There are plenty of very intelligent people in the world, people with high IQs. Some of them can recite classic literature, some can do complicated math equations in their head and some are running a successful business. But a lot of those highly intelligent people fail to put a dent in the world.
Why does that happen? Why do they fail in spite of having such high IQs? These questions were answered by a young entrepreneur Steve Jobs.
We usually estimate how successful a person is going to be by combining IQ and EQ together. But that doesn’t necessarily guarantee success in life. Also, this makes it convenient to blame low IQ for our failures in life, as IQ and EQ are basically an inborn characteristic.
A lot of people with high IQs are living fairly modest lives so it cannot be said that the measure is accurate.
What Steve Jobs Thinks About this
In a very old video of entrepreneur Steve Jobs, he tried to explain the characteristics of a smart person. Most of the people listening to him at the time must have thought that Steve is about to say something along the lines of “thinking differently” and “standing alone” etc.
But as we now know, Steve said something entirely different.
“A lot of [what it means to be smart] is the ability to zoom out like you’re in a city and you could look at the whole thing from the 80th floor down at the city. And while other people are trying to figure out how to get from point A to point B reading these stupid little maps, you could just see it in front of you. You can see the whole thing”,
said a young Steve Jobs.
Being the extraordinary entrepreneur he is, Steve Jobs observed that the thoughts that easily come to some people, the connections they make and the logics they create might seem confusing to others. And all this, just because of the “zooming-out” and getting a complete view of what is going on.
How to Become Smarter
We can all understand how we need to see the picture clearly and “zoom-out” to make better decisions. But we don’t exactly know how to do it or how to be a smarter version of ourselves.
To explain this, Steve says,
“You have to not have the same bag of experiences as everyone else does, or else you’re gonna make the same connections and you won’t be innovative. […] You might want to think about going to Paris and being a poet for a few years. Or you might want to go to a third-world country — I’d highly advise that. Falling in love with two people at once. Walt Disney took LSD, do you know that?”
In 2015, a study showed that experience was the most efficient predictor when it came to jobs that require creativity. This study proved what Jobs said years back, that a person who is open to new experiences will find new and interesting ways to deal with situations. As a result, gaining a new perspective, and this is a game of gaining a broader perspective.
His idea also makes it pretty clear why so many entrepreneurs are keen readers. The founder of Shopify, Tobias Lütke was also addressed as one of the most aggressive readers by Tim Ferriss.
Some books are not valued by the readers for the content, but how exactly they shape the reader’s perspective and as a result, change their lives.
Books are probably the easiest way to widen your horizons and look beyond what you see right now. It is especially a book for introverts, to gain knowledge and new perspective. Reading gives you a lot of knowledge, it can be safely said that a person who reads a 100 books about business development can spot trends much better than a person who doesn’t read at all.
Experience is the Best Teacher
Now, you necessarily don’t have to take LSD like Walt Disney did, or any drugs for that matter of fact. Experiences can be gained by talking to more and more people, extraversion is a great input in gaining experiences. Just be open to new things.
Talking to more people, challenging your core principles and methods. Learning new ways to solve a single problem and creating new problems and solving them are just a few methods to actually get smarter as time passes.
You don’t learn to get up unless you fall down first, so don’t be afraid to fall on your face. Experience teaches you everything. Most introverts find it hard to become entrepreneurs because they are a bit afraid to fail in front of so many people, the thing they don’t realize is nobody is perfect and everyone has to fall someday.
To be truly smart, you have to gain rare experiences that none in your tribe have gained. That is how you will stand out from the crowd.