I can't remember who first broached this question of me, but it stuck with me, mainly because of how much I had to think about it: Which would I rather be—incredibly beautiful, intelligent, or athletically gifted? Of course, I had to find out what others thought, which is why I broached the question for this week's NON contest.
Since I'm already both incredibly beautiful and intelligent, it's a moot question. Ha, ha. Just seeing if you're paying attention.
The vanity in me was torn between all three, actually. It'd be really gratifying to be more than just coordinated, but actually skilled at sports. However, I could only think of one good reason: I'd make a hunk of change for a living (and I'd be able to campaign from a good standpoint to equalize pay between men and women).
Beauty had the same singular appeal. I'm vain enough to find pleasure in being able to stop traffic/conversations at the mere sight of me (in a good way, not in a "dear god, what is that thing?" kind of way). Beautiful people have hidden benefits, too, since people unconsciously treat them better, pay them more, and let them get away with more. It'd definitely launch my career as a part-time supermodel or actress. But to be famous for simply being attractive...there's not a lot of lasting value in that for me.
Which brings me to intelligence. There are selfish benefits (think Vegas, think inventions—ahem, Mr. Gates), but it's the only choice that allows for the immediate opportunity to do more than benefit yourself. Yes, with athletic skill or extreme beauty, you could amass wealth and then donate it to worthy causes, but with great intelligence, you could better humanity through inventions not yet conceived, cures not yet created, shoot, even management structures not yet dreamed of. There's simply a much greater benefit to great intelligence. So if I had a choice, I'd go with a high IQ over flawless features or athletic prowess.