This Is What Being Intelligent Means Because It’s More Than Getting Good Grades

Instagram / Allegra Messina

Being intelligent is more than getting a high SAT score and attending an Ivy League college. It’s more than being able to list out all of the state capitals and using six-syllable words. It’s more than being a good student. It’s more than being book smart.

Being intelligent means being open-minded. It means reading different genres of books to expand your knowledge. It means flying to other countries to experience different cultures. It means having a thirst for learning new things.

Being intelligent means having a special skill set. It means knowing how to fix a truck or build a roof or install flooring. It means knowing how to paint a picture or write a novel or play the guitar. It means knowing how to do something that involves real skill.

Being intelligent means thinking your thoughts through before you speak. It means knowing when you should stay quiet and knowing when it’s time to say your piece. It means analyzing a situation and acting accordingly.

Being intelligent means realizing that you have flaws, that you don’t actually know everything. It means admitting when you’re wrong. It means listening to both sides of an argument so you can understand the other person’s point.

Being intelligent means being able to problem solve. It means knowing how to get from point A to point B in your town after coming across a detour. It means knowing how to deal with an overflowing toilet or a computer that has a blue screen.

Being intelligent means knowing how to read people. It means being able to look at someone’s body language and tell if they’re in a good or bad mood. It means knowing the difference between when someone is looking you in the eyes and telling you the truth and when they are bullshitting you.

Being intelligent means having common sense. It means researching the news story you just heard instead of assuming that it must be the truth. It means using birth control when you sleep with someone. It means doing the right thing instead of the easy thing.

Being intelligent means knowing what you can and cannot handle. It means knowing when to put the vodka bottle down and grab a drink of water. It means knowing when your workout is taking up too much of your energy. It means knowing when your body has had enough and it’s time for you to settle down.

Being intelligent means having a moral code and sticking to it. It means never drinking and driving. It means never stealing or cheating. It means doing the right thing, because the wrong thing will hurt you in the end.

Being intelligent means being responsible. It means showing up to your job on time. It means paying your bills as soon as you get them. It means knowing what you’ve promised to contribute to society and following through.

There are a million different types of intelligence. You might be book smart. You might be street smart. You might know how to install a pool, but not how to solve calculus — or you might have a master’s degree, and can’t figure out how to change a tire.

You’re good at some things. You’re bad at some things. Everyone’s in the same boat, so never doubt your intelligence.

You’re smarter than you think. TC mark

Holly Riordan is the author of Lifeless Souls, available here.

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