WOW | Coffee Break

How do you define intelligence in today’s context?

Richa Bhattarai
Communications Associate, World Bank

A thirst for knowledge and learning along with the ability to perceive and analyse the acquired knowledge are how we tend to identify an intelligent person. I think as long as we are willing to acknowledge our weaknesses, remain curious, seek knowledge and remain fascinated with it, learn from our experiences and others’, and use knowledge not as an end but a means, we will walk well into the path of intelligence.

While I also agree with the popular view that common sense, bookish know-how, worldly wise disposition and a sense of humour are an intelligent person’s weapon, to me, what really matters is emotional intelligence. The ability to hold a conversation, actually listen to and respond to another person’s opinions, empathise with their emotions and behave in a humane, considerate, thoughtful manner is what makes a person intelligent and worthy of respect. However knowledgeable a person may be, if they behave in a brash, arrogant, know-it-all way, or ruin team work, or use their sharp brains for negative and destructive activities, I would never consider them to be intelligent enough to be a human being. True intelligence lies in our abilities to remain attuned to the people and world around us, give them our best and receive their best in return.