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Knowing #2:
How Smart Are You?

How smart are you?
How dumb are you?
How do you know?


DIFFERENT KINDS OF INTELLIGENCE

Here are five ways to evaluate intelligence:
I.Q. - Intelligence Quotient
E.Q. - Emotional Quotient
Speed of Comprehension
Retention
Usable Intelligence


I.Q. - INTELLIGENCE QUOTIENT

You can learn your I.Q. by taking a test
that measures general knowledge, reasoning, and math skills.
A score of 100 is considered average.
Your score tells you how many people have a higher I.Q., and how many have a lower I.Q.

IQ is an excellent measure of how well you can use your brain
to decide about concrete reality.
It doesn't measure how well you apply the knowledge you have.

IQ doesn't change much.
You are pretty much stuck with the IQ you have.


E.Q. - EMOTIONAL QUOTIENT

E.Q. is more of an idea than a measurable attribute.
If there is a widely accepted test to measure E.Q.,
I'm not aware of it.
E.Q. is a good idea, but it is in its infancy in terms of clinical measurement.

The idea is simply that since our emotions help us to decide
how much importance to put on each bit of data,
it would be good to look closely at how we make those decisions.

People in therapy continually improve their E.Q.
It's a natural byproduct of all that talk about feelings and reality.
So E.Q. can be improved,
although the degree of possible improvement depends a lot on your starting point.


SPEED OF COMPREHENSION

It's rather easy to notice how quickly people comprehend.
The next time you are talking to someone,
look closely at her or his face while you are making a statement.
Notice that their eyes widen or they release a frown
at the precise moment they comprehend your message.

We can improve our speed of comprehension a little through practice,
but we probably can't make a big improvement.

(By the way, no matter how smart you are
you can greatly improve the flow of conversation
simply by hearing what the other person is saying
instead of mentally rehearsing what you are going to say next.)


RETENTION

It doesn't matter how much you can learn
if it's not in your brain when you need it.
And we retain only a tiny portion of all we've learned.

Since I'm now eligible for senior discounts at a few places,
I like to believe the old theory that although we forget more as we get older
we also become wiser,
since all that experience helps us to see life's overall patterns more easily.
Regardless of my own beliefs (or wishful thinking),
it is clear that memory declines with age
and that we can't stop it from happening.


USEABLE INTELLIGENCE

We each know a lot about a few things,
but we know nothing,
or close to nothing,
about everything else.
Our IQ, EQ, comprehension, and retention
don't matter much at all compared to the question of
whether we use what we know
in the real world of people and things.

Imagine that you can watch a video of your last few days.
Did you use what you know?
Did you hide what you know from others because you feared embarrassment?
Did you apply what you know to concrete tasks,
or did you just think about what you know and complain
that "they" ought to do something about it?

Try to notice every reason you have
for not applying what you know.
Determine how many of these reasons are based on
irrational insecurity and unfair comparisons
that you use habitually.

Notice which of your fearful fabrications you can toss away forever.

WHAT CAN YOU DO?

Your IQ isn't going to change.
Your EQ can probably only be improved a little.
You can't increase your speed of comprehension much.
And you can't do a lot about the natural rate of decline in what you remember.
Besides all that, you know almost nothing at all about most areas of life!
What can you do?

You can accept the human condition
and stop worrying about how you compare
- to test scores, to yourself in the past, or to others.
You can focus on using
what you know right now, today,
to your own best advantage.


SEE ALL OTHER TOPICS RELATED TO "KNOWING."

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Write To Me, I Want To Hear From You!
Tony Schirtzinger, Therapist (Milwaukee) 

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