I recently came across this article Steve Job’s Definition of “Smart” will Reprogram Your Idea of Intelligence from Alan Trapulionis which explains around Steve’s Jobs’ idea of smartness. The infographic above is my attempt to give some visual interpretation to Steve’s idea.

Who is smart?

Smartness is usually judged through IQ or the ability to do well in the exams, however, you will see many of these smart people from school or university struggle when it comes to practical life. The education system teaches how to get better at doing exams, solving questions which makes you do well in short sprints, however, practical life is more of a marathon where perfecting smaller things at zoomed-in level do not matter as much and what matters more is the ability to think from a bigger perspective without getting discouraged by failures or setbacks or not keeping up to pace with others in the short-term.

Many smart people end up not achieving their potential because it is this ability to zoom out and look at things from wider perspective that our system does not develop. You will find many smart people with high IQs working for people with comparatively not as high IQ mainly because of the mentioned reason.

Steve, in the following video, shares his views about what makes someone smart:

According to Steve “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.”

Steve summarize the whole concept very well. Point A to point B for many of us is all about going to work Monday to Friday, look forward to weekend, pay the rent and keep repeating the cycle. Problem with having high IQ and being smart in conventional terms as we measure today is that your path is pretty much given to you (do well at school, go to best college, then university and then get a great job) and you get tangled up so much in turning each of these handles at different stages of your life that you forget to look at the wider perspective. Those who manage to end up widening this perspective and look beyond points A and B are the smart people.

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