The Risk of Smarts
You don’t have to look too far to see in our society that many people become financially successful without requiring great intelligence. We also can see people who are very intelligent who struggle to find success. I don’t think success is tied directly to wealth, but I also think our perception varies, and it is important to establish a personal meaning for ourselves.
My version of success is tied with my ability to help people and have a purposeful life. I believe we should be helping each other to live a fulfilling life. What I see is the connected world is infected by some human desire for progress. To what end and to what progress, I don’t know but it is something that we as humans must do. It’s an abstract concept. A friend of mine used to joke about why we climb mountains “because they are there.” I am thinking, maybe we should leave the mountains alone, they are better without us. This global virus has continued to teach us about the damage we are doing in the name of progress. Our action or lack of action. As I interact with people and watch what is going on in the world, I am starting to believe my perspective is borderline abnormal. When I think about the people who are in power across the world, their motivation and behavior, doesn’t seem to make sense. It just seems inconsistent.
I have come to believe there is a “goldilocks” zone of productive intelligence. Very smart people with high levels of intelligence have the ability to understand and see risk. Risk comprehension creates a level of fear associated with risks and an understanding of consequences. If you had the ability to mentally map out all of the risks associated with every action you were to take, how would that impact your decision making? If the assertion is about the more intelligent you are, the more risk you can see and understand, the ability to understand and think through the variables may limit or inhibit the ability to make a decision. An interesting read is https://addicted2success.com/success-advice/10-reasons-why-intelligent-people-never-achieve-success/.
“We are dying from overthinking. We are slowly killing ourselves by thinking about everything. Think. Think. Think. You can never trust the human mind anyway. It’s a death trap.” – Anthony Hopkins
When people have moderate or average intelligence, they can only see a limited number of outcomes associated with risk. They may have knowledge that risk exists but not have the ability to mentally walk through it. They have enough information and enough ignorance. These are the quiet people generally living day to day watching the world go by.
There are people with low to moderate intelligence who are extremely successful because they take action regardless of the risk. I think you may know some public figures who take action without thinking. Drinking bleach won’t disinfect the blood or maybe it will but it would also kill the person drinking it.
“Productive intellect” is the human intelligence required to meet or achieve a purposeful outcome. A purposeful outcome based on the benefit to individuals and to the masses. Some people forget how much we as individuals depend on each other. Think about the last time you made yourself clothing as an example. We are living in historic times which require action. If we are going to survive, we can’t ignore risks. We also shouldn’t be tethered and stunned by them. We need to have a surge of input from the quiet people in the middle. I’d argue that it’s been far too long for the average person watching the world go by to do nothing. If and when we realize our interconnectedness, we can take the next steps. The time is now for the folks with the porridge that’s just right.
What can we do? I have some ideas but I’d like to know what you think as well.