Friday Forward And Intellectual Capacity

By Ali Elizabeth Turner

This particular Monday was what I call a “Minestrone Monday.” I define a Minestrone Monday as one that has several components, a number of competing recipes that claim to be “authentic,” and the end result is a delicious, simple-but-complex hearty soup that is most welcome on a rainy day. All the things that poured in to Mayor Ronnie’s office that morning “made the minestrone.”

We talked for quite a while about things that “lit us up” from the book, Friday Forward.  We have been dealing with what is called by the author, Robert Glazer, as “capacity building.” The four capacities are spiritual, physical, intellectual, and emotional. “Spiritual capacity is about way more than church, as important as it is, and intellectual capacity is about way more than being smart,” said the mayor as we headed into the chapter on intellectual capacity.

In order to increase one’s intellectual capacity, there are two things that are important. One is having what is known as a “growth mindset.” The other is the “compound effect” vs the idea of the “overnight success.” A growth mindset simply means that you decide here and now that for the rest of your life you are going to actively learn new things, skills, facts, and subjects. It also means being willing to receive feedback and learn from that. The latter, of course is more challenging, as the mayor would attest.

“It’s the day-to-day actions that do it,” said Mayor Ronnie. In our media driven culture, we buy into the idea that true success is splashy and quick, but it’s not true. It is the compound effect of several small actions over time that build a life and legacy that last. He told me about NFL record-holding Colts Quarterback Philip Rivers, who is an Athens High alum. “He had this strange way of throwing the ball because his hand was so small when he was a kid trying to handle a full-size football. It looked like he was throwing a shot put, and his dad never made him do anything different because it worked,” said the mayor. Rivers practiced and practiced, was a first-round draft pick out of college, and is considered the 8th most successful QB in NFL history. “He knew this was the time to retire, and is going to coach in Fairhope,” said the mayor. (A side note is that Rivers’ son throws the football the same odd way, and his dad has had to resist the temptation to correct him.)

The morning ended with the chance to meet Al Hogan, our new fire chief. Al comes from the Atlanta area and was a battalion chief over several stations. He also has experience with rapid growth in a community. From the “small world department,” it turns out Mr. Hogan and I know someone in common. I had to get to the radio, and the mayor had an appointment with the new chief. So, we prayed, and once again it was time for Ronnie to roll.

By: Ali Elizabeth Turner