“Much learning does not teach understanding.”

Academics and intelligence are two commonly confused things.

Of course, it makes sense. Education often increases intelligence, and an intelligent person often does well academically. The confusion comes in when people try to measure intelligence based off of academics. Or even worse: when people assume that an intelligent person will be extremely successful academically. 

There’s plenty of examples of individuals that are exceptions to this rule: James Cameron, Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, etc. As for examples of academically successful people who aren’t very intelligent… think about that kid that cheated on every test in highschool. Regardless of anybody’s opinions of these individuals, it’s hard to deny that they’re successful in their own endeavors and overall are pretty intelligent people.

It’s important to understand this so that we can do a little bit more than appreciate the people who dropped out of highschool or college despite being intelligent. We learn these things so that we can look at the next generation and understand that academics don’t dictate intelligence. They might be a strong indicator, yes, but in no way does that mean that a kid with poor grades is stupid. 

It’s also good to consider that there are many different kinds of intelligence. There’s academic intelligence, musical intelligence, mechanical intelligence, fighting intelligence, social intelligence… the list goes on. It’s usually pretty easy to tell where people are mostly intelligent — it just so happens that it’s what they probably spend most of their time doing every day. A martial artist is intelligent when it comes to body mechanics and knowing how to fight. A painter or writer is intelligent because they understand how to illustrate a picture either literally or in someone’s mind.

In order to be our best selves (because that’s always the goal with all these articles), we need to find out where we’re most intelligent. Regardless of whether or not we enjoy the topic, it’s important to have something to attach more knowledge to. For example, there might be a kid who absolutely despises math but is really good at it. That kid can then relate other things to math whether they know it or not, which allows for them to understand it better. Intelligence is the ability to relate two seemingly unrelated things, and use that information in a positive way. Of course, positive is a relative term.




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