What is Fitness? Part 4: Smart = Mental Fitness

I’m working on a series of blogs that expresses and explains my concept of fitness.  Here are the previous articles:


Mental Fitness

Today’s topic is Smart.  In my system, “smart” is the realm of mental health, intelligence, and knowledge.  Smart is mental fitness.  I define mental fitness as a state of positive mental health in which a wide array of intellectual skills are developed, and understanding is acquired.  Time to break those down

Mental Health

Other models of mental fitness have been proposed that include emotional, social, financial, and physical dimensions.  I agree with them, I just have a broader concept.  In my view, each of these things are related to your mental health.  Your emotional state, social context and relationships are all crucial to your psychological well-being.  Financial stability eliminates a major cause of anxiety, depression, and angst, while also enabling some level of self-actualization.  The physical health of your human organism affects the chemical processes of hormones and neurotransmitters that regulate your mood and mental state.  So, in my view, these emotional, social, financial, and physical dimensions are all aspects of your mental health.


My concept of mental fitness is broader, however, because I also include the elements of intelligence and knowledge.  Intelligence, in my view, is the ability to learn and solve problems.  This is the realm of the ‘skills’ of thinking, learning, problem solving, and comprehension.  Intelligence is the ability to acquire and apply knowledge and skills.

Some definitions of intelligence break it into 3 types: analytic, creative, and practical.  Others talk about 7 kind of intelligence: linguistic, logical, kinesthetic, spatial, musical, interpersonal, and intrapersonal.  There are other approaches to understanding intelligence, and I think they are all valid.  Even the mere act of attempting to learn about intelligence is making you more intelligent, and improving your mental fitness.


My third component of mental fitness is knowledge, but not just knowledge alone, also wisdom and understanding.  You might think you “know” something, but I would say that if you don’t practice it you don’t really know it at all.  So, in my view, knowledge can be purely academic and useless if it is not accompanied by wisdom and understanding.

Wisdom is the result of testing what you think you know about the world against time and what the world really is.  Wisdom is learning from observation and consequences.  Wisdom lets you know what was “knowledge” and what was mere folly.  This is a scientific process, like running an experiment.  You’re always running an experiment, testing what you think you know against reality, and learning what is real.  From this, you develop understanding, which is knowledge that you can trust and comprehend deeply.

That’s all for today’s overview of Mental Fitness.  Tomorrow, I will speak briefly on the concept of Physical Fitness.





Published by nicnakis

Nicholas |nik-uh-luhs| n. a male given name: from Greek words meaning "victory of the people" John |jon| n. a male given name: from Hebrew Yohanan, derivative of Yehohanan "God has been gracious" Nakis |nah-kis| n. a Greek family name derived from the patronymic ending -akis (from Crete) Amha |am-hah| n. an Ethiopian given name meaning "gift", from Geez Selassie |suh-la-see| n. Ethiopian name meaning "trinity", from Geez

6 thoughts on “What is Fitness? Part 4: Smart = Mental Fitness

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: