cole lyman Bioinformatics, Emacs, Programming, and Life

Intelligence to Arrogance Ratio

Yesterday I graduated with my Bachelor’s degree from Brigham Young University and attended the Convocation services for my college (College of Physical and Mathematical Sciences). Our dean, Dr. Shane Reese, gave a very inspirational talk, of which I would like to share part of it with you.

Dr. Reese’s talk centered on two pieces of advice to the graduates, working hard and being meek. He also provided tools of measurement in order for us to see how well we are following his advice.

His first piece of advice was to work really hard. He shared that there is no substitute to working hard, and that one can measure each day if one has given an honest day’s work.

The second piece of advice is what I would like to primarily focus on, and that advice was to be meek. As a tool to measure one’s meekness, he shared a conversation that he had overheard where a faculty member was discussing the president of our university, Dr. Kevin J. Worthen. This faculty member described Dr. Worthen as having an incredibly high intelligence to arrogance ratio, illustrated below.


Imagine that one’s intelligence and arrogance can be quantified, then the intelligence to arrogance ratio would be your quantified intelligence divided by your quantified arrogance. For example, if one is incredibly dumb but also quite full of themselves, then the ratio would be extremely low. On the other hand, if one is reasonably intelligent while still humble, then the ratio is quite high. As a third example, if one is intelligent, but also pompous, then the ratio will be around 1.

In my experience, the individuals with a low ratio are the most pleasant to be around, because they offer interesting insights and advice while not being condescending. They are the ones that show you (rather than tell you) how intelligent they are.

I found this advice to be incredibly insightful and useful to all. I hope to increase my own intelligence to arrogance ratio as I pursue higher education and gain more life experience.

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