My TED Talk: Using Friendship to Expand our Horizons

I once considered myself an intellectual narcissist, a person who was too much smarter than other people to interact with them. This was detrimental to my cultivation of relationships, but I didn’t care, because I was better of left to myself to study and explore the world.

I couldn’t have been more wrong.

I met someone who taught me to think of things from a different perspective. It is often said that females are more social than males, able to pick up on emotional cues with greater accuracy because of sex specific differences in the brain.  I always wondered how highly intelligent people behaved, there are many different types of them. As an intelligent male I saw myself as separate from the world. But what about a highly intelligent female person? Would they be social? Or less social, like me?

I would soon have my answer. One day I met a girl who was probably one of the cleverest people I’ve ever met.  She was like me, but a social version, shattering my schemata.

So how was my paradigm shifted?

Her way was to share knowledge, to learn about the other persons needs and goals, and to explore with them. I played chess, she sent me links on chess. I studied math, she sent me cute cartoons videos about mathematics. If I was upset, she sent inspiring clips over the internet

I suddenly learned that relationships did not have to be a waste of time. That they could be a learning experience for both parties. It was an shattering experience.

But what about constructing friendships of genius? Friendships of mutual exploration, constant learning, and intellectual stimulation? How many of your friendships or relationships are already like this? How many of them would you like to be like this?

Of all the people who are bored with their relationships with friends, lovers, what if you allowed more sharing to occur, more giving of yourself; allowing yourself to see the goals of your acquaintances and allowing yourself to journey with them on their quest to achieve those goals. You both learn along the way, and will likely become closer because of it.

This can be done through:
Sharing of links online
Sharing of books
Physical exercise


Ask what they like to do? What their goals are. And share what you like to do, and what your goals are. Then do this:

pick two or three friends, (try the ones you talk to the least).

Ask them to contribute one thing to your goals or interest at least once each week, and you will contribute one thing to their goals and interests at least once each week.

It is a different concept than paying it forward. It is a recursive back and forth giving between friends, in a way that helps them both grow and expand their horizons. Imagine if we shared things with all of our friends, and helped them along the way to accomplishing them, and they helped us do the same?

By tapping into our friends, I think it is possible for new worlds to be opened up to us. Large goals may seem less difficult when you allow friends to take more involvement. No matter how much we think we know on our own, there is always someone else out there who can expand our horizons.


About fractal5

student of the universe
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