It’s not what you have…it’s how you use it.

From "Howdie's Theories":

Some people believe that intelligence is innate. You are either gifted or you aren’t. Smart is a property of who you are. Others believe intelligence is malleable.

The first crowd is scared of tasks that cause hard work because expending effort implies you are dumb. If your intelligence is innate, and you want to be intelligent, then you will tempted to be defensive about the state of your intelligence. Not only will you tend to avoid tasks from which you could learn (because the effort expended might make you look/feel dumb) but you may also handicap yourself from success by purposely not putting forth all of your effort. If you tried and failed, but didn’t really care, then you cannot be faulted for being dumb.

I've always thought of it like this:

"Intelligence" is what you have; "smarts" is how you use it.

A person can have a very high IQ, score high in standardized tests, but have so little skill at applying that brain power that he/she ends up being not-very-smart.

on the other hand...

A person can have a very average IQ, hate standardized testing, but have so much "common sense" that she/he grows to be  one of the wisest people around.

It's not what you've's how you use it.

This being Independence Day...

The British military was the pride of the king.  One of the most feared on earth.  Well trained, well supplied...and up against the colonies.

Admittedly they were far from home...but they were fighting a "home-grown" militia.

The minute-men.

Well-trained and skilled members of the military up against farmers who would grab their hunting rifles in a minutes notice.

The "red-coats", using time-honored military "intelligence"

The "militia", using ad-hoc "sneaky" techniques.

It's not what you've got, it's how you use it.
(This post is set for all comments to be moderated until I return from vacation)

Share Button

2 thoughts on “It’s not what you have…it’s how you use it.

  1. Ellen,

    I think you have a good point and I basically agree, even though my instinct has always been the opposite of that. I have instinctively covered up any weakness, hoping that others would not discover that I am not innately intelligent. Silly, no?

    I think the key question for the authors of that chapter was what effect does it have on the person who believes that intelligence is innate vs. the person who believes more like you do. They find that the person who believes it is innate, a property of who they are, actually ends up handicapping himself or herself. I think they would be happy to hear you believe as you do and would predict a happier and more productive life than if you believed the opposite.

  2. 😉 thanks for stopping by! hope to see you back.

    (my kids, unfortunately - have IQ's that are quite high...but don't seem to want to apply it. I don't like that.)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Comments links could be nofollow free.