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What's Smart Mean

Posted by iMacG5

I don’t mean the mnemonic acronym used in “Management by Objectives”.  I did, however, start this post with the previous sentence so folks might say stuff like “Gee, this guy must really be smart” or “What the heck does that mean?”  That’s what I’m writing about.  Often we hear someone refer to another as “smart”.  Maybe even “smart as a whip”.  How about “Boy, she or he is brilliant”.  “Wow, how intelligent!”  I end up wondering what they mean, what’s the criterion and does that have to do with letters after their names?  

Doing the math that gets us to Mars, figuring where to drill to remove a tumor and other stuff like that require intelligence and learning. I think of being smart as different from educated, knowledgeable or learned.  Of course smart people can attain those things and I hope they do.  I know some of us can be very smart and others, not so.  We all can still be educated and gain knowledge.  But since I have difficulty even defining the word, I wonder how important it is to be smart.  And since I don’t know of anyone getting a second shot at life on this planet I think I need to make the best of what I have and recognize that being happy is way more important than being smart.  (Though I’m smart enough to know it’s wrong to start a sentence with the word “but” or “and” I just did it and I’m happy.)  That sounds a lot easier; no books, no homework no staying after school.  Oh oh!  Problem!  What’s happy?  Well, since I’m not able to define “smart”, am I intelligent enough to know what “happy” is or how to get there?  I’m working on it and, over the last few years, I’ve worked very hard to understand what it’s all about.  I know I never will but trying helps me.  I’ve learned a few things.  I learned I can be happy by doing the right thing for the right reason for someone in need whether they know it or not.  I’m happy when I’m kind to someone especially if they’re hurting. I’m happy if I did something for myself so someone didn’t have to do it for me.  Sure I’m happy if the Cardinals win the series or the Devils win the Stanley Cup but they’re not as deeply seeded as the happiness I’m trying to identify.  I’m happy if I found the short cut to get my wife to her destination on time but I’m not so happy if I dropped her off in a mud puddle.  That wasn’t too smart.

I’m sure there’s more to it but I’m at the Duh stage.


See all blogs by iMacG5
mild_mannered_super_hero : interesting post mike. i like your comment smart as opposed to educated, i often wonder why the two smartest men i ever knew were also the LEAST educated. my father and grandfather, while neither went higher than the 10th grade, could do absolutely anything.....both having lots of "lifes experience". its sad today that the average college grad can't tell you who won the civil war. Apr 16, 2016
iMacG5 : Hey, MMSH, thanks for reminding me. I did a lot of substitute teaching over the last twenty years and often referenced the Civil War. High school seniors replied with questions like "Who fought?", "Where was that fought?" and one kid asked "Wasn't that the War of 1812 at the Alamo?" Wow, thank goodness for all we learned from the school of hard knocks.
Apr 16, 2016
LadyHope : I graduated with honors from the school of hard knocks. Thank you for the very interesting post about being smart and being happy. I am thinking about both now. Smart and happy are very subjective. They have many different interpretations. Thanks again for the excellent post. Take care and have a nice weekend. LH Apr 16, 2016
iMacG5 : Thanks for your kindness LH. Stay well.
Apr 16, 2016
Bill : Hello Mike. I always associated 'smart' with being or looking adequately dressed for whatever it was I was about to do. Whenever the term was used in the cognitive sense it seemed to imply being a 'smart-arse' so it was not really a complementary term.
As for happiness, there are some very well written articles on the subject and nearly al of them refer to the futility of the human species 'chasing' the concept. Personally, I prefer the concept of 'contentment' because it allows me the freedom to believe that I do not need to acquire anything, or travel anywhere, or be sold anything, or do what others do to achieve this state of mind. I perceive 'happiness' to be yet another emotion that is allowed to run out of control. It is usually counterbalanced by sadness which is then viewed as undesirable rather than simply a contrasting emotion. Contentment, by comparison could be viewed as emotional 'flat-lining' rather than the roller coaster effect of happiness and sadness.
Best wishes
Apr 17, 2016
Immarsh : Hi Mike.....I'm reading this almost 2 years after you posted it... I really enjoyed your reflections of smart vs educated/ learned... So many " smart" people, ( intellectual potential) don't pursue their talents or abilities.... and often don't demonstrated their " smarts". One can get an education...and not really be " educated". As stated...some things are subjective..

The last three years have had me in despair, with medical issues just piling on, one on top of another, and hopes for a " better future", became the question of " do I have a future". After going through the darkness of a bout of PTSD.....I found a path, that's leading me to gratitude, and appreciation, for the life I've lived, as well as the contentment, to let the future unfold.

I've chased the happiness dream in past years, and have found that happiness can be fleeting, and our expectations that that state of mind should static.

It doesn't happen that way.. Happiness is found / or not, on the journey through life. Good or bad, that's the adventure of life.

I'm alone in NJ now, with children and grandchildren in Australia and Pennsylvania. That's not how I imagined the later years of my life, since my parent and grandparents were blessed with having their children and grandchildren around them.

But the world is changing....Kids move, and the " happy" in my life is being happy for them. As for me, simple pleasures make me happy....falling snow, as long as I'm inside, The ocean breeze....The smells of spring, and being able to walk, talk and breathe at the same time. Not kidding about that one. Best regards to all....Marsha
Jan 09, 2018
iMacG5 : Thanks, Marsha, for reminding me. I read stuff we discussed in the past and find it difficult remember what the heck I was thinking.
You mention some things are subjective. We can expound on that concept and include or translate to mean “perception”. You write about happiness and others might suggest they wouldn't be happy with the stuff that makes you happy. All that should matter to you is that you are happy. Anyone else's perception doesn't matter. You found a path. you determined things about life and, in your pursuit of happiness, you invented what needed to be done to bring you to where you can appreciate and enjoy the beauty of this planet and yes, walk, talk and breath at the same time. You've accomplished this, Marsha, because you're SMART. That's not to discount the hard work that went into it and the help you might have asked for along the way. You've done us a great service by sharing with us and I'm betting folks will learn from this.
With sincere respect and appreciation,
Jan 10, 2018

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