High IQ – so what?
Is it all about High IQ – or is something missing?
We’ve always felt that a “high IQ” was quite incomplete when it comes to overall competence in the world. Characteristics like being a Polymath can have much more worth, depending of course on the overall circumstances.
We also know some people who claim they’re smart – even by getting accepted to and completing some higher forms of education. It turns out that they’re not too smart, but sure can memorize what they’ve been (often inaccurately) been taught. Good obedient soldiers and workers, I guess.
So what are some theories regarding High IQ and the workplace?
If super-high IQ people are so smart, why can’t they … ?
This question has come up repeatedly, and it’s based on a misunderstanding of what high IQ means. It’s the ability to reason. High IQ people also tend to know more stuff, because learning by reasoning things out is one of the main ways of learning.
As I’ve previously written, there are three main ways of learning: by reasoning things out, by rote, and by mimicking. High IQ people don’t have that much of an advantage in learning things by rote, and have no advantage in learning by mimicking. For this reason, having a high IQ doesn’t mean you can learn a foreign language easily, if at all. There are many dumb people who speak multiple languages, and smart people who speak only one. Henry Kissinger was very smart, yet he could never learn to speak English without a thick accent.
Social skills, which are related to having what they call “common sense,” are learned by mimicking. When you have a conversation with people, it comes spontaneously, it’s not like solving a math problem. When high IQ kids are rejected by their peers because they are too different, they lose out on the opportunity to develop the social skill that other kids develop. It’s kind of like learning to speak a foreign language without an accent: if you miss out on exposure to the language at a young language, for most people, even very smart people like Henry Kissinger, it’s impossible to catch up.
Rick Rosner, who has a very high IQ, nevertheless was an outcast in high school, and he infamously forged papers so he could attend high school over and over again until he could finally get it right. But getting high school right never helped to stop being what I consider somewhat of a weirdo. (Not that there’s anything wrong with being a weirdo.)
High IQ and cash money
The other question which comes up is, why can’t super-high-IQ people automatically become wealthy? This is something I’ve pondered for quite a bit. The answer is that value creation rarely happens at the individual level, but rather at the business entity level. And having a high IQ doesn’t help you get hired into working for a business entity. An article at Quartz magazine explains how 500 hiring professionals were asked to rank six applicant traits in how highly they were valued, and intelligence came in dead last. All of the other more valued traits are the types of skills learned by mimicking rather than by reasoning things out.