Monday Jul 14, 2008
Intelligent is not Smart
Today would have been my dear mother’s 82nd birthday. She is forever in my thoughts. When I had told her about my encounter (noted below, a repost from 2003, and also in my book, An Artist Empowered), she nodded, her face glowing like a schoolgirl, in appreciation with her special sense of understanding.
I was in a Russian specialty food market looking for a hearty bread.
I went to pay at the cash register, which was near the front door.
As the clerk was putting my bread in a bag and getting my change, an elderly black man and a much younger big Russian fellow arrived at the door at the same moment.
The older man held the door open so the younger could enter the shop.
The Russian man said in a half joking manner and in a heavy accent: “Oh, you are holding door for me because you are doorman?”
Without missing a beat, the smart black man said: “No. I’m holding the door for you because I am a gentleman.”
This was a moment of truth.
The gentleman had surpassed intelligent with a reply that could only have come from smart. Do you see it? Can you hear it? Can you feel it?
With a leap from his awareness, he knew where he stood. He completely and gently reversed the perception of his action to everyone near him. He made an indelible impression I will have with me always, and that is another clue for recognizing smart.
While you may forget an intelligent remark, you will never forget a smart one.
Smart is from the heart. This is fundamental. It flows from intuition with compassion; intelligence is rooted in intellect, which is calculated through thinking. You can be more intelligent than someone else, but not necessarily smarter than that someone else.
I love this post. This was a Zen moment for sure.
Thank you, again.