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Thread: Does age make you smarter?

  1. #1

    Default Does age make you smarter?

    I would of thought that idea died out a bit ago, yet I still see it come up from time to time still. Personally it drives me up a wall when people say they are older then me, thus they know more and basically talk you down because of your age.

    The only way I've ever seen how it can really apply is when you are talking about a certain field in which a person has a lot of experience in. The idea being the older person would of worked longer in the field, thus had more experience in it and thus know more then someone in their 20s who may not have worked as long in that field.

    At the same time though, I fail to see why age matters in that. The world changes, in 40 years when I'm almost 62, there will always be "kids" who know way more then ever will. Hell there are kids right now that know more in some fields then I do. But it seems the idea would be I'm older thus should know way more then they will until they get my age right?

    Not great at putting thought to paper but hopefully it makes enough sense to debate the idea. Do you think age makes a person "smarter" then someone who is younger? Does anyone else get annoyed by it?

  2. #2

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    For most people age brings maturity and maybe wisdom. It's more a change in outlook and attitude than knowledge.

  3. #3

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    It's generally said that the older you are, the more knowledge you contain, hence, the smarter you are.

  4. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by Coyote_Howl View Post
    Do you think age makes a person "smarter" then someone who is younger?
    I like the proverb;

    With wisdom comes age, but the reverse is not necessarily true.

  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by Coyote_Howl View Post
    I would of thought that idea died out a bit ago, yet I still see it come up from time to time still. Personally it drives me up a wall when people say they are older then me, thus they know more and basically talk you down because of your age.

    The only way I've ever seen how it can really apply is when you are talking about a certain field in which a person has a lot of experience in. The idea being the older person would of worked longer in the field, thus had more experience in it and thus know more then someone in their 20s who may not have worked as long in that field.
    I think in a work context it depends on the people. When I was about your age I was employed to fill a senior position in an IT company (all be it in a small one!). The firm had specifically wanted someone who was more highly qualified and more experienced in certain technologies than their existing technical staff to take a lead in developing the team's skills. Although I was actually the youngest employee in the company when I started, I'd been working in industry since I was 16 so had a good five years of experience and some decent industry certifications to back it up.

    However I received a somewhat mixed response when I started. Some people welcomed my presence and were pretty positive about the idea of having me coach them. A couple, however, throw wobblers.
    It ended up with one guy leaving (only partly because of having a younger person in a more senior position, but still...) and the other was given a the same pay and job title as me, because the firm couldn't afford to lose two out of five field engineers at once
    Its very, very annoying and frustrating when that happens!

    Even now I occasionally run into people who assume I'm inexperienced or that they know more about a particular thing than I do because of my age. I sometimes have to remind my colleagues that, to coin a phrase, "this ain't my first picnic!".
    On the flip side though I'm sometimes guilty of "teaching people to suck eggs", usually when I'm trying to be helpful and take it too far



    Quote Originally Posted by Khaymen View Post
    I like the proverb;

    With wisdom comes age, but the reverse is not necessarily true.
    I couldn't agree more, anyone can be as think as two short planks, regardless of age!

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by Coyote_Howl View Post
    Not great at putting thought to paper
    does that answer your question?

    okay, so we are talking about stereotypes here, but in a nutshell: an old hand will win everytime.
    it's about knowing, understanding and appreciating the bigger picture, as well as all the little details and how they fit into the big picture. few young people will have had the [mis]fortune to have been through enough to have a good view of the bigger picture.

    you've heard the phrase, 'thinking outside of the box'? well, bear in mind that a younger person's mind was constructed entirely within 'the box'.

    and you could also ponder why it is that you are pondering such things; like, are you automatically assuming that smarter is better?
    one can be too brainy for one's own good, just as one can be too brawny for one's own good.

  7. #7

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    Does age make you smarter? Yes and no. A younger person can obviously have studied and read and learned more in various fields than an older person. Most younger people know way more about computers than do their parents, for instance, and there are certainly older people that either wasted their opportunities and have bounced and coasted through life or were never that capable in the first place and wound up in a sort of dead-end scenario. Looking at it from that angle, of just "book smarts" if you will, then yeah, certainly young people can be smarter than older people.

    But, you've committed one of those errors that an older person would quickly point out and claim as proof of the value of age-you discounted experience. Yes, you mentioned it, but here's the thing-experience is not just about knowing more about a specific field. With age comes more exposure to people, power structures, group dynamics, and things of that nature. The idea of "you get smarter with age" is not one of "book learning" or knowing more facts than a younger person, although in many cases that is true as well. It's about having more experiences and a bunch of intangibles, and in many cases a greater understanding of one's self, that a younger person necessarily would not have. A newly-minted 22-year-old college grad entering the corporate world is not going to understand the unique dynamics a major corporation has because he would not have been exposed to that situation or had to interact with it, but eight years on, his 29-year-old form will have seen power struggles, corporate cronyism, entire departments being wiped off the map as the company struggles for survival, changes in corporate culture and leadership, and will have interacted with a lot of people daily in interactions that would invariably make his life better or worse depending upon the outcome. Those experiences will be useful when that 29-year-old finds himself in a new organization or anywhere else in life.

    Even the burn-out factory worker type that I mentioned earlier that wasted his opportunities will have some of that knowledge. They'll still have to deal with people in differing levels of power in the workplace and how to get stuff done, and they might quietly harbor the experiences that, when spoken aloud, would basically be the, "Don't do what I did, you can do more."



    Honestly, I tend to be one that is of the mind that older people are smarter. I guess ultimately it comes down to nuance. An older person, with more experiences, will be able to discern more nuances in various situations and apply that knowledge. I've met some very smart young people. Hell, I was a very smart young person, and I absolutely do not mean to disparage younger people by any means. The thing that I've noticed, though, and the thing that I know I had yet to learn at age 18 or age 22, and I'm sure I don't by any means know well even now, is that younger people seem to view things very simplistically, more "black and white" compared to older people, and I believe that's from that lack of experience I mention here. Older types will *express* things in more "black and white" terms, but honestly, I think that's more a function of communicative laziness than it is indicative of their ability or lack of ability to discern the nuances of a question.

  8. #8

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mikhailivannovich View Post
    George W bush is a prime example of the no answer to this question
    As easy as that is to say, and for as horrible of a president as he was, one does have to wonder what sorts of information, personalities, and other demands that he had to deal with that we as the unwashed rabble would not be privy to. The Borders bookstore chain is in the process of closing down, and they had "Decision Points" on clearance for $8. I actually considered getting it because although I hated W, I think it would be pretty enlightening to see his perspectives on the events of his presidency. I mean, like him or hate him, he sadly was the President of the United States for eight years, so surely there's at least something to glean from that.

  10. #10

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    I can only speak with any authority from my own experience and I'd say that by almost every measure, I'm way smarter now than I was when I was younger. There's probably a loss of a breadth of facts I had more at my command when I was in school and shortly after but now but the application of those facts was sorely lacking experience. My decision-making and judgment, which are the things that get used most often have improved considerably over time. I think it'd be pretty depressing if that wasn't the case.

    I hate to say something like this to the OP, but you'll probably understand better when you're older

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