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Innovators and instructors

Editorial | August 1, 2019 | By:

The bad news (and some good news) about career paths and aging.

It was on the eve of my birthday, while sitting in rush hour traffic, that an NPR segment gave me the really bad news: My professional decline has already started.

The interviewee, social scientist Arthur C. Brooks, was discussing his personal research project, which culminated in part with an article in the July issue of The Atlantic titled “Your Professional Decline Is Coming (Much) Sooner than You Think.”

Brooks’s research identified two kinds of intelligence: fluid and crystallized. Fluid intelligence is raw intellectual horsepower—the ability to figure out stuff fast. Young innovators have lots of this. Although the timing varies by industry, this kind of intelligence inevitably declines. 

The good news is that as we age, we develop crystallized intelligence—a sort of library in our brain that forms connections between our accumulated knowledge and experiences. 

“Here’s the trick,” Brooks said. “You’ve got to stop being an innovator and start being an instructor. An instructor is somebody who uses crystallized intelligence, who synthesizes ideas and expresses them in new and interesting ways that people can understand—that enriches other people.”

This issue of InTents highlights the best of both the fluid and crystallized intelligence in the tent and event rental industry. For the first time, we are honoring young people who are bringing fresh approaches to tent and event rental. On the other end of the spectrum, industry veterans offer their expertise on subjects including staking, ballasting and basic power for tented events. 

If you know a young professional we should highlight in 2020, nominate them by contacting me—the future of the industry rests on their fluid intelligence. 

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