Friday, April 29, 2011

I am very smart.

I recently finished Atlas Shrugged, which turned out to be the most important book I've ever read. The most important thing I took away from it was the title of this post. I am very smart.

I'm not kind of intelligent, I'm not weirdly smart, I don't just happen to figure things out. It is neither freaky nor scary that I understand, learn, comprehend, correlate, and retain a wide variety of information about a wide variety of topics faster than almost anyone I know.

I will no longer feel the need to make excuses for my intelligence, because I was conditioned to do just that, and never realized it until Ayn Rand wrote about people who intentionally limit your potential by making you feel bad for being better than they are.

At work, I am excelling at my tasks and surpassing coworkers who have been doing for years what I've been doing for 4 months. I knew I was good at my job, but I didn't have enough experience to know just how good I was. Coworkers have asked me to help them with things they should have been able to do. At the time it confused me, but after I realized why, I had to laugh. These people knew I was smarter than them, and I still didn't.

But how dare I think like this? I should hide my talent. I should bury my skills. I should pretend they are an accident. What would happen if I made someone feel bad about themselves?

It is smug.
It is vain.
It is prideful.
It is unseemly.
It is antagonistic.
It is condescending.

But it is the truth.

When I was very young, my mother told me that when the kids made fun of me for being so smart, it was because they were jealous. I rejected that notion immediately, and never revisited the premise. It took decades for me to realize it, but it is completely true. Yet the opposite was what I would have said without a thought before that realization.

What other self-limiting falsehoods lie in the unchallenged corners of my mind, planted long ago by the enemies of my ability?

What buried truths lay undiscovered?

Who have I become with these mental blocks placed in my path?

But more importantly...

Who could I be if I remove them all?

Is there a limit to my potential if I remove them all?

Is there anything that could stop me if I remove them all?

There's only one way to find out. the way; who told you you weren't as smart as me?

Edit after comments: What if the people who are the engines of this world are not that way because of their natural ability, but because of their state of mind?


Whitebread said...

ESR, is that you?

Newbius said...

A is A.

Live it.

Davidwhitewolf said...


Post would read better if you fixed the typos. :p

You might, btw, check with your parents to see if you were given an IQ test at school in, say, first grade. I had no idea until my mom casually mentioned it to me one day in my senior year of high school.

Fletch said...

David, I didn't take an IQ test as a kid, but they did do standardized testing which put me in the gifted program. A program which, instead of making my classes more challenging, got my school more funding.

Your comment leads me to a point I failed to include; if you lack natural ability, you can still do what those with it can do by sheer force of will. Anyone can do what a smarter person can do, they will just have to try a little harder. I've had people I knew I was smarter than surpass me by studying for hours every night. A driven individual can easily surpass an overconfident smart person. This is why destroying mental blocks is more important than natural ability.

I fixed a typo (missing word), let me know if I missed another. Like I said; I am very smart, but that seems to make my brain read over missing words, and complete any incomplete thoughts automatically. This makes it hard to proofread my own writing. It is also why I can't skim when I read; my brain gets the important words and reorders them into an idea it thinks should fit. It's like it gets the gist of a sentence and says, "You can stop, I already know what you're going to say." It can be very annoying, because it can be very wrong sometimes. This problem actually works its way into my everyday life in situations my wife describes as so simple that I complicate them. I'm actually so smart, that my brain will trip me up. This is why a "no limits" mentality with a "never quit" attitude will always win over natural ability.

Fletch said...

Case in point; I've probably read this post 15 times, slowly and deliberately, looking for typos. I just now saw the grammar mistake in the first three words. Yep, I'm a genius alright.

NotClauswitz said...

IMO engines are caloric-driven and that has emotion leveraged into it. Is all state-of-mind. Some states flip emotional switches and drive calories -- which is how Democrats are born. Never had a test, either - I believe that started later when it became more competitive.

I'm just saying: said...

You are intelligent, witty, and humble. Make no apologies for being wicked smart. I can't imagine that you would make someone feel bad or hurt their feelings for being intelligent. Though if someone were, then that is their problem to deal with. good one ya mate! I'm glad to know you!

phlegmfatale said...

Fabulous post. I love it!

Anonymous said...

As for engines of success, consider EQ vs. IQ.

I read "Atlas Shrugged" awhile back and was completely underwhelmed for a lot of reasons.