Do you sometimes wish you knew what you know now when you were younger?
I do most of the time. When I was younger, I dreamed of marrying a doctor, engineer, university professor or some other well educated man. I was mostly attracted to students studying engineering, medicine and statistics because of their “high intelligence”.
The older me has a completely different way of looking at “intelligence” as an attractive quality. The way I see it now, there is a profound difference between intellectualism and intelligence.
I have lived among people who are poorly educated in the book smart sense but intelligent and also among people who are highly educated in the book smart sense but not necessarily intelligent.
One group relies on using their intellect and learned knowledge to frame and discuss ideas, gather and sort information, debate and pontificate. They know all the rules of grammar but are incapable of thinking well abstractly (beyond what they have “read in books”). They present and want their “knowledge” in black and white, and solutions as direct, nuance-free and as unchanging as possible.
The other group may not be necessarily “book smart’, sound fluent or articulate in their presentation of ideas and information but are very much aware and can relate to how the world around them really works, and can easily understand and adapt to the constantly changing world we live in.
If I were in an unfamiliar or even dangerous situation where I had to choose to take help from only one group, it will always be the poorly educated in the book smart sense but smart enough to know how to utilize whatever limited resources life throws their way to find a solution to any problem and get the job done.
If I found myself some day “looking for someone” again, I wouldn’t necessarily be looking for someone who comes off sounding “book smart.” I’d be looking for someone who uses his “intelligence” to take appropriate actions, discern likely obstacles and adjust accordingly.
Someone who doesn’t just preach the bootstrap theory because he looks at those who haven’t made it (like he has) as people who can’t think their way out of their problems but instead understands that in life some of us thrive and some of us survive. Some of us are “fortunate” to have had a fair start in life and others start with nothing. And while one person can achieve unimaginable success, someone with the same or better combination of traits may not, however hard he/she tries.
Someone who doesn’t just read or write a bunch of books about the plight of the poor, disadvantaged children, abused seniors, etc, but helps old ladies across the street, helps out at a soup-kitchen or finds disadvantaged kids and gives them a good start in life.
I’ve not become ant-intellectualism, I’m just saying when it comes to looking for a mate, keep in mind that some “intellectuals” are just disguised compassion-challenged snobs who speak in good grammar but will hesitate when it comes to getting their hands “dirty” doing the actual job.
When vetting a potential mate, look at someone’s compassion track record, not their “smart’ sounding words. Words are cheap and anyone can say anything. What has he/she actually done that says he/she is high on practical intelligence? IQ test results won’t keep you warm in the middle of the night or feeling safe in the good times and the bad times, in sickness and in health.
To some of my exes who read my articles, no offense intended. I’m proud that all of you made good on your high intelligence and some of you were high on compassion quotient as well. I was just too messed up then to see it. It was not you, it was me… 😉
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