Smart or thoughtful

Smart: Having or showing a quick-witted intelligence. (adjective)

Thoughtful: Showing careful consideration or attention. (adjective)

Somebody I once knew and was influenced by used to rank and judge everyone they met by IQ – or intelligence quotient. As a consequence, I did too. The way I saw it, there was nothing more important than being smart. As long as that criteria was met, the rest would be figured out.

As I reflect on this phase, I realize how much this way of thought screams of a fixed mindset. When you focus on smarts, you assume intelligence is fixed. It is a world view that encourages judgment and opposes learning and growth.

The funny thing about world views is that it takes a really long time to completely get rid of them. I caught the remnants of this world view a few weeks ago when I reflected on something I did. I inadvertently asked myself – “Was that the smart thing to do?”

“No, but it was the thoughtful thing.”

And, it was. The outcome hadn’t worked out as I’d hoped. But, I’d given the process every bit of attention, consideration and engagement. When I attempted to think of myself as smart, I spent way too much time analyzing and fretting about outcomes.

I don’t now. Being smart matters little to me.

I’d pick thoughtful over smart any day of the week.