MANNY ROMAN, CRESFounding Member of I.C.E.imagingigloo.com
I recently came across some very interesting stuff while researching some other, not so interesting stuff. So, I turned my attention to the interesting one and ignored the other.
It seems that research indicates that the more you worry, the smarter you are. Maybe it is that the smarter you are, the more you worry. Maybe the saying that ignorance is bliss has some merit although ignorance does not necessarily mean lower intelligence.
Studies show that students who are always worrying about something scored higher on verbal intelligence tests. Studies also found that anxious individuals are less willing to be delayed on their way to deliver a warning message. The conclusion is that nervous people are more alert and effective. Studies also show that people with severe anxiety disorder had higher IQs than those with milder symptoms.
The overall conclusion is that worriers have a mind that is always searching and evaluating options and risk. This is due to their higher intelligence in evaluating past, and future events in great detail.
Does intelligence cause more worrying because we can better evaluate outcomes, or does worrying cause us to make better assessments? Children who are more anxious may be more attentive and diligent in school and thus improve their intelligence, while smart people can find many more things to worry about.
Many famously intelligent and creative people have also been great worriers. Tesla, Darwin, Lincoln and Roman to name a few.
Since I am easily impressed and convinced, I searched my past experiences with people and found many instances where the correlation between intelligence and worry proved true. I am not talking about freaking out type of worrying. I mean the cautiously aware of possible events that may prove impediments to planned actions.
I know many people who, as part of the planning process, identify as many bad things that can happen within reason and take steps to preempt or alleviate them. I also know many people who dive headlong into situations without assessing the consequences and risk. Most of us would consider this action somewhat unintelligent.
In my customer relations presentations I suggest that in all expected encounters with another human being, we should be prepared to answer 10 expected questions. For example, we might be arriving at a service call and will be meeting with the director of the department. We can anticipate we will be asked, “How long will it take to fix this problem?” This is, of course, an unrealistic expectation on the customer’s part and we could say, “How am I supposed to know that without checking it out first?”
Or we could anticipate the question and have a better sounding answer. “I’m not sure. I will need to look at the machine. Give me 30 minutes and I’ll have a better answer for you. Where will you be?” (The where will you be is a hint for them to go away and let you get to work.) This says the same thing in a more palatable way. Because we worried that the question might be asked, we came up with a good answer.
So my conclusion is that if it really cannot be determined if intelligent people worry more or if worrying makes us more intelligent it doesn’t matter. What matters is that we should perform intelligent worrying or rather worry intelligently. And just in case worrying does cause higher intelligence, I’m going to sit in a corner and find something big to worry about.
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