Can you be smart enough that you are too smart for your own good, but not quite smart enough to become something truly great?
When I was very young, some time around third grade, my teacher must have seen something in me. She requested that I have an I.Q. test administered. My parents didn’t tell me what I scored at the time, but I knew it had to be pretty good because I was immediately placed in a program my school had which was called the “gifted” program.
Once a week, everyone in the gifted program (there were about 10 of us), would get bussed off to a special building to be taught special topics. Leaving class on those days, to leave the others behind, knowing that they all knew who we were, and where we were going, was a good feeling. It was my first taste of pride. Proud of myself for being noticed as something more special than the others.
Yet, I do not feel I used the tools given to me in any special way. By the time I was in high school, I was enrolled in all advanced placement classes, and I was over 6 feet tall. Looking back, had I tried, I probably could have been a star athlete in the sport of my choosing, or maybe a star student. I probably could have gotten scholarships, or into Ivy League schools on either academic or athletic merit. But I didn’t.
I used my gifts, to enable me to be lazy. I could sleep through class, skip homework assignments, write book reports on books I had barely skimmed through. I could skate by without even trying. Sad thing is, this trait followed me through college, and into my adult life, and I behave much the same now. I appear to excel at things when in reality, I am hardly even trying.
When it was time to take my SAT’s, I didn’t care. I knew I could get the score I wanted. I didn’t prepare, I didn’t study. The night before I stayed up too late and got to my test 15 minutes late, having forgotten my pencil, and my calculator. I took the test, without a calculator, using a borrowed pencil, and finished first. I scored 1450.
The difficult thing, is pride. I was later told by my mother the score I got on the I.Q. test. I don’t take it for much since I was probably only 7 years old when I took it, but the score she told me was 157. While I am almost certain that number is a lie. I was proud of it. Not only was I proud of it, I was cocky about it. I did not openly brag, and did not appear cocky, but in my own head, and in my own life – I was cocky. I knew I didn’t have to try very hard, and as such I didn’t. The gifted program, and that number, made me so cocky and proud, that I was probably worse off.
Now I realize, perhaps, I am not really all that smart after all. I see kids who I easily out performed in high school with doctorates from the finest Ivy League schools, scholarships, everything I didn’t get. I graduated college and took a high paying job right away. A job in a field I do not like. A job I am still in today. All because I was lazy. I was, and still am, complacent. If I was smart, I would have recognized the power of what I had, and used it in a much better way.
There is a phenomenon where I feel some people are too smart for their own good. I have had a theory about it for a long time, but I never actually applied it to myself, until now. The theory is that some people are so smart, they are stupid. Not in the savant sort of way, but an entirely different way altogether.
One of my best friends growing up is who gave me this idea. He was easily smarter than I ever was, or ever will be. Yet, the decisions he made, were terrible. He saw the flaws in society, and rebelled against them. He saw the flaws in the school system, and as such, dropped out of school. He was smart enough to recognize the flaws in the world, and probably how the fix them. But he was too dumb to realize that he was better off playing along with the system, and taking advantage of it.
I have coasted through life on raw intelligence alone, but I lack any sort of real drive. There are things I want to do, things I wish I could do. There are ideas I have, and dreams I dream. I see a world full of things I could do, becoming things I could have done. I have some major personal flaws which intelligence cannot outweigh. I lack drive and motivation to be something more, and I contain just enough pride to the point where I still feel like I can sit up on a perch above everyone else. Expecting people to simply recognize something in me that third grade teacher did, and handing me an opportunity to be something more, again. My mind races all the time. I become easily stressed out and overwhelmed with my own ideas. I am perpetually depressed.
I need an outlet. I need to start doing things myself, before everything I want to do becomes something I can no longer do, but merely something I could have done.