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Intelligence Is Not Enough

Reading Edward De Bono’s booklet Intelligence Is Not Enough today, I was struck with two sentences from it:

Intelligence is something we are born with. Thinking is a skill that must be learned.


Intelligence demands the intelligent use of intelligence.

He stresses that having a high IQ is not enough – our ability to look at things from a different perspective and seek out creative solutions to problems is what makes all the difference.

Intelligence Is Not Enough

When I was training, I loved telling this story about creative thinking which I remember reading somewhere.

Test engineers at a aerospace company were testing the effect  of bird-strikes on the windshields of military planes. They built a powerful gun to simulate the effect of a bird colliding with an aircraft flying at high speed. The gun fired dead chickens at the windshields. Using this method, they successfully proved that the windshields could withstand  bird-strikes. This experiment was widely published in the industry press.

In another part of the world, engineers were asked to test the effect of bird-strikes on the windshields of high speed trains. Having read of the success of the of the aerospace engineers, they requested and received specifications of the gun and the method of testing.  However, the results were terrible – every single windshield they tested was smashed to pieces.

Once again the train engineers contacted the aerospace engineers, giving them details of their tests and asking for advice.

They received this brief response from the aero-engineers: ‘Defrost the chickens…’

I would love to hear if you think intelligence is not enough and why you feel so.


  1. MelissaTandoc MelissaTandoc June 23, 2012

    Ahahaha! Ouch! That was quick troubleshooting Corinne 😛
    We’re born with both intelligence and creativity. I love these two sides of the brain that we could both use in our daily lives They do need to be harnessed and developed, hence, the wholistic approach in education and at the same time they are practiced outside school grounds.What a great God we have 🙂

    • CorinneRodrigues CorinneRodrigues June 26, 2012

       @MelissaTandoc The holistic approach is what is so vital. I wish that there was a greater emphasis on this. 

  2. Myrna Myrna June 21, 2012

    Heh.  I love this story.  I think common sense is def needed, and in life there are sensitivities that also enhance intelligence.  Perspective is important too.  I think if one views things only from a linear stance, the result is limited.  
    Nice post Corinne.

  3. RituLalit RituLalit June 21, 2012

    LMAO Defrost the chickens … Loved it

  4. SRumzi SRumzi June 21, 2012

    How true. Intelligence without common sense is a disaster. I promise to defrost the chickens when I test. 🙂

    • CorinneRodrigues CorinneRodrigues June 26, 2012

       @SRumzi Common sense is not common they say! We need to put a sign on our refrigerator’s don’t you think? 😉

  5. Irene9583 Irene9583 June 21, 2012

    Hi Corinne. Thought-provoking 🙂 Based from my own experiences, IQ (intelligence quotient) is not enough. I strongly agree that creative thinking, as well as problem-solving skills, are just as important. One cannot survive just by knowing theories and facts–one has to learn to apply them and think outside the box. Another very important aspect of us, humans, is our EQ (emotional intelligence). How we effectively deal with adversity is not brought about by IQ but by our ability to stay calm and composed despite being faced with stressful situations. Just my thoughts about your post 🙂

    • CorinneRodrigues CorinneRodrigues June 26, 2012

      Thanks for this @Irene9583 . There has to be a mix of IQ, EQ and learning problem-solving skills. 

  6. elramey elramey June 21, 2012

    Corinne, I think that intelligence means nothing with critical thinking skills.  Schools fall short, but life learners stand tall among the intellectual dwarfs 😉  Look at Steve Jobs and so many others who bucked the system and thought for themselves.   I say, think for yourself in a world of clones, programmed to think inside that box.  


    • CorinneRodrigues CorinneRodrigues June 26, 2012

      Oh absolutely, @elramey . I love your closing line. I think it would make a great motivational poster! 🙂

  7. colleenaleena colleenaleena June 21, 2012

    While I certainly see the wisdom of this entire post, it also made me laugh.:)

  8. AdrienneSmith AdrienneSmith June 21, 2012

    That is hilarious Corinne, defrost the chickens.
    Here is what I know.  You might be the smartest person in the world but if you have no common sense, you’re screwed!  lol…  I know too many people that were not given any common sense whatsoever and it’s just sad.  I shake my head at these people still to this day wondering what in the world are they thinking.
    Thanks for sharing, I loved this.

    • CorinneRodrigues CorinneRodrigues June 26, 2012

       @AdrienneSmith Like I have heard it said, ‘common sense is not common’.  You do start to wonder about choices people make – until you make them yourself 😉

  9. marthaorlando marthaorlando June 20, 2012

    Intelligence is like any gift we are given – if we don’t use it and develop it over time, it doesn’t give us any advantages over those who may be less intelligent in I.Q., but who are constantly challenging themselves to think and try harder.  You’ve definitely given us food for thought here, Corinne! 🙂

    • CorinneRodrigues CorinneRodrigues June 26, 2012

       Oh yes, oh yes@marthaorlando – I guess it’s the parable of the talents, right? 

  10. jovane4685 jovane4685 June 20, 2012

    I have talked of this often with my mother, about myself and my 2 wayward sons. the boys are both intelligent and have common sense, yet they make the most ignorant decisions possible. I have never truly understood, until I looked a little harder at myself. So many of the choices I have made over the years were made from emotion rather than brain. Fixing things for the moment and not considering the long term consequences. I still don’t get it with the boys, for every hole I dug, I pulled myself out. Sometimes we would say,”if they would just use their intelligence in the right way, they would be fine.” I don’t understand smart people doing things the hard way. Conning your way through life, takes a lot more work than doing things right.  Now this person of intelligence is choosing to do her loving best to help the next generation understand being smart isn’t always enough. You have to apply your knowledge and be honest with yourself when you need help.

    • CorinneRodrigues CorinneRodrigues June 26, 2012

       @jovane4685 Thank you for sharing as authentically and honestly as you always do. I think that intelligence can be devoid of morals and values. One has to learn to find that balance between doing what’s smart and what’s right. Thank God, that you have found the strength to do what’s best and make the right choices for your grandchildren. That certain is right and smart too. ♥

  11. RatZest RatZest June 20, 2012

    This world would have had only inventions and discoveries had we had only intelligence… every form of art needs creativity, a vision…       

  12. Janaki Nagaraj Janaki Nagaraj June 20, 2012

    More than intelligence, it is the knowledge and the common sense that helps….according to me.

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