The difference between brilliance and intelligence

preby's picture

Many wonder why people who appear brilliant in school and top the class in almost all courses may not usually have the capacity to bring about certain changes in their society while some of the average students go about doing really wonderful things. This is what I personally tag "the difference between brilliance and intelligence". Brilliance, for me, is the ability to be vast and knowledgeable in terms of the 'school curriculum' while I define intelligence as the ability to learn and understand trying situations, the ability to apply knowledge to manipulating one's environment or to think abstractly as measured by objective criteria. In other words, I call intelligence smartness!

It is dissapointing to see students study hard only to turn out to be brilliant, that is, they are only knowledgeable in terms of school work and pleasing their lecturers. They lack the ability to apply that knowledge to manipulate and influence their environment positively. I often tell very brilliant students who appear to be sluggish in terms of decision making and who cannot do anything else outside the four corners of their books to watch out in life. I personally would be unhappy if such students find it hard making it later in life, which sometimes is exactly what happens.

I can imagine an employer who has to pick between a brilliant chap and a smart one, if I were the one, I'd simply go for the smart one. What would I possibly do with a graduate in marketing who made first class but is not smart enough to apply the knowledge and add extra skills to market my products? Why not go for the smart one who came out with a lesser grade but can pull the crowd to my product? However, I'm not saying there can't be a student who can be both brilliant and intelligent. I just wish students can study to be good in school and all go the extra mile to be 'smart'. Think outside of school books and lectures, learn, task your brain, apply the things you learn in school in weird ways. I know of a classmate of mine who is not really into studying his books but asks very brain tasking questions during lectures that makes some lecturers even go back to researching for answers! I would advice that we neglect studying for acting weird though, it has to balanced. Only then will the true beauty of education be revealed. When we learn in school and develop our brain to apply these lessons in new, untried ways, it becomes a blessing to our environment and makes us truly ourstanding.

Average: 3 (1 vote)


Alex's picture

I agree with you on this subject. We have seen our society parade individuals who have come out with top grades but can't transform their grades into any development in the society. However, my question is this. Do we blame these students or the educational system or even our society for failure to provide an enabling environment for them to be optimally useful? 

Dotlexx's picture


preby's picture

Its high time youths started taking responsilbilties instead of looking for where to put blames. I wouldn't blame the educational system, even though Nigeria's educational system provides little or no opportunity to think abstractly (before one lecturer starts saying its none of his business). The students should buckle up and make a determination to be smart and create positive changes in their environment no matter what!