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How Smart Are You? Depends on Your Expectations

smart-person  I can think of three people who had trouble learning in school who went on to do something with their lives.  One became an aircraft mechanic and successfully went to school to be certified as one.  Not only did he graduate from the two year program, he went on to learn how to work on many different complicated aircraft that were developed during his career.  Another man was considered to be “dumb” when he was in school, but went on to successfully make a living and have a family just like everybody else.  A girl who had learning problems when she began school went on to college where she got an “A” in organic chemistry and then was accepted in a graduate masters program.  No, no mistakes were made.  These people’s abilities could have been seriously underestimated.

Different classes in the same grade in one school had different IQ test results given to their teachers.  These were not the real results and the classes weren’t really any smarter even though their teachers were told so.  Real results at the end of the year for students whose teachers who expected their students to be smarter were higher than they had been at the beginning of the year.  I, for one was told, I would never get higher than a “B” in college and I didn’t live up to that person’s expectations.  I never got lower than a “B” in college.  You need to believe in yourself or to have someone who believes in you and lets you know it.

How smart are you if you don’t do well in school or if you don’t have an education. There are stories about famous people who did “poorly” in school as children and went on to make famous discoveries.  Albert Einstein, Henry Ford, and Abraham Lincoln are some such people.  Many times people are self-limiting; because they too easily accept others negative judgments of their abilities as accurate and resign themselves to be failures in life.  It is what you believe or what your caregivers believe that can have a lot to do with what you actually do in life.  This can even be true of people who are developmentally disabled especially in the past.  People who had a child with such problems were often told that their child should be institutionalized and forgotten about as nothing could be done with them and nothing could be done about their problems.  Seriously some people are born with serious deficiencies that can’t be corrected and don’t have a long life expectancy.  Often these people will never be able to take care of themselves or to meet their own needs no matter how basic.  For example, they never be able to feed themselves or communicate in any way.  I have seen them.  They need a great deal of care 24/7.  I also have counseled parents who underestimated what their developmentally disabled child could do and who lived with some unacceptable behavior that their child could actually control.

How smart are you when others have low goals set for you.  You may be capable of doing much more if you put your mind to it.

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Expect Less, Get More

christmas paint

christmas paint (Photo credit: cassie_bedfordgolf)

Holidays can be a big disappointment, especially if you have great expectations.  They can lead to a post-holiday period of depression.  If possible, enjoy people, not things.  Children and animals are a great source of enjoyment at anytime of the year, but things might get a little tense during the holidays.  Expect them to act up and be prepared for this by not expecting too much of them.  Children might miss nap times or go to bed too late or get up way early so as not to miss a moment of the excitement.  There can be too much stuff  and there might be fights over possession of it.  Excitement  can lead to bad manners and lapses in behavior such as in toilet training in children and animals.

If possible, spread the celebrating out over the holidays and include someone who has no one with whom to celebrate the holidays.  Put some of the new toys and gadgets up and bring them out later when the new has worn off the things that you left out.  Plan an outing for after the holidays.  Perhaps to pick out something like a pet or use a gift card.  If you are going to be alone after family and friends leave, save something to do or have as a treat for yourself then.

Simply your holiday plans and delegate some of the responsibilities.  Prepare for potential disasters.  If you are having small children at your celebration, you might want to child proof your house, your decorations, and your tree to some extent.  Remember little children often require someone to watch them and supervise them.  If you acknowledge this need, you won’t be disappointed when the adults don’t have as much of a chance to enjoy the celebration.  For some people, babysitting is the perfect Christmas gift.

Remember sometimes your time is the best gift you can give.  Whether you have somebody over or go to a celebration elsewhere, the best thing you can do is be there, be truly present.  I recently went to a Christmas program put on by a friend of mine and I watched, listened to, and appreciated the children’s performances even though I knew none of them.  Afterwards, my friend said she appreciated having a familiar face in the audience for her performance.


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