Philosophy Words

Stop Confusing Intelligence and Experience

Has someone ever called you smart? I will brag a bit and say I have been
called that a few times. The thing is, its just not true. It is not true
because people are confusing intelligence with experience. Intelligence, as was
once described to me, is the ability for a person to turn the abstract into the
concrete. The more intelligent your are, the less information you need to solve
a problem. An intelligent person can look at an issue and, with no prior
experience in that domain, solve it. The smarter you are the less information
you need and the quicker you are in solving an issue. To give a concrete
example a smart person might not be able to start their car one day. Not
knowing anything about cars, they start to investigate, beginning with the
ignition all the way through until they find a problem. A experienced person
recognizes a problem and solves it based on past experience. To use the same
example their car will not start, but they recognize the symptoms. In the past
they had a car that had a similar, but not exactly the same problem. They can
rely on that past information and associate it with the problem at hand. In
other words they know x, how does x relate to y?

In both cases the solution is the same which may lead some to think that
these attributes (intelligence and experience) are interchangeable, but that is
not the case. Intelligent people solve problems by there ability to quickly
understand how systems works. Experienced people solve problems by using their
past knowledge and experimenting off of what they know.

It is a nice compliment for sure, and it does wonders for my ego, but it
will not be true for some time. It takes a while for me to study systems and
understand how they work. My skill comes from my ability to remember how I
solved past problems and relate them to the problem at hand. I have worked with
truly frighteningly intelligent individuals. It is a disservice to their skill
to place me amongst them. Many more years of service are required before I
reach their level.

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