How Have You Been Impacted By The Place Or Time Of Your Birth?

There are many factors that make one individual different from another. One of those factors might be the location or the time of your birth. What do you think about yours?

There is no doubt that each person is unique, set apart from all the others by their experiences as well as by their DNA. It is also true that we human beings like to celebrate birthdays. Are those two things related?

Certainly, fans of astrology like to believe that the stars in the sky at the time of your birth, and possibly the position of the planets as well, determine your personality. That’s why, they say, a Gemini is different from an Aries.

Rationally, it is hard to imagine the mechanism which would allow stars to have that kind of impact. However, there may be a more earthbound explanation. Could the time of your of your birth impact your development? Does a child born in the winter have a different development curve than one born in summer? Is a spring baby different from an autumn baby?


Listen to a podcast where Michael and Lee discuss a related question: ‘What makes you you?’ We also discuss a bonus question: ‘What gives a person value?’


Similarly, does the geographic location have any sort of long-term impact on an individual? In a very simple way, this must be true — a baby born in a country that has a lower infant mortality rate is more likely to grow to adulthood.

But what about more subtle differences? Does the simple act of being born in Seattle make for a different experience than being born in Atlanta? Is being born in a hospital drastically different from being born at home?

Or are the differences instead due to childhood development that comes later in life? Does it matter more where someone lives at, say, five years old than where they were at birth?

Most of us know, with a great level of certainty, exactly when and where we were born. Do those facts say anything in particular about us as people?

Related questions: What makes a community? Why do you live where you live? How many times did you move as a child? Birthday: Celebrate or not?

How Are You A Non-Conformist?

There are many ways that you can be different from the crowd, some obvious and so not so obvious. How are you a non-conformist?

Social pressure encourages people to fit in. To become one of the crowd. In our current capitalist society, to become just a cog in a larger societal machine.

While there is some value in that, as individuals we often struggle to be the unique beings we naturally are. There is no one in the world that is quite like me, from my DNA to my fingerprints to my upbringing to my personality.

And so we find ways to display that uniqueness. We are all, in one way or another, non-conformists.


Listen to a podcast where Michael and Lee discuss a related question: ‘What makes you you?’ We also discuss a bonus question: ‘What gives a person value?’


Some people shake off the yoke of conformity as rebellious teenagers. That might take the form of defying our parents, or dressing or behaving in ways that are not expected of us.

For others, being a non-conformist comes later in life. You might get a tattoo that has some sort of significance to you. Perhaps you decorate your work space in ways that are different from your co-workers. Clothing or jewelry can be used to set you apart from your peers.

Those choices are fine if you want to convey to everyone else that you have a streak of individuality. However, some might choose to be less obvious. They might seem just like everyone else from the outside, but they have a vibrant inner life, through what they read, or write. Or just think about.

Do you know the way in which you stand out from a crowd? Have you consciously chosen it, or does your lack of conformity come naturally? How are you a non-conformist?

Related questions: Individual or society? How much power does an individual have? How are you special?

What Do You Do That No One Else Does?

There are traits and behaviors that set you apart from others in your community. What types of things do you do that no one else does?

You might think that with nearly eight billion people in the world, everything is accounted for. There are no traits or abilities that one person has that are different from the billions of people all around the world.

However, that’s not true at all. While you certainly may have some shared commonalities with others, the combination of past experiences and internal differences makes you unique.


Listen to a podcast where Michael and Lee discuss the related question: ‘What makes you you?’ We also discuss a bonus question: ‘What gives a person value?’


It is certainly true that a larger overall population means that there are people who like the same thing. For example, you might find just a few – or even zero — people who like the same obscure band you like if you live in a small town. There will be more of them if you live in a big city.

And yet, your totality is as unique as a snowflake. There is no one else who has the same brain connections that you have. No one has read the same books, in the same order, and has the same conversations. Just like there is an endless difference in our different fingerprints, there is infinite variation in brain patterns and experiences.

So what sets you apart? What are the things that are unusual about you? What do you do that no one else does?

Related questions: Why do we like what we like? What makes you you? How do you judge yourself? What gives you purpose? Do you feel lonely?

Individual Or Team Sports?

Which do you to prefer to watch: individual sports like tennis, golf, or running, or team sports like baseball, football, or hockey? Is the answer different for sports to participate in?

Share why if you wish.

Individual Or Team Sports?

How Can We Measure Intelligence?

In our society, some people are considered more intelligent than others. But what exactly does this mean, and how can we measure intelligence in an individual?

There are many useful — and several not so useful — skills that individuals possess. For example, one person might be very good at thinking abstractly. Another might be good at reasoning. Yet another might make connections between seemingly disparate things.

All of these things might be considered intelligence. But what of other skills? Does athletic ability make someone intelligent? Artistic creativity? What about someone with social skills who can get along with anyone? If these skills, and others like them, aren’t a sign of mental acuity, then what are they? And if they are, then how might we manage to measure that in a concrete way?

Currently, intelligence is measured primarily through the IQ test, where IQ stands for “intelligence quotient”. However, other than scoring well on a test, what does a high IQ actually enable an individual to do? As the example illustrates, if you test a fish on it’s ability to climb a tree, it will fail every time.

An interesting wrinkle in this problem comes in the form of artificial intelligence, and various efforts to rate just what makes a machine intelligent. Would you consider Watson, the computer that won at the game show Jeopardy!, to be intelligent? How is it different from human winners?

How would you define what it means to be intelligent? Can we measure intelligence? Or is it one of those things we just know when we see it? Alternately, might it be present and we simply don’t recognize it?

Related questions: How important is intuition? How do you judge yourself? What is intelligence? How do you define success?