The word intelligence comes from the Latin inter- which means between and a stem of legere which means to choose. Literally being intelligent means choosing between. It’s as if the world is a multiple choice test with all the answers, some right, some wrong, but one “more correct answer” that an intelligent person picks 99% of the time. The problem with such a hard focus on intelligence is that it often ignores creativity. Creativity comes directly from the Latin creare and means to make stuff up. Who makes up those predefined multiple choice answers? What if the answers are beyond the scope of a multiple choice test? What if a student’s best use of time isn’t sitting down looking for predefined answers but instead creating a project designed to push a student’s understanding of themselves and their capabilities?
The latest science about how to be intelligent is ironically pointing away from IQ tests and the SAT’s. If you want to be more intelligent, forget the rules and the confines of false choices. The latest science points to the experience of being in a creative, playful “flow state” as humans most resourceful mode. Just this past week, I was in a Life Coaching session with an high school student. We did an assessment on creativity, which you actually can test. He scored extremely high, which surprised him. I asked him how he did so well. His answer, “I was just having fun and thinking what could I do that would be unusual but still useful.” Go ahead, it’s ok to take a walk on the wild side.