“Im not as intelligent as you – I don’t have a degree”
– um, what!? I often hear people make comments surrounding the presence of higher education as proof of intelligence (or lack there of) and I’m at the point now that I quietly just want to get out my glove and slap them with it, Homer Simpson style.
I sat next to a lady on a bus recently, who was clearly very clever, but she thought that the fact that a colleague went to university meant that he must be highly intelligent, and that because she didn’t – she wasn’t. WTF. University isn’t only for geniuses, it’s just a heck of a lot of work, expensive, and emotionally crippling at times (exhibit A).
Having a university education certainly suggests qualities about a person (namely the fact that they can teach themselves how to learn, can think critically, self directed and get through problems), but intelligence – not necessarily! The number of, how to say this nicely, averagely intelligent people I have met in my years at university who have managed to complete their qualifications and do reasonably well, has surprised me. And yet I’ve met very clever thinkers there too who haven’t finished for one reason or another. Too often we treat achievement as indicative evidence that “they can/they cannot” – where in reality that’s not the case at all, it’s motivation, and in most cases only evidence of “do they want it enough”.
A series of studies show that less intelligent entrepreneurs can compensate for their low cognitive abilities with planning. Entrepreneur “Billy” for example, he’s not so smart but he’s got the wisdom to utilise great planning practices. Now a few years down the track and Billy’s firm is just as successful as a competitor, run by a naturally brilliant German man called Hans, who has six pack abs (just to make the story a bit more interesting for us ladies).
Thus suggesting that if you can control your processes (prioritise planning), all other things being equal your chances for success are as good as the naturally bright people around you.
if you’re not that intelligent become a good planner (and work hard) and you won’t do too badly. Obviously there are some situations where this will not apply, but man – if you don’t have a degree, you are not dumb, you most probably can do it if you want it enough.
If you think that you can use the presence of higher education in someone’s life as proof of intelligence you’re mistaken. It’s proof of training, yes. It’s proof of critical thinking abilities and motivation for higher education, yes. Intelligence, not necessarily.
Next person to suggest to me that some one must/must not be smart because they do/do to have a degree gets a wet willy in their ear. You’ve been warned. Finger at the ready.
Rant over. Your thoughts?