The two ‘types’, if you will, of intelligence are generally categorised as Street Smart and Book Smart, and they pretty much mean exactly what you think they do.
Individual differences in intelligence mean that people differ from one another in the subjects they succeed in, as well as in other areas of personality and interest. Street smart people have a situational intelligence which allows them to handle any given circumstance much better than their book smart counterparts. Book smart people are typically of higher intelligence and good at following what is expected of them, rather than having the ability to navigate difficult situations smoothly.
It is possible to be both book smart and street smart but, typically, you are either one or the other. There are a number of ways these two types of smarts differ from each other, so if you aren’t sure if you’re book smart or street smart, this might just help you figure it out.
Education is important for all people to learn and grow, but personality types play heavily on how dedicated you are to the pursuit of knowledge. Book smart people are typically much more dedicated to school work, education and furthering their intellectual knowledge of their field.
Street smart people, on the other hand, don’t tend to enjoy education as much and will prefer to engage in sports and other activities whilst at school. Although they are still capable of achieving high grades, they may not feel the motivation as much as those with book smarts.
Those with book smarts will have an incredible talent for remembering statistics and spouting facts, and this can be pretty impressive. Their control of memory and ability to pull a factual rabbit out of a hat is a skill that can only be admired.
Street smarts, on the other hand, gives you a different type of memory altogether. Instead of remembering facts and figures, street smart people typically hold situations in their memory so as to understand the best way to get out of a sticky situation. It might not help during tests but it will certainly help out the next time they’re in a pickle.
3. Natural Ability
Everyone has their one, personal, natural abilities, and this is part of what makes people unique. In general, book smart people have natural abilities geared towards analytical pursuits, such as science, maths or languages.
Street smart people, on the other hand, tend to be more creative. They may find that they have a musical ability which is far superior, or they have a penchant for art that can’t be rivalled. They may not be as analytically strong as those with book smarts, but they most definitely have their own strengths.
Instinct is what has allowed homo-sapiens to evolve into the human beings we are today, as it is our gut reactions which can sometimes be what keeps us alive. This is a particular strength of those with street smarts, as their previous experience guides them to make the right decisions to stay out of a tricky position. When making decisions, they will go with their gut and commit to it.
Those with book smarts, however, find it difficult to trust their gut reactions and will rely on tried and tested methods to keep themselves safe and navigate situations they struggle with. It makes decision-making take a little longer, but, usually, they will go with the safest and most pragmatic option.
Knowledge comes in a lot of different forms, and people with book smarts are generally seen as having more knowledge than those with book smarts, but this is not necessarily true. Whilst book smart people have a lot of knowledge in traditionally educational areas, street smart people have world knowledge, understanding how people think and act in different situations. Street smart people also have a better ability at predicting how certain situations will play out, and this gives them the time they need to prepare themselves.
It is not to say that book smarts and street smarts differ greatly from each other. In fact, it is more the case that they are two sides of the same coin. Both are displays of intelligence, they simply differ on the areas of intelligence which reign dominant within a person.
Being street smart does not mean you are uneducated by any means, nor does being book smart mean that you are socially inept. It is important to embrace your strengths, but also to understand your weaknesses and ways which you can improve them. Many tend to think that you are either one or the other, but it is entirely possible to be both book smart and street smart, all it takes is a little practice and an open mind.
By Francesca F.