Using Analytical Intelligence

We all have native intelligence. That’s a fact. We also have different kinds of intelligence. That’s also a fact. Some of us are smarter about music, some others about dance etc.

All of us have a part of our brain that is analytical. Again, some of us are more analytical than the rest. This plays a huge role in the most common means of measuring intelligence – Intelligence Quotient or IQ. Analytical intelligence is conventionally equated to being smart.

This is how the world works. I’ve come to accept it.

I have a problem with a consequence of this though.

Thanks to our ability to identify logical/analytical intelligence with smartness, smart folks are encouraged to poke holes in theories as they grow up. The smart guys in class are out to make the teacher look stupid, to make their fellow classmates look inadequate, to use their thinking ability to find logical flaws and criticize everything they come across. Nothing is good enough. Why, even the great Steve Jobs made ‘This is shit’  fashionable.

The smart folks grow up and become parents who also teach their kids to be smart by criticizing them, teaching them to get tougher about criticism and criticize others. Naturally, as they grow up, their kids are taught to ask themselves the ‘what am I doing wrong’ question the moment they are pulled up. Why wouldn’t they? Every time they try, they’re told in diplomatic tones that what they do is crap anyway. It’s safer to not do anything. And it’s cool to criticize.

When these smart folk were growing up, they were so smart that most others couldn’t keep up. And others around them who did stuff were the morons. They were made to feel cool when they made someone around them feel inadequate, when they pointed out a 100 flaws in what the others around them were doing. They were happy to sit back and criticize.

But, of course, they are smart. That’s what smart folks do, isn’t it? They can spot weaknesses faster than you can talk and point them out to you critically.

Now, let’s flip this around for a moment.

What if we changed this?

What if we started looking for stuff that works instead of everything else that doesn’t work?

What if we defined smartness by the ability to identify and encourage strengths and display of strengths?

What if we defined intelligence in our head as the ability to create, to make?

What if we defined smartness by the ability to ask ourselves the ‘What am I doing right?’, ‘What can I learn?’ questions instead of the traditional ‘What am I doing wrong?’ question?

What if we encouraged those who were out there trying, and making stuff? Instead of laughing at their initiative or sending them emails pointing out a 100 flaws in what they did. Or spend time building on what they have done by helping them?

What if we used our intelligence to focus on strengths? Instead of weaknesses and flaws.

And most importantly, what if we spent all our energy encouraging the Eagle to fly instead of pointing out that it can’t walk, swim, talk, act or dance?

What would the world be like then?

A better place, I think.

Ah. But I catch you thinking that this is wistful. That this will never happen. I can almost feel you slouching in your chair as you read this because you feel this is idealistic stuff that’s good to read once a while and that the world will not change, ever.

But it will.

It has to change in our minds first.

Yours and mine.

And I’m working on it. I’ve screwed up many many times on this exact issue in the past. More times than I can count even.

And you know what I find? It’s hard work to play with my own wiring.

But, I’ve also learnt that it can be done.

And.. I’m sure it’ll be worth it. If not immediately for those around me, at least for my kids.

We have got to believe.. that it’ll be worth it.

Let’s change the way we use our intelligence… because we can.