Friday, July 11, 2008

The Burden Of Intelligence

**Warning! This post contains statements that could be construed as overtly egotistical. Such instances are purely coincidental. Also, the remaining balance of a 12-pack of PBR can be blamed for any lengthly tangential relations.**
It is extremely difficult to be naturally gifted with a high degree of intelligence. I do not say this to brag; rather, I say it in hope of giving some insight as to what is a daily struggle between realistic expectations and the unattainable goals that come as the result of an ideal built up over several years.

For as long as I can remember, the seemingly complex has usually come easy to me, while what should have been rudimentary was often not without struggle. To this day I can not describe the differences between nouns, verbs, adjectives and the like. On the contrary, I can manipulate the English language with such deftness that almost every teacher/professor I have had has stumbled over themselves to praise my literary prowess; so much so that I (ever so) briefly considered minoring in creative writing. In a previous post I mentioned how my command of mathematics could have been called into question by a single ACT score. For whatever reason, the sole use of numbers seems to provide a severely limited perspective, and thus an even further limited train of thought; thinking in terms of letters and symbols seems much simpler by contrast (and might explain why I like calculus so much).

For whatever reason, seemingly everyone I know seems to think I know everything. I work in a group of engineers, and even they think I am a nerdy know-it-all. This is a great burden to bear because I am constantly put in a position whereupon people look to me for answers; a position that demands absolute perfection at all times. If you try your best, what's the big deal, you say? The bottom line is if I give a wrong answer, I will more than likely let someone down. One could easily make the argument that relying solely on another person's opinion should have an inherent risk. While it is completely unreasonable to think someone has all the answers, we as a society do it all the time (albeit through specialization). Add to that an aura of masculine invincibility and you have the classical situation of unreasonable expectations. While I think this is an extremely unfair position to be put in, it is invariably the hand I have been dealt, and as such is both a panacea and plague.

What is my point of all this whining? Just because I am smart does not necessarily make life easier for me; in fact, it makes it exponentially more difficult. So the next time you run into an alleged know-it-all, remember this: they are not machines, they are people capable of making mistakes, only their mistakes can carry devastating consequences.

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