Recently, there was an NBC Nightline special about a doctor that fell for a Nigerian money scam. You know, those e-mails that promise you millions of dollars in return for accepting a package on behalf of their government. The reporters where wondering how such an educated individual could fall prey for such an obvious scam. Their answer was: he's book smart, but not street smart.

When we’re born. we’re essentially a blank slate. Depending on our parents and their attitudes/tendencies we may lean in one direction or another though. Some people are more book smart, while others are more street smart. Whether you have more of the one or the other, you should always try to learn the other skill to complement what you already know.

For example, professors, researchers, engineers and general “geeks” tend to be on the book smart end of the spectrum. They are masters at creating complicated code, researching in detail, and teaching students what is written in books. What they usually lack is a good portion of street smarts. This void can be a challenge when dealing with career politics or even navigating the world of relationships. Often their solution is to further strengthen their book smarts as a way to compensate for their lack of street smarts. This can be effective in some cases, but not always. Alternatively, this group may decide to use their book smarts to read up on how to become more street smart. This is usually not a great idea, and basically equates to someone reading a book on how to be “cool.” Sure there are tips and things you can do that in most instances, but the real street wise individuals know how to react in every situation no matter if they are prepared of not.

On the other hand, there are those that are street smart. They may not be the intellectuals or highly educated people that we find in the other group, but they get by just the same. These street smart people can succeed very well despite their lack of formal training or background. Somehow, they naturally know how to navigate the challenging waters of competition at work, in business, and even in relationships. Sometimes, it will seem unfair to book smart people how the street smart ones advance despite their lack of knowledge. You have to hand it to them though: they have honed and perfected their skills to best support their lifestyle. It still would be useful for them to pursue some level of book smart expertise though. This is especially true in this economy, where employers tend to look for a combination of both.
One last point to be made is that book smarts aren’t necessarily learned. Moreover, going to school or getting a college degree won’t necessarily result in an increase of book smarts. It helps of course, but you must have a true interest in what you are learning, diving in deep and looking at every detail.

Conclusion: don't feel bad if you're leaning toward one or the other. Instead work on gaining knowledge in both areas. You will be able to get much further in work and life.

Stella,

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Author's Bio: 

Stella has pretty much seen it all. She enjoys helping others by telling stories of what she's seen. Take a look at other questions, answers, and comments at Stella Singles
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