Smart vs Intelligent



People often times use the word intelligent and smart interchangeably. As a matter of fact, there is a huge difference between an intelligent person and a smart person.


People believe that the word smartness is mainly situational or circumstantial. Most of the characteristics given to intelligent people are actually that of smart people.

Being street smart does not necessarily mean being smart at all, it is just finding solutions to problems one faces each day.

I remember one day during a lecture, my lecturer asked the most intelligent girl in our class [who was not offering that course by the way] a question and she couldn’t provide an answer to which our lecturer replied, “you can’t know it because it is not inside book” and then I heard that nollywood soundtrack in my head (ghen ghen ghen ghen ghen gehn).

Intelligence has to do with your IQ and your IQ is a measurement of your intelligence. The truth is that a lot of “intelligent” people don’t know beyond their books, while a number of others are only intelligent on paper (that is, certificates and transcripts).


Smart people have ideas about everything, they tend not to raise their hands in class when a question is thrown to the class, they want to learn from the answers from their classmates, they make friends with everybody and for the most part, they have a different kind of intelligence.

I have seen a lot of intelligent people enter into relationships with wrong partners and I wonder where all the intelligence went when they were making such decisions. It shows their emotional quotient EQ is low.

Likewise, I have seen smart people make choices that even the most intelligent could not make.



An intelligent person

  • IQ  is very high
  • Is Characterized by quick understanding
  • Is a deep thinker
  • Mostly at a glance can identify an issue
  • Usually have a photographic memory
  • Mostly introverted and anti social
  • Is very cautious of his environment and what people think of him
  • Only makes friends with his kind… intelligent people duh!
  • Does not usually do anything outside his curriculum
  • is not always very accommodating towards everybody
  • often THINK they are better than everybody
  • doesn’t like to share their ideas and work… so that you don’t steal it
  • works hard a lot
  • Believes others opinions counts so far they are as intelligent as he or she is
  • Always hard on him/herself if  he/she fails at something
  • Has only one way of doing things
  • They create theories or do intense reading or calculations whereas in the outside world, they are not able to demonstrate their intelligence
  • Usually may not have presence of mind
  • Likes to solves problems or issues all by him/herself

A smart person [is]

  • always curious wanting to know or have an idea about everything
  • always ready to learn
  • usually underestimated
  • always strategic
  • thinks outside the box
  • can never be caught unguarded even if they have not studied or know much about that particular topic or work
  • makes friends with everybody
  • does not have a particular seat or space
  • critical thinkers
  • never give up
  • likes to always teach people
  • works smart a lot
  • believes even the opinion of  a toddler that can’t talk yet matters a whole lot
  • say “I don’t know” when they genuinely don’t know
  • is very humble
  • is never hard or him/herself
  • has a huge sense of humor
  • is very accommodating
  • always ask what people think about something
  • always has alternative ways of doing things
  • provides a long lasting solution
  • usually have great presence of mind
  • always say “I stand to be corrected”
  • uses other people/resource to solve problems
  • Acknowledges that he/she behave silly atimes.

However, there are rare situations where intelligent people have displayed smartness. Put an intelligent person in a maze or forest and put a smart person in the same situation, the smart person usually comes out first. Basically, the difference is in the approach. To be intelligent is the best, to be smart is better.

What are your thoughts on this?


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