Self Smarts – In Action! Part 2

R_Melson copyRashema Melson will graduate at the top of her class as the valedictorian of Anacostia High School in Washington, D.C. She’s headed to Georgetown University this fall on a full scholarship.

Melson has excelled at her homework — but for the past six years, she hasn’t had a home to do that work in. She currently lives in the D.C. Homeless Shelter, along with her mother and two brothers. The shelter houses up to 300 adults and 500 children and has come under scrutiny for its poor conditions.

Melson isn’t sure how she’s managed to successfully juggle school (a 4.0 GPA), athletics (cross-country, track, volleyball) and homelessness. “I just know when I have a goal, I try not to let anything get in the way,” she says.

…she has advice for other homeless kids: Don’t let your situation define you. “I would just say keep your head up because you never know what’s going to happen,” she says. “You just have to have hope and faith and don’t let it change who you are. Don’t become ashamed and don’t be embarrassed. And just know who you are inside. Because you live in a shelter — that’s not who you are, that’s just where you reside at for the moment.” She says it’s the best advice she can give; it’s what she tells herself.

Excerpted from interview with Audie Cornish, June 11, 2014 4:56 PM ET. All Things Considered, NPR

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The Intrapersonal intelligence goes by many names so it can be confusing what exactly it is. I was struck by Rashema’s advice when I heard her interviewed on national radio. She expresses plainly and yet clearly the value of this intelligence for achieving success — despite very difficult circumstances. She points to 3 vital aspects of Intrapersonal skill in a few brief sentences:

1- maintaining your drive towards a goal.

2- self – social identity management

3- knowing one’s true inner self.

Of course, there are many other reasons that Rashema has been able to obtain this remarkable goal but it is very instructive that she chooses to focus on this particular intelligence when giving advice. She could have selected any number of other bits of advice to give – choose your friends carefully, please the teachers, study hard for tests,  etc. – but she doesn’t. She zeroes in on the very thing that is often at the core of great success – self smarts.