applying knowledge and skills. However, it’s not that simple, since intelligence
is a notion that is often misunderstood.
Some people believe that intelligence is the knowledge you gain through
education, while others believe it has nothing to do with education, but it is
the sum of experiences you gain throughout your life.
Once I was having a talk with an economics professor about the US education
system. The main question I had for him was if the current system provides us
with necessary knowledge. His response was that everything we learn through
books and school is useless until we learn how to apply it.
Allow me to reference the great Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.
Those who have read books about brilliant detective Sherlock Holmes or
watched the blockbuster movies are familiar with a dialogue between Sherlock
Holmes and Dr. John Watson, where the former accuses Mr. Holmes about not
knowing enough basic information about world, like how the Earth revolves around
Holmes rebuts by saying he only retains information that can be useful for
his work and any other kind of information would be useless for him.
Of course, it does not mean that simple information about the world around us
will be waste of time and brain capacity; we should know how the world around us
Even Bill Gates doesn’t just stick to tech practice and computer coding in
his free time. On his website, he often writes about the books he is reading and
“Many people accuse me of not showing interest for classic literature, but I
do enjoy reading novels. However, I’m mostly interested in books relating to
sociology, psychology and economics since they help me to understand the world
and society I’m living in.”
Therefore, we cannot say that everything we read and learn is useless
information since sometimes it gives you a sense of how everything is organized,
from human body to society.
We can conclude that intelligence is not only knowledge and skills that you
can apply, but it also helps you to make sense of things that are happening
So is intelligence something you can inherit through your family, or does
your ethnicity somehow affect it? Maybe it is something that depends on you?
If you want to know what stands behind the successful and intelligent people,
I suggest you read “Outliers” by Malcolm Gladwell. By the end of it, you’ll be
looking at success differently.
Do you inherent your intelligence through your family? A study by
psychologist Robert Sternberg concluded that the skills and knowledge you have
are the result of your family. However, it is not a genetic relation, but
rather, an educational one.
Children inherit practical intelligence, which is the knowledge that comes
from the way your parents communicate with you. According to the study,
middle-class families spend more time with their children than lower-class
During that time, they teach their children how to speak and interact with
other people, how to treat them and how to solve social problems.
This establishes and develops self-esteem, a quality that works in your favor
for a lifetime. Varying factors like parents working more than one job, the
amount of free time they can spend with their children and relative location to
quality school districts affect children who come from lower-class families. By
that sense, family background can have an influence on your intelligence.
In order to analyze the relation between ethnicity and intelligence, I’m
going to refer back to Gladwell’s “Outliers.” Have you ever wondered where the
stereotype of Asians being good at math and science came from?
Gladwell explains it this way: “In many cultures it is believed that whatever
you do, the results always depends on the fate or on God’s will.” Thus, it
implies that how much you work does not affect the outcome.
On the other hand, most Asian cultures believe that everything depends on you
and your hard work. The harder you work, the more you get, and if you do not
succeed, then you must not have tried hard enough. So, yes, your ethnicity does
matter for you to be a successful or intelligent person.
Overall, the lesson to be learned here is that you shouldn’t let your
intelligence and/or lifestyle be the slave of your genes. Everything depends on
you. Certain aspects do affect this, but it is only the attitude that injects
you with the drive to do or not to do.