Although many definitions have defined intelligence as reasoning, perceiving analogies, perceiving relationships, quick learning, and calculating perspective, psychologists prefer defining it as a general cognitive challenge-solving technique. Some psychologists are of the opinion that intelligence can be categorised into seven components, inter alia: bodily-kinesthetic, musical, logical-mathematical, spatial, linguistic, intrapersonal, and interpersonal. From my point of view, I define intelligence as an ability to learn from and about, interact, and understand one’s environment. The discussion below illustrates my definition.
There is a very strong conviction that common sense plays a big role controlling how we learn from what we see, experience, read or visualize. In this case, the term ‘learning from’ is the self-awareness or self-management skill that mainly controls individual’s learning, emotions and behaviour management. One should have moral lessons from his or her daily experiences. Whatever difficulties or challenges we experience or see others encounter today should modify our conduct so that we find a sustainable solution to any of such challenges in future. People who are not intelligent fail to put measures in place that will ensure if similar challenges come their way in future, they will have better approaches. They see challenges as misfortunes in life, which will never occur again.
For instance, imagine a situation that a student failed his/her examinations not because he/she did not prepare well for the papers, but because he/she was not keen on reading the instructions. The student ended up taking a wrong approach in handling the questions. An intelligent student should learn a lesson from such an experience. Students should understand that instructions are part of examinations. On the other hand, a student who is not intelligent will see his/her failure as a misfortune that will never occur again. At the end of the day, this type of student will go on failing examinations.
From the sociological school of thought, all human beings are social animals. It should however be understood that our personalities shape our social life. For instance, the level of socialization of an introvert greatly differs from that of an extrovert. Whether an introvert or an extrovert, an intelligent mind should have high skills on how to interact with his or her environment. Intelligent people understand that we live in a very dynamic environment which differs from community to community. They therefore understand that behaviour or level of interaction changes as they move from one community to another. They also understand that one’s character is greatly shaped by the traditional background. It is also of general knowledge that we differ in personalities, which greatly shape our capacity to interact with the other people.
For example, the chairman of a student’s board at university is faced with a challenge of uniting two antagonistic groups of students with different ideologies on a given policy that is to be introduced in the institution. The student’s head has several problem-solving techniques at his disposal. At the end of the day, he might decide to support the majority group and let the minority suffer. This option is not wrong in a democratic society, but it is not intelligent. The student head should understand that our personalities shape the way we perceive ideas. It is therefore a responsibility of our seniors to bring our thinking at par so as to avoid internal resistances. The student head invited future problems, because he decided to pick a punitive decision to the minority.
Intelligent minds should have a high desire to learn about what they feel they are interested in, they are always explorative, adventurous, and curious. They always indulge in finding solutions to daily emerging issues. An intelligent person will have such questions as why something is happening, what made it happen, and how it happened. They then task themselves to look for solutions of such questions. They therefore provide solutions to the problems as they go on answering the questions.
For example, a student on his way to school was knocked down by a fast moving car while he was trying to cross the road. Many civilians will treat this as a normal occurrence or a misfortune and pray that it will never occur again. On the other hand, another person will try to get some answers from the eye witnesses. He might want to understand how the accident occurred. It might be due to speeding of the car or failure to observe road safety rules. He can therefore suggest preparing possible remedies to avoid future catastrophes such as erecting road safety rules along the road, encouraging pedestrians to use zebra cross lines and many others.
In conclusion, intelligence is all about being able to accommodate the ever changing environment. If a person is able to fully understand his or her environment and successfully dance to its ever changing tunes, he/she is intelligent. As discussed above, being intelligent is the ability to learn from hence people should have the ability to learn from their and others’ daily encounters. The challenges should modify our behaviour to better people. An intelligent person should also have remarkable skills on how to interact with his or her environment. Understanding that the environment is ever changing and devising the mechanisms to cope and stay harmoniously with others is being intelligent. Lastly, intelligent minds should have a high desire to learn about what they feel they are interested in.