Tonight, I’ll be making an appearance on Season 3 of Canada’s Smartest Person.
I did a little dance when I found out that I’d finally gotten onto the show.
I intercepted the call at work. Dodged around a corner to be discreet, and to get those initial details out of the way. However, even I only have so much control over my excitement level, and this put me over the moon! Jason had said, Don’t get too excited until there’s an actual ticket in your hand. Close enough. I didn’t have the ticket yet, but I had confirmation. The happy dance felt warranted.
After each test or interview during the selection process, I had convinced myself that I was out of the running. I would take a test, they wouldn’t tell me how I’d done, I’d second guess myself, and over the next few days, I’d become convinced that my journey was at an end. Fair enough, I’d think, I’m proud to even make it this far.
Then I would get another email, or my phone would ring. You’re still in the running… You’ll get the next test soon… Our production team will be in touch…
And I would talk to the nice people in Toronto, while I paced a trail across my office, and my stomach took a strange journey around my body.
This entire experience has had a bigger effect on me than I thought it would. I consider myself to be a confident person, although I have not always been so. Still, along the way, I did begin to notice a level of dissonance between some of the things people were saying about me, and how I viewed myself. Even this more “confident” version of me was/is pretty self-critical, and still prone to reflect often on past failures. (Working on it!) The show has made me critical of my approach to challenges. A lot of new skills and projects are less intimidating as soon as you break them down into required steps. Many projects are not beyond my, or your, capabilities. They only require time, and the willingness to learn, and perhaps even, to do badly.
Speaking of “required steps,” I decided once the selection process was ongoing that while yes, I was going to enjoy myself (because this is awesome!) I also needed a battle plan. I’ve done a few different types of competitions before, and all have involved prep work; regular exercises and goals met along the way. I knew I had to train, even if it did nothing but put my mind at ease.
I called my approach “Project Megamind” because I am very dorky, because it inspires me, and because some parts of that movie were a-ok.
Game play on Canada’s Smartest Person is based on Gardner’s theory of Multiple Intelligences.
With that in mind, I examined the 6 areas of intelligence I would be tested in:
I thought about ways I could hone those abilities and came up with THIS poster. (It’s not very pretty, and lately it’s been dragged around a bit, but that’s not the point!) There are ideas on all six nodes for activities I could add into what I was doing, or do more often to sharpen my skills.
I tried to alternate these bonus activities into my days throughout the time leading up to the show. For example, to get better at visualizing space, I practiced origami. To revisit my linguistic skills, I took up basic Norwegian. To make sure I was using the musical parts of my brain, I sang plenty and picked up my ukulele. I played a lot of brain games too. (And yes. I did math!)
You might notice that there’s a 7TH node on my poster. That’s because I don’t believe your brain can be at its best if the body supporting it doesn’t function properly. A welcome layover from my history with the gym lifestyle. 🙂 Under “Fitness,” I reminded myself to eat well, up my Omega-3’s, get regular exercise and at least attempt a decent sleep schedule.
So, I spent some time solving puzzles, playing games and learning to tell people in Norwegian that “the cat is drinking water.” (“Katten drikker vann,” in case you were wondering.) Did any of it help?
I DO think I’ve gotten sharper, but one thing I must tell you is that, show aside, these efforts have had an astounding effect on my self-esteem. They’ve caused me to reconsider my learning potential. Hell, everyone’s learning potential! Take any discipline, and keep throwing yourself at it long enough, and you may start to not suck at it after a while.
I suppose soon we’ll find out if it was enough. Once again, you can catch me dancing around on national TV with a big ol’ grin on my face, in a skirt that looks a bit like a disco ball, TONIGHT!
Tune in to Canada’s Smartest Person, Sundays at 8 p.m. (8:30 here in Newfoundland!)