#96 - Feature: Intelligence

5 minute read

Motto: Knowledge is Power!

Today’s post is an article on acumen and aptitude. A blurb on brains and brilliance. A commentary on capacity and comprehension. A discourse on discernment and deciphering. An item on intelligence and intellect. A piece on perception and precocity. A story on smarts and savvy. A write-up on wit and wisdom. I am approaching the subject of intelligence not only because it’s an important general life topic but also because I want to challenge myself to write with humility - for I am a humble man. Before I write about intelligence, I think I must share this with you as a disclaimer: I am smart. And it turns out I’m not actually humble. Based off a lifetime of experience and achievement, based off mountains of observation and self-reflections, based off third-party testimonials and reviews, based off accomplishments and awards, I feel as though I can safely say that I meet the minimum intelligence threshold to be considered “smart” by the majority of the population.

As anyone would tell you, though, there are different kinds of “smart”. This is usually broken down into “Book Smart” and “Street Smart”. While I agree these make for great high-level categories of intelligence, I think any real in-depth analysis of the subject cannot stop there. Here is my list of sub-categories & justifications:

Book Smarts

“Book Smarts” - made up of these Analytical - takes situations or subjects and picks them apart, able to see how variables affect one another. The kind of people who make good engineers.
Logical - can think and act objectively, good at following logical chains of events. The kind of people who make good programmers.
Theoretical - chases down grand overarching themes in different types of situations. The kind of people who get so lost in their own thoughts they could ride the wrong bus for an hour before realizing their mistake.
Educated - a walking dictionary/encyclopedia. The kind of people who win Jeopardy.
Linguistic - people who show a strong command of language. The kind of people who write super entertaining Columns.

Street Smarts

“Street Smarts” - made up of these Interpersonal - knowing how to talk to and relate with people. Able to effectively discern people’s emotions and read body language. The kind of people you want to be friends with.
intrapersonal - knowing yourself. Knowing what you like and don’t like. Knowing what ticks you off and what makes you tick. The kind of people who talk way too much.
Aware - knowing where you are and what you are doing at any given moment. This is surprisingly difficult for some theoretical people.
Life Smart - this one is hard to put into words. Basically just knowing your goals in life and your responsibilities. Seeing problems in your life and fixing them. People who are life smart have some sense of direction and don’t let things take them off that path. Life Smart people aren’t addicted to anything. They manage their time and resources better than average.
Things that don’t really fit into either category, but need to be mentioned: Creative - people who can think outside the box.
Artistic - people who can think outside the box and make it pretty.
Topical - people who know everything about something. Tradespeople.
Capable - probably the most important of all, people who actually can do the things they need/want to do. Nothing else matters if you are not capable.
I just pulled that list together on the fly. It could use some refinement, but I’m running out of time.

Performing a self analysis I would say my strengths are intrapersonal, analytical, logical, and “life smart”. My weaknesses are awareness, artistry, and probably capability. I am capable of the things I’m capable of. But I don’t waste time or energy on things that I don’t really care about, which makes me incapable of some relatively important things.

“My car is acting funny.”

“What’s wrong with it?”

“I dunno.”

I’m going to meet my parents in Ottawa very soon, but I want to finish this before i go. I’m just going to leave it with this -

Being smart is a blessing. My university psychology professor said something to the effect of “You guys and girls are lucky! You’re going to have a better life than people who didn’t make it university. You are statistically more likely to live longer and happier lives.” I agree.

Here’s the first relevant picture I can find:

Homer Simpson

Top 5: Drawbacks of Being Smart

  1. Sometimes you miss out on the simple pleasures of life. Looking at the stars. Smelling the roses. Laughing at a fart. You know, the good stuff.
  2. You can alienate people if you aren’t (inter)personable. 3. It can be hard to empathize with someone who continually makes bad decisions. It becomes too easy to blame someone’s problems squarely on them. If you fail to see the logic in their decisions or if you think “If I were in their shoes I would have just done __; and they didn’t do that, so it’s their fault.”
  3. You can get away without trying very hard in K-12 (and in college, if you undershoot your potential). Eventually you have to learn how to try hard. 1. You understand just how truly messed up some things are. There are so many injustices and inefficiencies everywhere; and there is very little any one person can do about it.


“If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough” Albert Einstein