Education and intelligence are two very different things.
Education is something that you earn while studying a topic. It is the process of acquiring knowledge.
Intelligence, on the other hand, is something that you are born with. In other words, it is the base ability of your brain to reason and make decisions.
Being well-spoken or having more knowledge than someone else does not mean that you are smarter than them. It simply means that you have learned more than they have.
Some of the smartest people I’ve met did not have a high level of education.
Because I grew up in a working class area in Ireland, I have met a lot of intelligent people over the years who weren’t particularly well-educated.
For one reason or another, a lot of them did not get the chance to reach university. In fact, many of them dropped out of school.
These people are not well-spoken or knowledgeable. They just have a noticeable “sharpness” about them that is often difficult to describe using words.
If you have ever met someone like this, then you will know exactly what I am talking about.
For example, they are often frighteningly fast at analyzing other people. By the time someone has finished speaking, they have already worked out what that person’s ulterior motive is.
Sometimes, it’s an obscure motive that most “normal” people would need an evidence board and two days of detective work to figure out.
These people are so creative and they can come up with complex ideas and jokes that will make you pause and question how their brain works.
They learn quickly, they’re open-minded, they’re exceptionally aware of everything that is going on around them and they are extremely curious.
All in all, they are just so much sharper than normal people.
Knowledge vs Intelligence.
If someone is well-spoken and knowledgeable, it does not necessarily mean that they are “smart”.
A person with an average level of intelligence can learn a great amount of information by simply putting in the time and effort. They can also grow their vocabulary and improve their speaking skills.
However, intelligence is a completely different thing. Typically speaking, you cannot increase your brain’s ability to reason and make decisions. You can practice brain games, drink plenty of water, get your eight hours of sleep and eat a healthy diet. However, all of this will only optimize what you currently have. It will not make you smarter.
In three months time, you will be entering a race. However, you do not own the fastest car.
There are two other vehicles in the competition that are noticeably more powerful than yours.
Unfortunately, there is nothing that you can do about this. Consequently, you decide to focus on training. Day in and day out, you turn up at the race track and practice.
Meanwhile, the drivers who own the faster cars only train one or two days per week. And when they do show up, they fail to put 100% of their effort into it.
This is because they know that their superior engines will give them an advantage.
In this analogy, the car is your intelligence and the training is your education.
You can become a better driver, but you cannot make your car go any faster.
If you train hard enough, it is very possible that you will win the race. This is because hard work will often “close the gap” on ability.
On the other hand, you might still lose if one of the cars is vastly more powerful than yours.
“Hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work.”
Many things that we attribute to intelligence are actually indicators of other characteristics.
For example, there are many “A students” who are of average intelligence. And there are many successful people out there who aren’t particularly sharp.
This is because characteristics such as discipline and work ethic are usually more important when it comes to doing well in school and building a good career.
A person with an IQ of 135 is bright. And it is true that they have an advantage. However, the person with an average IQ can still eclipse them through work rate alone.
All in all, you cannot rely on your intelligence to bring you success. It must come accompanied with other characteristics.