Intelligence vs Wisdom : What is the difference?

Intelligence and wisdom are two very different and two very powerful attributes. They are however difficult to distinguish between because they are both attributes that promote a person’s success in life. But what wins in the battle between intelligence vs wisdom? Is there even a right answer?

Intelligence vs Wisdom : What is the difference?

The difference between intelligence vs wisdom


  • The ability and capacity to acquire and apply knowledge
  • Obtained through sources like books, lectures and seminars
  • The ability to apply skills like problem solving, reasoning and creativity in everyday life


  • The knowledge gained through repetitive application of intelligence
  • A greater understanding of things in life which naivety is often blind  to
  • Comes with age
  • Akin to intuition however intuition is often instinctive as opposed to wisdom

Intelligence vs wisdom: Which do you need more?

There is no exact answer to this question. Wisdom is often something that can serve you well; but it is often accumulated through years of trial and error. Intelligence however is often applied in your young days and forms the back bone of how well you wisdom in particular areas grow. For example an experienced parent will have the wisdom to address issues that books won’t; contrary to this is a young parent who may have the intelligence gained through books which he/she applies to parenthood. The former wisdom is often undocumented tacit knowledge acquired during years of parenthood. Simply intelligence can be taught while wisdom is only gained through repetitive application.

Intelligence vs wisdom in the workplace

There is often a clear distinction between intelligence vs wisdom in the workplace. Young individuals (millennials) come into the work place with the intelligence which enable them to climb up the corporate ladder but they lack the wisdom gained through age. This is when young people with little experience can suffer in leadership positions. The key is for young people to therefore not rush into senior positions without firstly gaining technical experience. The technical experience will thus give them the wisdom required to make informed strategic decision when they do end up as senior role players. You cant expect to tell others what to do when you have done it a few times yourself.

Intelligence vs wisdom in life

Everyone makes mistakes – and this is usually prevalent in one’s youth when trying out new experiences. These mistakes however is what forms the wisdom required to not make future mistakes. Parents often try to share their wisdom with children; however this is often a difficult feat as they too want to experience things for themselves. The sad thing is that most of us will only really appreciate the wisdom of older people very late in life and the cycle continues.

Tips to speed up intelligence:

  • Read books
  • Learn from others
  • Study
  • Apply skills learnt

Tips to speed up wisdom:

  • Try to listen to other wise people
  • Learn from your mistakes
  • Practice makes perfect

Do you love learning about multiple subject areas? Then you may be a polymath. Read: Your Ultimate Guide To Being A Polymath; to understand how to harness your mind’s full potential.

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