Self Help Now: A community blog

Dr. Jacqueline B. Sallade offers ideas for maintaining your mental health.

Real Intelligence-What is It?

Written by Dr. Jacqueline B. Sallade, Community blogger | Oct 14, 2012 8:15 PM

A lot of how we define intelligence is by what we want, how we believe success is attained. The IQ tests are made of skill sets which predict academic achievement and engineering-type acumen. In real life, success in school and a profession, the ability to impress in conversation, and critical thinking as a citizen certainly contribute to a better world.

However, success in terms of happiness has more to do with relationships, especially not making stupid personal mistakes , choosing one's arguments carefully, exercising kindness more than control and making compromises well. A lot has been written about social and emotional intelligence, and it's probably as important for the world as anything.

As a psychologist, I can't say how many great parents of low IQ and poor parents with high IQ's I've seen. It's amazing, too, how smart people can botch up their good marriages and average or even supposedly "slow learners" can maintain good relationships. I know upbringing, conditioning, emotional stability, personality and luck play their roles, but I really think the smartest people I know are the ones who have been happilymarried 50 years and have raised well-adjusted, nice children. Some other smartest people aren't in that position but have great friendships and are well-respected and liked by many people. But, people who aren't real popular can be smart, too, like the ones who feel good about themselves and treat others well. I have grown to value "nice" more than "bright."

Conversely, some of the stupidest (non-technical term) people I've known or read about are the Bernie Madoff-types, too big and tricky for their britches. Some celebrities certainly are successful and rich, but they're jerks. How smart is that? A cheat is so low in integrity that there's a failure score on life achievement, no matter what other accolades exist. Druggies and other addicts aren't smart; I don't care what IQ test they scored high on.

I'm sure you get the point. How you conduct your life counts for more in my book than how much data you know and how quickly you can figure out a puzzle.

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