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Know the Difference between Being Smart, Intelligent and Educated

smart and intelligent difference: essay sampleAre you smart? Are you educated? Or are you intelligent? Maybe, you are all three. Most people would consider these three different ways of asking the same question. Some people might read between the lines. And some might chastise you for making their head spin. Because even though terms like smart, intelligent, and educated can be spoken in the same vein and breath, the truth is that each one of them denotes a specific, separate meaning.

How do you differentiate between terms which might mean the same thing, but are in essence, vastly differing in their interpretations? A mom tells her kids while they are growing up that they are smart. Sometimes she says they are intelligent. And as these kids go through the schools-college-university trifecta of learning, the mom might start throwing around the line that her kids are educated.

Let us find out what mom meant when she said these words:

Smart or Not?

As people grow up, they are told that they are smart, but not as smart as they think. They might also end up hearing that some people seem smart, but in reality they’re not. The kids in the hood possess ‘street smarts’ whilst those with an unquenchable thirst for knowledge are pegged as ‘book smart.’

What’s going on here? Really what do we mean when the term ‘smart’ gets thrown about?

Smart is when you react to a situation in the most perfect way that you can. Smart is learning to make the best of your circumstances. Smart is about being quick-witted and nimble footed. Smart is dressing sharply for the occasion. Smart is being best with different people around you. Smart is getting ahead in life.

Smart is making the best use of either some or most of these attributes in an individual:

  • Physical – learning something b doing such as activities, pastimes, etc. In general, just by moving.
  • Visual – drawing, illustrating, making thoughts materialize on paper, board. By forming a clear picture in mind and getting that point across in reality by putting them down.
  • Verbal – getting ideas across to other people by reading and writing. Creative with words and phrasing. Being good with words generally.
  • Interpersonal – relating and responding well to other people around you. Striking up friendships and networking with people in all circles. Mediating between arguments, connecting with people as well as teams.
  • Introspective – preferring some time alone with their thoughts. Daydreaming and brainstorming about things around people. Reflective and thoughtful to explore their feelings about other people and subjects.
  • Logical and Mathematical – orderly, systematic, incisively logical about situations. Great at analyzing, planning & calculating things.
  • Musical – artistic and quick about absorbing new melodies, tunes and lyrics to songs. Using music as a tool to learn. Has a sense for rhythm and timings. Focused on sounds and sonic.

Educated or Not?

Education is more about being well-versed in subjects of your studies. It is also about adopting a more civil demeanor. It’s a process of learning where skills, knowledge and habits of people are transferred from generation to generation. All this is done through teaching, training and researching.

Each person is unique and has their own set of favorite subjects and interests. Learning and acquiring knowledge about these subjects can expand one’s mind to more possibilities. Education is not all about learning from books though, there’s also an element of real life involved as well. Education gives individuals the means to explore the boundaries of their passion.

Intelligent or Not?

The simplest way to determine intelligence is to observe how an individual learns things. Does it take them long? Does it take numerous tries for them to grasp some important concepts, ideas, patterns, and so on? Does it take someone way too long to know what’s happening around them?

This sense of awareness and quick knowledge absorption – are hallmarks of intelligence. A highly intelligent person will pick up more skills and knowledge in the same time as compared to the average person.


The next time you hear these three terms been thrown around, it would be a good idea to pinpoint the context behind it. Being smart is not the same thing as being educated yet a person can be educated without being smart or intelligent. At least now these terms should make sense to everyone.

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