typically a teacher, tutor, mentor or parent. Education is what helps you to develop your natural intelligence in different ways.

Difference between education and intelligence – Bruce D. Watson

Being educated and being smart are something you earn by effort but intelligence is something you are born with. It is certainly possible to have street smarts and even book-smarts without having the benefit of more than the most basic education. Anyone with sufficient curiosity, diligence and only an elementary school education can increase their book-smarts by regular reading.

People with greater intelligence and higher education may lack shrewdness and the creative ability that comes with a capacity for abstract thinking. You have greater opportunity to determine how smart you will become than you have to increase the intelligence you were gifted with.

Smart is an earned status. When we study and learn, we become smarter in the subject matter. Book smart or street smart, we have to put effort into becoming smarter. Intelligence, on the other hand, is something with which you are born. Your IQ is a measurement of your intelligence, and doesn’t change because it is a measure of your ability to learn.

Difference between smart and intelligent
  • Did reading the five types of intelligence enable you to perceive yourself as having more intelligence than you initially believed?
  • Looking over the past year, or even the past month, can you identify ways you increased your “smarts”?
  • Has your perception of your “smartness” changed for the better after reading this article?

Let “good enough” BE enough

It could be the height of hubris to think this article would benefit ten out of 100 readers but let’s pretend it will. If I were to make twenty tiny tweaks in an attempt to “perfect” it, maybe it would help one or two more people. That would be great but what if I didn’t post it at all because I couldn’t make it as good as I thought it needed to be? How many people would it benefit then?

I struggle less with perfectionism than I used to, partly because I recognized how it was paralyzing my creativity and productivity. I realized that I could not please everyone, least of all myself. There is a thin grey area between perfectionism and excellence and a thicker grey area between excellence and “good enough”. There is nothing that I do that needs to be perfect in the way that a flight checklist or surgery needs to be. Now that I am retired, there are far fewer tasks where even excellence is really required. That may change depending on what projects or activities I take on.

How does one define what constitutes “perfection” for any project or task? Who gets to set out these criteria when perfection is an illusion to begin with? To what extent is perfectionism an excuse to procrastinate working on a project or avoiding it altogether?

Miranda Marquit, in her article How to Stop Worrying About Perfection and Get Things Done, she describes the problems of perfectionism and provides practical tips for reducing our tendencies towards it. In his video Perfection is the enemy of done, Adam Stein makes three important points.

  • Work to completion, not perfection.
  • Develop the habit of being a “finisher”.
  • The “perfect project” never completed is no better than the project never started.

I have decided that when it comes to blogging, I will prefer posting to perfection. I will put more effort into my other writing for the contests on this site than I will for this blog. I will strive for excellence in my writing for contests and work to completion in creating content for this blog, letting “good enough” be enough.

Do you let perfectionism kill your creativity and stall your productivity?