Generational what? Generational intelligence. It’s a thing.
A simplified way to understand it (and to gauge yours) is to ask yourself this question: How often and how well do I interact with and gain valuable insights from people who aren’t my age? These interactions could happen anywhere and anytime you’re with people who are older or younger than you. At home, at work, at a social or networking event, at the grocery store or gym. You get the picture.
Why does generational intelligence matter? Well, for starters (and this may sting): Your generation, which ever one that is, doesn’t know everything or have all life and world issues totally figured out. We all have much to learn, and being around people from different generations can help.
I saw this firsthand recently while attending a luncheon hosted by Texas Women in Business (TWIB). The event showcased a panel of women representing Baby Boomers, GenX, Millennials, and Gen Z. A skilled moderator asked the panelists questions that revealed subtle as well as stark variations in how each woman viewed and approached life, work, family, friendships, finances, adversity, world events, social issues, faith, politics, and much more. It was so massively intriguing, I wish we’d had more time for questions — and a long, leisurely after-party discussion. With cocktails.
Personally, I’ve learned huge lessons and have had numerous life-changing epiphanies while spending time with children, college students, young adults, and senior citizens. When she was in her 80s and I was in my 30s, Annie Robinson gave me powerful guidance about how to be more creative and intuitive. My sweetie’s school age granddaughter teaches me similar lessons today. The overarching theme here is that no matter how young or old a person is, they have wisdom to give us.
So I’m posing this challenge to you, as I did to my TWIB sisters the day of the multi-generational panel: Starting today, look for opportunities to have meaningful exchanges with people older and younger than you. Get curious. Ask questions about how they see and do things — and why. Ask to hear their stories. Ask how they handle life’s challenges. Yes, even ask them for advice. See how doing this shifts your life in a positive direction — and how your social intelligence expands beyond riches.
For some inspiration that will help you have high-quality multi-generational conversations, look no further than my new book More Than Just Talk: The Essential Guide for Anyone Who Wants to Enjoy Better Conversations. It’s available on Amazon, at BookPeople in Austin, and at other online book retailers.