A High IQ Doesn’t Always Mean You’re Smart

Image: Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons
Image: Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons

I have an IQ somewhere between 143 and 155 according to the tests. I’d say I’m an intelligent person. However, IQ, applied intelligence, and memorization are different things, and some people fail to realize that.

What got me on this train of thought? I was giving “The Big Brain Theory” a try to see if it would be any good. These people are supposed to be the big minds of the future, and the first thing that caught me was their IQs. Their IQ was posted on the screen with their name, and all but one of the contestants was lower than me. Really? I wasn’t sure whether to feel really good, or worry for the future of humanity if that’s what they call smart people.

More than that was the fact that a guy with a 120-something IQ used a sawzall to cut through a radiator hose rather than unhooking it with the clamp, which was clearly visible in the shot. I know bupkis about cars, and I would have tried draining the radiator first, then removing the hose with the clamp. A saw would not have been my first thought. At that point I was really scared for America. That guy was none too bright. After a few more minutes we turned it off and decided not to watch it again.

Eric and I ended up having a massive conversation about IQ after that. The conclusion we came to is that the number, while interesting, doesn’t really mean much. You can have a really high IQ but have memory issues so you seem less intelligent. Maybe you have all sorts of book knowledge but you’re dense as a brick when it comes to cooking or human interaction. You may have a low IQ but be able to rebuild a whole car or cook a gourmet meal.

Intelligence is relative. There are many kinds of smart. Talent adds a whole new element. Ability to use memorized knowledge in the real world is another. The basic point? never let anyone tell you you’re stupid because of some test number. Never feel superior to someone with a lower number. We are all brilliant in our own ways, and there are no tests that exist to truly test full intelligence. It’s not something you could ever put on paper. Embrace whatever form of intelligence and greatness you have and don’t worry about some silly test score.

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