Wisdom vs. Intelligence (And How You Can Harness Both)

I usually write about more practical matters when it comes to thinking. Business and Entrepreneurship, Creativity, Leadership, Productivity.

However, this topic came to me out of the blue and I think it would bring a lot of value to raise it, even for my audiences that are more used to my usual discussions.

The subject of Wisdom vs. Intelligence is a fascinating one, and if you consider it, it’s actually highly relevant to all of the fields I have just mentioned.

Let’s first tackle the conventional definitions of wisdom and intelligence.

We’ll then elaborate on their differences, and finally we will move on to how you can harness your own powerful and practical wisdom today.


Wisdom Vs. Intelligence: Conventional Definitions


Intelligence is conventionally understood to be the ability to acquire knowledge, often in an academic setting.

It also encompasses the ability to apply this acquired knowledge in the form of skills, when faced with problems.

A person is said to be intelligent when they are highly skilled with logic and analysis.

IQ tests offer us one of the best ways to measure intelligence in a purely conventional sense.


Looking at the conventional definition of wisdom, it’s a lot more about the experience that you acquire over time, throughout life’s journey.

Wisdom has a lot more of the human components involved with it. Understanding human nature, being sensitive to others, and being able to self-reflect all fall under wisdom.

Wisdom can also contain paradoxical elements, making it less tangible than intelligence alone. Consider ‘the wisdom of the fool’ for example. I’ll do an entire article on that another time!


Acquisition of Wisdom Vs. Intelligence

There are some key differences between wisdom and intelligence when it comes to how we acquire them.

Some of us are lucky enough to be innately intelligent, but intelligence can also be acquired, or indeed increased, through both formal and informal education.

You can ‘practise’ your intelligence skills by performing demanding tasks, or playing games that challenge your mental skills, like crosswords, sudoku, chess, etc.

On the other hand, you can only really acquire wisdom by going through life and gaining experience, adding your own reflections and introspections along the way.

This includes you facing up to life’s best teachers: Failure and Suffering.

It can be interesting to look at how each concept correlates with age. As we continue to age, wisdom continues to grow, whereas intelligence usually reaches its peak in early adulthood and then flatlines.


Applications of Wisdom Vs. Intelligence

Intelligence is great for demanding tasks and challenges that require analytical skill and problem-solving abilities.

Rapid thinking requires intelligence to grease its gears.

That’s why, in today’s day and age, we are starting to implement Artificial Intelligence, because it is better than all of us when it comes to rapid thinking.

Wisdom comes more into play when you need to make big decisions in life that require multiple strands of nuanced understanding, including a healthy dose of humanity.

Intelligence alone is actually surprisingly useless for these situations!

We all know about Artificial Intelligence, but have you ever heard of Artificial Wisdom? I haven’t either…


Wisdom, Intelligence & Ego

I find it particularly interesting to look at the differences between wisdom and intelligence when it comes to ego.

Intelligence can easily lead to arrogance in a person. We’ve all seen someone who acts out a sense of superiority because of their excellent academic credentials.

Of course it doesn’t always happen, but this often comes with a sense of entitlement.

Wisdom on the other hand, comes with a healthy dose of humility. There is no ego in wisdom, because it always takes a more holistic perspective.


How To Harness Your Wisdom Today

Now that we have mused a little on the differences between wisdom and intelligence in a conventional sense, let’s do something practically useful by re-framing our discussion.

It’s time to get the best of both worlds, and integrate wisdom and intelligence so that you can start making a huge difference in your life and your business or work.

There are many ways to reach wisdom, and Effective Intelligence is a great option, because it gives you a language for achieving wisdom quickly and practically.


Redefining Wisdom For Your Success

For the purposes of this article, and for the sake of your success, I’d like to be so bold as to redefine wisdom.

Take this idea and run with it for me. It just might take you somewhere meaningful.

Think of wisdom as consciously controlled intelligence. Wisdom is the rudder that steers intelligence where you need it to go at any given point, depending on what you are trying to achieve.

In other words, wisdom is Effective Intelligence. Intelligence by itself is all well and good, but it isn’t always effective. Wisdom guides intelligence to where it needs to be, making it uncommonly effective.


How To Achieve Wisdom (Effective Intelligence)

In order to make your intelligence effective by steering it with wisdom, you first need to be able to see it and grasp it.

The only way to achieve this is by using a model of thinking.

Effective Intelligence gives you that model, and along with it an entire language that enables you to conceptualise all the nuts and bolts of how you are thinking at any given time.

It is only once you have brought your thinking processes into the conscious realm that you can steer them where they need to go to tackle demanding tasks and complex problems.

The first step to reaching this level of consciousness is to understand your thinking profile, which brings along with it all of the preferences and biases that influence all of your outcomes – good or bad.

Use the Rhodes’ Thinking-Intentions Profile today to shorten your time to wisdom by decades.

And speaking of decades, Effective Intelligence has almost five of them under its belt.

With almost 50 years of research and practical use in both multinational corporations and small businesses, it has been helping people get the results they desperately want, all through the enabling of conscious thinking.

It’s your turn to benefit – click here to find out more.

See you soon!

How YOU think has a direct effect on the results you get. Want to find out more? Get your FREE Key Strategic Insights today.

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