High IQ vs. Common Sense
In order to discuss this statement we first need to ask the questions. What is a high IQ? What is common sense? How are appropriate amounts of each necessary to achieve a balanced life?
According to Carol Bainbridge who is a board member of the Indiana Association for the Gifted, “An IQ score is an Intelligence Quotient, which is a measure of intelligence, primarily reasoning ability. The higher the score, the greater the reasoning ability.”1
The norm- 100
Mildly Gifted -- 115 to 129
Moderately Gifted -- 130 to 144
Highly Gifted -- 145 to 159
Exceptionally Gifted -- 160 to 179
Profoundly Gifted -- 180
Many other famous people are on the scale of a highly gifted level of intelligence, for example, Sharon Stone – IQ 154, Stephen W. Hawking – IQ 160, Bobby Fischer – IQ 180, John N. Sununu- IQ180, Bill Gates – IQ 160. Their high reasoning ability allows them to perceive and calculate possibilities beyond the average person’s ability. Kurt Kleiner, the author of an essay “Why smart people do stupid things” proposed that “highly intelligent people scored well in rational and logical skills.” Their high intelligence allows them to learn things very rapidly and they typically have great curiosity and are free-thinkers, which leads them to explore in greatly their various passions, for example, Bobby Fischer’s interest in chess, Stephen Hawking ’s passion for physics, and Bill Gates’ success in developing Microsoft. Having a high IQ has been an important factor in the career success of all these individuals.
However, is having a high IQ all you need to be successful? What is success?
I would like to explore the difference between being highly intelligent and being a person considered to have good common sense. The Cambridge Dictionary describes common sense as "the basic level of practical knowledge and judgment that we all need to help us live in a reasonable and safe way."2 According to Dr. Stephanie Sarkis an adjunct assistant professor at Florida Atlantic University “common sense is learned by making mistakes”3 and using the experience to avoid future mistakes . Professor Richard W. Scholl at The University of Rhode Island said that “people with common sense understand the usage of social and behavioral codes”4. People with common sense see the complex of social rules and use them correctly in order to do what is expected in a certain situation. They are paying attention to the details. Common sense prevents people from doing foolish things because it constantly guides them to be aware of their surroundings, such as taking an umbrella when the predictions is rain, wearing sensible shoes on a hike or looking both ways when crossing a road. People with common sense know how to operate successfully in the world and understand that they need to use common sense if they hope to be successful in every aspect of their lives.
It may be thought that intelligence and common sense is one and the same. However, there is a significant difference how people with high IQ and people with common sense function at the workplace. People with high IQ tend to have exceptional talents and creativity; however, their high intelligence does not guarantee them to be part of a social faux pas. In order to be successful in life not just in a career it is necessary to have highly developed social skills. Without common sense to guide a person, even the most intelligent individual can turn away people around him or her by making insensitive or arrogant comments which would be sure to decrease their popularity. If they are not aware of how offensive their comments are then they have no hope in achieving successful social interaction, whether in the workplace or with family, friends. People with perfectly ordinary intelligence are fully capable of achieving happy and successful lives by applying well developed common sense. Common sense tells them when to be informal and when to be formal, not to