The difference between stupidity and genius is that genius has its limits
How Intelligence is Determined
A while back people used to believe that the sole determinant of a person’s intelligence was genes. Although genes do have an impact on a person’s intelligence and personality it only accounts for a small percent of what makes you, you.
One study tried to show just how much genes play a role in IQ scores. It looked at 500,000 genetic markers in over 3,500 participants. The research found that the genetic markers accounted for 40 to 50 percent of the difference in participants IQ scores. It seems like genes are indeed a factor but does not show the full picture.
A child’s development also plays a huge role in our intelligence. If you have two children and one is good a reading and the other is not; will they eventually even out? The answer is probably not. The child who is better at reading will likely keep on reading because that child gets the extra confidence boost of being better than everyone else. The child will also likely hang out with other children who are good at reading and build a bigger vocabulary.
In contrast the other child will face the opposite problem. This child will feel discouraged compared to the other kids. If reading really is a struggle it will be less rewarding which will cause the child to turn away. The child’s vocabulary will stagnant and he will hang out with friends who have a similar reading skill. This is a common thing that happens. We tend to hang out with people similar to us to feel better about our insecurities.
The IQ Test
The first IQ test was developed around 1900 by Alfred Binet. Today there are seven IQ tests which are used as tools to measure a child’s intelligence – But are they effective?
The answer is no. No they are not. Children often score different on different IQ tests. A person can also achieve different results at different ages. If a person is naturally gifted with intelligence you would expect their IQ to remain mostly the same despite age.
Even if IQ tests did correctly measure intelligence that is only one factor in someone’s intelligence. IQ tests fail to measure things like creativity, mindset, determination, willpower, values and other illogical things. If anything IQ tests hold children back. By labeling a child as slow or disabled the child will likely act in that way. The child will take slower courses because the child is not ‘intelligent’ enough for the normal ones and will be held back in life.
Not only does IQ tests not measure creativity it also does not measure a child’s willingness to practice. Despite intelligence, a child who reads all the time or plays an instrument all the time will obviously trump natural gifts. It takes practice to learn a skill and to excel at any skill you need deliberate practice.
A study conducted in the Music Academy of West Berlin found that the most important factor in top performers was deliberate practice. The best ones practiced around 7,400 hours before they were even 18 years old. That’s about the same as a middle-aged violinist playing at international-level orchestras.
So another important factor is the mindset. What kind of mindset do you have which pushes you to practice more than others?
The Two Mindsets
There are two mindsets at play here. The fixed mindset, these people believe everyone is born with abilities at fixed level. If this person fails at a science test that person will believe that he is not good at science. In contrast, if this person gets told constantly he is good at science he will believe that he is good at science because he is just gifted.
A person with a growth mindset believes that they can improve on their skills and abilities. They believe in effort more than gift and interpret failures as mere setbacks and signs that they did not work hard enough. These people are more likely to overcome obstacles, try new things, and be less affected by failure.
A person with a growth mindset tends to be more successful. Try to adopt this growth mindset as much as possible. This mindset that anything is possible and failures are just setbacks. It is an important determinate to success.
What about creativity? This is hard to measure but it is very important nonetheless. Creativity is what creates new ideas and inventions in our society. It is about finding new ways to solve a problem. IQ tests simply measure our straightforward, logical thinking but creativity is not straightforward thinking. To my knowledge a successful creativity test has not been created but what we do know is that creativity is not linked to high IQ scores.
In 1921 Lewis Terman attempted to prove that high IQ scores correlates with creativity. He tested 168,000 children with an IQ test and only chose those who score a 135 or higher on the test. Terman found that these children were not only smarter but healthier, taller and more socially adept. These children, with high IQs, would come to write a total of 2,000 scientific papers, 60 books, over 230 patents, 33 novels and 375 short stories. However, none of them invented anything new, or revolutionized anything. They may have been smart but they were not creative.
Two children, who were removed from the study because they scored below a 135 went on to win the Nobel Prize in Physics.
The Theory of Personal Intelligence
The problem with IQ tests and the way we measure intelligence is that we do not measure the mindset. We don’t measure the actions people will take when faced with real problems which test their integrity. How much will these people pursue their goals? How willing are they to overcome obstacles set in front of them?
If we want to measure intelligence and success we have to stop measuring children with numbers and grades. Although straightforward intelligence is important it is not the full picture. What’s more important is willingness to practice and pursue a single subject or goal. Schools should focus more on coaching students in pursuing their own goals instead of giving a broader education. The Future Project does just this. It pairs students who have an idea for improving their community with mentors so that they can make their idea a reality. Check it out!
Have a great day!
DiscoveryNews(DNews) did a great video on whether an IQ test is really a good measure of intelligence. Spoiler alert! Its not! But if you are still not convinced you can check it out below. I personally love DNews.