What is Intelligence?

Thanks to Fakurian Design @fakurian for making this photo available freely on Unsplash 🎁

Hi friends, hope we’re all keeping well.

This topic has been on my mind for some time now, and that’s what exactly IS intelligence?

Some of you internet savants might have stumbled upon this one viral video from Jubilee, where 6 strangers rank each other based on who they think is the most intelligent.

The major twist at the end, which some of you might predict, is that they all eventually do an actual IQ test, and are later ranked by their test results.

It’s a fascinating, entertaining, and interesting video, with one of the main reasons being that some of the people who thought they were more intelligent (and outwardly acted so), eventually ranked lower than others in the actual IQ test. Honestly, these people were all pretty annoying and arrogant, so it was greatly satisfying to see the moments their ego got beautifully crushed by reality (and if you watch the video, you’ll know exactly which 2 people I’m talking about). The video is essentially one big ‘karma’ moment.

Alright, but why do I bring this video up?

Well, to be honest, I think the participants in that video’s views on intelligence all interested me, in one way or another.

For one, pretty much the majority agreed that intelligence consisted of multiple qualities, not just IQ. Common sense, EQ (emotional intelligence), wit, and IQ all were components on what made someone intelligent or not.

I really liked one of the participants’ comments, Séan’s, in which he described intelligence as a spectrum, rather than a straight line, and that in order for someone to be intelligent, they needed to colour in the full spectrum instead of just one side of the rainbow.🌈


Traditionally, I think intelligence has always been a matter of who can solve the more complex math problem, who can write the more sophisticated physics paper, who’s better at chess, etc. And while yes, doing these things still requires a great intellectual ability, I don’t believe those should be the only indicators of pure intelligence. (Btw the chess correlation to intelligence thing is absolute bs. Source: Just trust me guys).

Some of the smartest people I know are those that can instantly read and analyse a room, and evaluate people’s feelings and emotions. Some of these people have a charisma that will attract even the most introverted and shy people around them, and help them open up to others. To me, that is an incredible feat and requires a great deal of social skill and confidence.

Other people I consider ‘smart’ or ‘clever’, are those that can learn things extremely fast.

This is a rather embarrassing thing to admit, but I’m pretty much hopeless with instructions. While everyone needs to read exam paper instructions 2 or 3 times, I have to take almost double the amount of time just to understand what’s going on.

Even in TV shows and movies, whenever a character is explaining a plan/instructions to the other characters (and the audience), I’m always left behind and have to pause for a minute to wrap my head around the words again.

Thus, I see people who can quickly and concisely understand instructions, and then immediately apply them in real life, as truly amazing people.

Or, I suppose I’m just dumb. That’s always the more plausible explanation 🙂


In conclusion, I see intelligence as a combination of many different factors. Not only does it include academic ability, but also emotional and social ability, common sense, and quick and adapative thinking.

What are your views on intelligence? I’d honestly love to hear them.

Thanks for reading this far if you have, I really appreciate it. Stay safe 👋🏻

4 thoughts on “What is Intelligence?

Add yours

  1. Haha I knew exactly which video you were talking about just from the memes… this is an interesting topic and one that I actually have been contemplating recently as well. I think that “intelligence” is how fast/well you learn things, but that this is not the only metric that makes someone “smart” or successful. So there are lots of factors that affect you apart from pure intelligence, like emotional intelligence, street smarts, drive, etc.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Haha, glad someone knows which video I’m talking about.
      And yes, I fully agree with all your points on intelligence. It encapsulates so many other factors like you said, and shouldn’t be the sole metric for success.
      Thanks for commenting!

      Like

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