I'm not as smart as they thought

Aug. 1, 2011
Relationship intelligence is critical to succeed in any aspect of life since all endeavors require positive interaction with other human beings. Without the ability to elicit cooperation and action from others a given plan is doomed from the start.

I've been accused of being one of the smartest people anyone (who really doesn't know me) has ever met, to which I honestly and humbly reply that I've personally met thousands of folks much smarter than little old me.

If the flattery persists, then I make the point that if they want to find a half dozen smarter people than me, all they have to do is go down to the local homeless shelter and start talking with some of the denizens there and obvious levels of greater intelligences will manifest immediately.

After all, intelligence does not guarantee success in life, or business or personal relationships, nor does lack of preclude having wonderful accomplishments in any self-chosen endeavor. And there definitely are different kinds of intelligence that are useful in certain situations, but not in others.

Relationship intelligence is critical to succeed in any aspect of life since all endeavors require positive interaction with other human beings. Without the ability to elicit cooperation and action from others a given plan is doomed from the start. Very few accomplishments in life are truly done by one’s self alone, almost all needing others to help you along the way. Without relationship intelligence it would be impossible to ascertain exactly who could help you and why they would do so. I’m not saying be cold blooded about trying to handicap possible friendships in your life to where all are chosen by who you think may or may not be able to help you along the way. I am saying that having a clue or two about how to get along with others most of the time in most situations is a very good thing indeed.

Possession of higher functioning intelligence, such as the ability to understand and use principles of math and science, which many would consider to be a primary, but not totally inclusive definition of what it means to be really smart, is usually requisite in any story of success. Even within chaos there is always a certain chaotic order, and having the ability to see patterns within the noise of any system is an incredibly valuable asset.

The ability to communicate effectively through speech and written word is also within the pantheon of higher functioning intelligences and many would argue to be the greatest talent of all. You could be the hardest working and smartest worker or leader in the world, but if you can't communicate your ideas to others, then how can you convince others that your cause is worthy? For example, how could you take advantage of your native relationship intelligence to leverage the force-multiplier of others coming aboard your project-ship to accomplish your ultimate goal?

But, if you're normally a very unpleasant person or just a total jerk to be around, and therefore lack an appropriate level of emotional intelligence, having tons of relationship, higher functioning or communicative intelligences would be moot, and you'd probably be a very unhappy person too.

Emotional intelligence is not about controlling your inner personal feelings. It's about having the ability to recognize and control your interpersonal expressions and interactions with others. You can have all the hard analysis math and business skills as well as the abilities to both charm others and communicate well your game plan, but if under the first smell of pressure or challenge to your authority you throw a cussing fit then forget it.

Myself, I consider someone’s street smarts to be the highest of all the intelligences. How do I define being street smart?

The world-renowned theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking has the street smarts to create visionary paths to our futures in the universe. Thomas Edison was so full of street smarts that he created the foundations for the modern age that we live in today. Pablo Picasso was one of the greatest communicators ever, using his street smarts to drive his art, which redefined a part of what it means to be human. Ernest Hemingway's well-won street smarts and simple words expressed changed how stories are told since then.

Being street smart by my humble definition is the ability to recognize, analyze and then solve problems presented as obstacles to a project's or one's success. There are many kinds of intelligence some of which are talked about more than others. But without the ability to see roadblocks ahead on the road of life and then to efficiently figure out how to go around, over or through them, continued progress on a project or one's own life would be simply for naught.

Kent Craig is a second-generation mechanical contractor with unlimited Master's licenses in boilers, air conditioning, heating and plumbing. You may contact him via e-mail at: [email protected].

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