Welcome to this issue of "Dr. T's Timely Tips" by Dr. Tony Alessandra. Please send your feedback to info@alessandra.com!

Don't let your intellectual muscles get flabby!

Your intellectual image comes from how well you've developed what's inside your skull. This is your intellectual self. I'm not talking about a high IQ or your ability to win at Trivial Pursuit. I'm referring to the depth and breadth of your knowledge, your mental fitness. Most of us were given plenty of basic intelligence. We alone decide whether we'll use it to capacity or let it get flabby or stiff from disuse.

Can your mind lift abstract concepts from The Wall Street Journal, or from the professional journal in your field? Can you grasp the intricacies of a problem explained by someone in a field completely different from your own?

Can you see an issue from a perspective that's 180-degrees from your own feelings? Can you entertain ideas that come from a different culture, or from people you don't like? Can you hang in there when it's going to take a lot of convincing to get people to see things your way, or when it's going to mean clearing seven committees and the CEO?

Training your mind to take on longer-term and more demanding tasks gives you the stamina you need when mental marathons come up. Other ways to strengthen your mind might include:

- Taking some classes in a subject you've always wondered about -- art history, acting, geology -- but never studied.

- Learning to play a musical instrument. Or, if you prefer, learning to scuba dive.

- Committing to teaching yourself a new and difficult skill: celestial navigation perhaps, or gourmet cooking, or origami, or winemaking.

- Joining a foreign-affairs group, or investment club, or reading circle, where new issues and speakers abound.

- Buying an expensive subscription to a weighty series of books or musical performances. Paying so much, you'll probably feel compelled to get your money's worth.

- Here's a real test of mental discipline: Listening to a daytime TV talk show without making judgments about the intelligence of the participants!

Another intellect-strengthening exercise is to get in the habit of not assigning labels to people. When you're at a party and another guest is introduced to you as "a life-insurance salesperson," don't you, mentally at least, take a couple steps backward? Ditto, perhaps, for "IRS auditor," "debutante," "parole officer," or "yachtsman," depending on your mind-set?

Thus, the hidden assumptions of language can control your behavior. Your preconceived notions of accountants, say, as bland and boring, or of professors as tweedy and reserved, probably does you and them a disservice and may prematurely kill what could be a valuable relationship.

To maximize your intellectual image, attempt to get past the labels. Don't overlook, for instance, the opinions of a mere "clerk" while perhaps overvaluing those of a "consultant." It takes intellectual strength to avoid the trap of confusing the specific for the general. But if you can get into the habit of appreciating people's unique, human side and not judging them generically, you'll win their respect -- and you may learn something, too.

Here's to more personal insight,


If you like receiving Dr. T's Timely Tips, you'll love adding to or switching from this subscription to "One-to-One from A-to-Z" - an ezine that's customized to match your interests, goals and behavioral style. You'll receive fewer emails, but the ones you do receive will contain articles, tips, ideas and offers that perfectly match your personal and/or professional interests. Subscribing takes less than a minute and you may experience The Platinum Rule® firsthand by opting in here. We will treat you the way you want to be treated!

Dr. Tony Alessandra, author of "Dr. T's Timely Tips", is available as a speaker for corporate and trade association meetings. Teleseminars and webinars are also available. Contact Holli Catchpole at SpeakersOffice: 1-800-222-4383 or Holli@SpeakersOffice.com

SpeakersOffice, Inc.
5927 Balfour Court Ste. 103
Carlsbad, CA 92008

Click here to view a Free Video of Tony.

Click here to check out Tony's Photo Gallery and get a glimpse of what he does when he's not in front of an audience.

Time for a coffee break? Visit Dr. Tony's products and browse while you relax. http://www.alessandra.com/taproducts.asp

Copyright © 2001-2013 Dr. Tony Alessandra

Learning doesn't stop after graduation!

A well-developed intellectual image means being like a Renaissance Man -- you've exposed yourself to and learned about as wide a variety of topics as possible. The key is to constantly develop your depth of knowledge in areas you're already familiar with, and to develop your breadth of knowledge by learning about areas you aren't yet familiar with.

I work on both: I develop my depth of knowledge in my areas of expertise -- my speaking and assessment business -- by constantly working on my craft, going to conferences, and studying relevant literature.

I also make sure I am as informed as possible about many topics for my breath of knowledge, and work to improve my intellect by:

- Reading two newspapers every day when I'm at home: The Wall Street Journal and my local paper.

- Reading four newspapers a day when traveling: The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, NY Times, and the local city's paper.
- Reading magazines weekly: Time, US News, Fortune, Money, even airline magazines!

- Reading one new book a month, twelve months a year, in a variety of topics: mystery, self-help, fiction, business, etc.

- Developing one new skill a year: learning a new language, taking wine appreciation courses, etc.

It may seem like a lot of work to maintain your intellectual image, but it's worth doing -- you'll be so much more interesting to yourself and everyone around you!