We often see many people feeling ashamed that their intelligence level is not as high as others. They pretend to appear intelligent, live in perennial fear of being found out and hence have a very frustrating life. People around them take advantage of their low self-confidence, ridicule them and keep pointing out their mistakes. Some of the mistakes could be genuine human errors and some of them would be because of sudden stupidity at some critical juncture. This aggravates the problem further, because out of fear and shame and out of anxiety they make more mistakes and act stupid more often – getting them in to a vicious loop.
Knowledge vs Intelligence
Intelligent people are not afraid of saying “I don’t know”. Because they know the difference between Intelligence and Knowledge. Knowledge in today’s world is a cheap or free commodity that you can easily get. For any given situation, you could easily and quickly find the knowledge required, use it and then throw it, without wasting your precious memory to store such knowledge. Because you know knowledge can be summoned up on demand when needed.
People who think themselves as less intelligent, make the first mistake of believing that they can compensate that with more knowledge. So they try acquiring and cramming knowledge, thinking that, it will help them tide over situations that demand intelligence. But alas! The result is a lot of clutter and the inability to find what is necessary when needed. Worse, they apply the wrong knowledge to the wrong situation and end up looking more stupid.
So if knowledge is not going to help, how else can someone become more intelligent? Is intelligence something that is learnable? Or is it something that you are born with and you can’t increase or decrease it with effort?
What is intelligence?
Intelligence is not skill. Because skill is accumulated knowledge + experience + practice.
If knowledge and skill are those that can help you handle known / pre-defined and deterministic situations, intelligence is the ability to “act rightly and appropriately” in unknown and unpredictable situations.
So you cannot learn intelligence. It has to flow in to the situation naturally and spontaneously.
So how come some people appear more intelligent than others? What is their secret?
Intelligence is a light that shines equally inside all human beings. But how much of that light is visible in their action is a function of the medium through which it passes inside them.
And the medium inside them is comprised of their fears and emotions, beliefs and values. So when there is a thick screen of fear, shame, low self-confidence and outdated value systems, hardly any intelligence passes through and they appear to be stupid.
That is why all children surprise us with their intelligence, till they accumulate the cob-webs of fear, ridicule and shame. Clean it up, and you will see their intelligence shining as bright as the sun.
But Intelligence like light is only a source. Once we come out of the darkness (or greyness) in to the light of intelligence, then we will realize that there are many tools that are needed, to either direct or focus that intelligence and create value. Like any knowledge or skill, these tools are easy to find, learn and master. But these tools are of no use, if the intelligence itself is not shining through.
So the secret of intelligent people is just this. They are more empty, transparent and vulnerable than those who appear stupid.
Want to become more intelligent. Get some broom and go inside to clean-up.