“What is the story being played out in the theatre of your mind?”
Actually, I’m probably not ahead – perhaps it should just read ‘Caution! Slow learner’ (who could pull out suddenly from a side road or parking space).
And I’m talking about myself here, although as I was travelling north recently I came up against what seemed like a really slow learner, with nary an L-plate in sight.
Taking the quickest route as recommended by Google Maps - which cuts across to the A9 from the west coast via Trinafour Power Station – I remembered just how narrow it is!
Surely not only the narrowest single-track road recommended by maps but also one in the worst condition – if it is upgraded it may reach the heady heights of being called a farm-track.
This is the nearby Tummel Power Station operated by SSE, which links to their Trinafour Power Station.
Anyway, I came up behind someone else who appeared similarly discombobulated by the road – but was being much more cautious. If he reached ten miles per hour it must have been on a downhill stretch. Fair enough. Except he totally ignored me and just kept tootling along – passing "passing place" after "passing place" without stopping.
Now whether he was ignoring me or simply had not seen me I do not know. But suddenly he pulled to one side, off the road, on to the moorland, and stopped! At which point his passenger got out to take a photo! As I drove past, resisting the temptation to ‘wave’, I remembered what I had been thinking a lot about recently, and that is how do you keep sharp and aware of what is going on round about you as you grow older?
I have been musing on this recently, spurred by a variety of books I have been reading, as well as some podcasts I have been listening to. Yet again, I have found myself thinking about a range of topics and asking, how did I not know that? Surely I should have known that? I wish I had known that when I was younger!
“Yesterday is over - change is the essence of life.”
One of my favourite podcasts is EconTalk, hosted by Russ Roberts, which has the strap-line, "Conversations for the Curious". I think I have always been curious; indeed, occasionally it may have verged on the nosey! But guess what? The research suggests that people who are curious tend to keep their marbles polished longer.
But I have also been learning about the different kind of intelligence we have when we are older. In this edition of INSIGHT ADDED, I highlight a new book From Strength to Strength: Finding Success, Happiness and Deep Purpose in the Second Half of Life by Arthur C Brooks. He introduces the concepts of a fluid intelligence curve and a crystallized intelligence curve and how we must move from one to the other at some point in our lives to increase our happiness.
I will not even attempt to explain it here, but it really made me think – and had me thinking. ‘I wish I had known that when I was a bit younger’.
"Accentuate the positive, and camouflage the rest"
And one more concept that I had recently discovered came to mind – the self-transforming mind, as developed by another Harvard professor, Robert Keegan, considered to be the founder of adult development theory. He suggests only 1% of the population reach this state. Having read the descriptor, I am pretty sure I am not one of the one per cent.
And I am even more convinced that the Trinafour road driver I encountered is not one of that group either!
But it does remind me of a couple of important life lessons. Pay attention to what is going on round about you. And while it is never a good idea to drive always looking in the rear-view mirror, having a look back now and then might be good for you and those around you.
“There are moments in our lives we fear to re-live and others we long to repeat. While time cannot give us second chances, people can”.
Star Trek: Picard