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The New Smart is a term I read about in a book called, “The Power of Women” by, Susna Nolen-Hueksema. The author states that according to a Psychologist named Robert Steinburg intelligence is:
“the ability to achieve success in life, given one’s personal standards, within one’s socio-cultural context. One’s ability to achieve success depends on one’s capitalizing ones, strengths and correcting or compensating for one’s weakness through a balance of analytical, creative and practical abilities to adapt, to shape, and select environments.”
This meaning that, succeeding in your livelihood, social relations, and community involvement, with the situation and circumstance that life has dealt you, while in sync with your personal values is defined as being intelligent and what to author calls the "new smart".
We have read and viewed many stories though books and movies about people who have overcame very challenging obstacles to succeed. Chris Gardner’s life demonstrated the perfect example of the new smart. We all know his story from the movie, The Pursuit of Happiness, starring Will Smith. Gardner, a homeless, unemployed single father turned entrepreneur, stock broker, and motivational speaker. Gardner had the knowledge and skill to maneuver his way out of his challenging circumstances and environment to succeed. He utilized his strengths and weakness to manipulate his situation to a beneficial outcome.
Privileged individuals who were raised in with a stable and structured up bringing are not immune to personal traumas, physical and environmental obstacles, and mental instability, but they are neither immune to becoming the new smart.
Society has shaped us to believe that if all conform to the conventional way of succeeding as far as finishing high school and graduating from college, that success is guaranteed. But some of us due our physical and environmental conditions cannot manifest their energy to succeed in that particular manner. Just as the longevity of success in not guaranteed, particularity for those individual, who was ill-prepared on how to maintain their success. For example look at some of the famous people who have become drug addicts, or bankrupt from mismanaging their fortunes, or making poor business decisions.
We can reach the highest level of academics and highest mark on the financial ladder, but if we lost it all due to circumstances beyond our control, would some have the ability to survive that loss. Will some have the ability to gain it all back without sacrificing their personal values? This challenges their ability to associate their academics wits with their survival skills. And if we really paid attention in school, an academic education does teach us to do that. Think of your ancestors, the stories you might have heard about a great-grandmother or grandfather from a relative that, was a strong figure in your family, whom survived and successfully raised children, without the opportunities, education, the technology, and the tools made to our convenience today that we use, maneuver our way to success. Their lives described the “new smart” and we all possess it. It’s just a matter of utilizing it when a situation calls for it.
Copyright© 2012 by BlackSwan