What is intelligence? A beneficial tip for life

In his book, How the Mind Works, Steven Pinker summarizes the concept of intelligence with its three indicators:

  1. Set of rules
  2. Reason to act
  3. Adaptation

First there must be a rationale or set of rules in decision making, second, there must be a “reason” (an ultimate goal or a motivator), and finally, the rules of behavior should adjust themselves in the pursue of the “reason”.

“Romeo wants Juliet as the filings want the magnet; and if no obstacles intervene he moves toward her by as straight a line as they. But Romeo and Juliet, if a wall be built between them, do not remain idiotically pressing their faces against the opposite sides like the magnet and filings with the card. Romeo soon finds a circuitous way, by scaling the wall or otherwise, of touching Juliet’s lips directly. With the filings the path is fixed; whether it reaches the end depends on accidents. With the lover it is the end which is fixed; the path may be modified indefinitely.”

(William James cited in Pinker, S.)

The explanation, can be adapted to every aspect of work that needs what we like to call “strategy” at business life as a framework. Maybe does not fancy/sexy enough but you may try this next time when you need an intelligent long term road map for a process like career change, or social media management or maybe house renovation:

Set the rules, follow your goal, adapt the rules in the face obstacles.

Take a look at: Steven Pinker, How the Mind Works