Often, the phrases ‘you’re smart!’ and ‘you’re intelligent!’ are used severally and/or interchangeably. But on a deeper introspection, the words, ‘smart’ and ‘intelligent’ actually bear different meanings.
In my opinion, being intelligent applies to the academic field and refers to someone who’s good at academics, someone with good analytical skills required for tackling academic issues and problems.
Smartness, on the other hand, refers to having the common sense or sharp sense of reasoning to navigate the ups and downs of life, and knowing how to do the right thing at the right time to get what one wants.
While intelligence measures your academic ability and academic success, smartness measures your ability to identify and apply common sense in life to achieve what you want in life. In life, you often meet these 3 sets of people:
– the very intelligent people who are exceptional at academics but are not actually smart(good in academics but timid on the streets, lacking social skills to get along/interact with others, and the common sense required to survive on the streets are not street smart). Examples are, for example, a professor with many degrees and levels of academic success who still cannot balance his check book or cannot manage his finances to get him to a financially comfortable level.
– the very smart people who are exceptional in applying common sense in life but are only averagely intelligent in academics. Speak with them and they amaze you with their great deal of common sense and knowledge about how to get by in life, understand and manage people, etc) but academically they are only average. An example would be people who were seen as ‘average’ in school but who went on to build successful companies, businesses, or land amazing jobs because they had the common sense and social skills to get along in life and network with the right set of people.
– the smart and intelligent people at the same time – these people are intelligent and also street-savvy. They combine intelligence with common sense. These people are successful in their chosen fields of endeavour. An example would be Mrs. Okonjo Iweala, who is both intelligent and smart at the same time.
I think smartness is the application of intelligence or intelligence in motion. One cannot be smart if one isn’t intelligent, at least, a little bit. To be smart, you need some level of intelligence, albeit how small it is.
These are only my opinions.
What are your opinions? What do you think?