Don’t you just love the type that can talk your ear off about fascinating topics like physics and mathematics, but can absolutely not relate to emotions, what makes people tick, how to interact with others and how life may be anywhere else, but planet USA? You know, the type that talks about science for hours but can’t hold a single conversation about how a person is feeling? If you make the fatal error of just mentioning actual things that are going on in your life, they’ll just shut down and stare at you blankly, obviously uncomfortable and definitely not able to contribute anything that will make you feel better or even different.
I personally prefer people who are both, street smart and book smart. Knowing how the universe functions just won’t get you accepted in the world – it won’t find you love and it sure won’t make you happy. We are social creatures and being incredibly smart just by itself tends to keep us pretty isolated.
I often wondered if intelligence has anything to do with self-awareness. Having spent year of wondering, I can safely proclaim it does not. I know some pretty smart people who don’t have the slightest clue of who they are and where they are going. Lacking self-awareness usually also means they are lacking the power of creation … namely creating the life they want for themselves. Hence, a lot of the incredibly intelligent people are pretty miserable. To a degree, I have to agree with those who say that ignorance is bliss. If I have no idea about what it is I am missing, how would I miss it?
I suppose any fairly intelligent person can learn facts from a book. That doesn’t mean they will be successful. To me, street smart comes in handy AFTER I have learned a thing or two from a book. Understanding the basics of life, I can then go put the learned knowledge into good use. I can go to a therapist and learn something, as well as alter my behavioral patterns. Having been forced to draw from the most unusual places for survival has given me the ability to take pretty much anything on with an open mind and create a positive from it. I don’t just understand in theory how something works … I “get it”. And a lot of the book smart types never “get it”.
What do I mean by that? Well, if I want to learn how to ride a bike, I can read a book about riding a bike and understand in theory, how it works. But “getting it” is the perfect moment of balance, when you are suddenly riding the bike. From this moment on, you will always be able to ride a bike. You can get on one 20 years letter and you’ll still know how to ride. That is the difference between “getting it” and knowing something. The vast majority of people I’ve met know a lot about different things, but very few of them actually “get it”.
Books can teach you many things, but they won’t make you necessarily more successful than others. I use this knowledge in management – when I hire people, I hire the ones that can do the job because they “get it” versus the ones who knows the theory … passion can go a lot further than IQ.