The longer I live, the more I suspect the adage that “the grass is always greener” is almost always true.
People want to be rich, but rich people have their own troubles. Likewise, intelligent people have their own crosses to bear.
Here are some things people think are sad truths about smart people.
1. There are so many problems.
Smart people are good at identifying problems.
Normally they are not able to solve them because of outside factors.
Smart people live in a world where everything is broken and no one will allow them to fix it.
2. Trading ego for confidence.
one thing i know i need to control is letting confidence slip into straight ego. Its okay to be confident but in the “i deserve to be here with you my peers” kind of way. Once it slips into an “im better, smarter, stronger etc than these people” it becomes negative.
Confidence is attractive, whether for both platonic and non-platonic relationships. It makes people recognize you are their equal and engage with you more, allows you to hold your own in conversation etc. But when it becomes too great it turns people away, people see you think you are better than them and turn away.
3. You can’t just coast.
Being smart is a practice. You can have potential for intellectual aptitude but your mind must be exercised.
Too many “smart” people from high school/childhood get out into the real world, are met with challenge for the first time, sink into their comfort zone, and then never do a smart thing again.
4. Some people won’t like you.
I’ve had severe social anxiety for most of my life, and when I was younger I had this reputation for being really smart. I didn’t try to encourage it, but everyone in school thought I was the most intelligent girl around, when I really just wanted to be treated like a person.
I remember my senior year when we got ACT scores back, I left class to go to the bathroom and when I came back everyone including the teacher was talking about me. A girl that I had been friends with walked up to me and said “hey coolestbi*chonearth, I heard about your 35… I h**e you.” And then walked away.
I didn’t do anything to her! I didn’t do anything to any of them! But they made fun of me and treated me like I wasn’t a human being, just because they decided I was smarter than them. All I know how to do is read books; how is that even smart?
I’d give anything to be able to interact like regular people.
5. It’s tough when you realize you’re not that smart.
In high school, I was considered one of the “smart ones”. Yet in college, I feel like the dumbest person in the room. I’m almost done with college, and I still have terrible study habits, and procrastinate on all assignments, because I’m still not used to dealing with the challenge, and actually having to work to understand something.
I barely studied in high school, did assignments right before class, and I still managed a 3.5 gpa. I wasn’t doing the easiest classes either, it was a mix of standard, honors, and ap. Definitely feeling the effects of my bad high school habits right now.
I wish schools focused more on preparing you for college instead of making sure you pass some dumb state test. I feel like I was just told to memorize things, but never taught how to learn, which sounds kind of weird, but actually knowing how to learn is an incredibly difficult thing to do.
6. It’s not a warm place to be.
Living in the shadow of your failed potential and being completely aware of it.
7. We’re failing gifted kids everywhere.
You see a lot of people these days talk about how formerly “gifted” students tend to struggle as they get older, and it’s largely because of this.
You can somehow just be smart in grade school and have everything come easily to you, but the flip side is that it robs you of the experience of actually learning how to learn things. I went through this in my senior year of high school and my freshman year of college.
I was a lifetime 4.0 student and very nearly failed a class my first semester of college because I could no longer just listen in class and then go ace every test. I had to actually like take notes and study them and s**t. Wild stuff.
8. The first kind is bad enough.
Having high intelligence make you think a lot and very fast. Which is often good but if you get anxiety, now you have turbo-anxiety.
9. There’s more to life than being smart.
Just because you’re smart enough to see what’s wrong with the world doesn’t mean you’re capable enough to change it.
Just because you’re smart enough to see what’s wrong with yourself doesn’t mean you’re capable enough to change it.
You might form your identity around and measure your self-worth by your talent, your achievements, and the praise you get from others… and that’s no way to live life.
Many smart people, including some friends I know who perhaps could have been much more talented than myself, are flawed in other ways that prevent them from really making anything of their potential. It’s really sad. What’s even more sad is that society likes to gang up on them instead of helping them, because it’s really satisfying to some to hear about the flaws that bring talented people down to earth.
Society will pave a golden path for above average people, but turn their backs on the ones who are exceptional, usually because those people rock the boat too much, see things the world doesn’t want to see, or are generally really awkward and weird as a result of never quite fitting in. If you’re one of those kids, you have to end up in the right place, or you will be left behind.
10. They’re still anonymous.
A lot of them will never get any recognition.
11. The fear of wasted potential.
Intelligence is often paralyzing, and if intelligence is paired with a pessimistic mindset you’ll probably never live up to your potential.
12. It’s hard work either way.
Truly smart people can thrive if they have social skills. if they don’t, you would never know they are smart.
I think having excellent social skills and the ability to connect with others, empathize with others, and perform emotional labor is a type of intelligence that doesn’t get enough credit. It’s hard work!
13. It’s tough to be the one who “gets” it.
I think the book of ecclesiastes puts it best: For with much wisdom comes much sorrow, and as knowledge grows, grief increases.
Or, as u/Shiranda sais it in this post: “One of the first signs of the beginning of understanding is the wish to d**.” Quote from Franz Kafka
The more someone ‘gets’ this world we live in, the more depressing this life becomes. For loads of people don’t care about love, sharing or caring; Money rules all.
14. You have to be able to talk to people, too.
There’s a book called Iconoclast which has the same premise. Written by a neuroscientist, it delves deep into how two people with similar genius can achieve completely opposite results during their lifetime – for example Picasso Vs Van Gogh (who d**d pretty unrecognized) or the guy who came up with the idea for FM (he ended up committing s**cide). He had the far superior tech than AM but lacked the social aptness to get his ideas accepted.
15. We don’t listen to them.
i’m family friends with an epidemiologist, they have been warning that we’re due for a pandemic and we’re not prepared for years.
He was humored at best until last year. He was also one of maybe 5 people in the world that predicted NYC’s cases would drop rapidly during the week where 1/10 people in the city had it. Smart people get ignored until the moment when their right, but IT’S ABOUT BEING PREPARED BEFOREHAND.
16. Knowledge isn’t always power.
The ability to understand most possible outcomes and the consequences often leads to hesitation or inaction. As opposed to some who d**n the consequences and just go for it.
It’s called the perfectionists’ trap. If anyone is struggling with this look online there are some very simple exercises you can do to get your mind out of this. Otherwise talk to a therapist.
17. It can be hard to find purpose.
Most smart people never find meaningful application for their intelligence.
18. Ignorance can be bliss.
Best advice I’ve ever received: “keep it simple stupid.”
Sometimes ignorance truly is bliss.
19. Stay in the box.
I was literally told this in my last performance review:
“We know you’re really smart, but you have to sell it better.”
I had just pulled like a week of 12 hour work days and i was told to send out more mails. I ha**e my existence
20. It’s all relative.
As a person that was repeatedly told how smart I was growing up…1) without social skills it doesn’t mean crap.
2) it easily turns into how you identify yourself and can wreck your mental health (if I’m not smart about everything what good am I??)
3) smart is relative
21. They can struggle in social situations.
I was a career nanny for 10 years, I worked for two families where the parents were doctors. One set especially, Two extremely successful doctors, one anesthesiologist and and a cancer research doctor. I saw their lives from the most intimate view due to working 50+ hours in their home with their children..
the saddest thing is that a lot of them are so, so smart that they stand out as the oddball in all non-academic situations. This is abundantly clear when watching them try to make connections with other, more of average IQ parents
They’re almost just… too brainy and awkward? I have to assume this is a life long struggle.
It just seems isolating at times, I guess is my point here.
22. Expectations are heavy.
I am 31 and peaked in my school years.
It’s depressing and I am embarrassed around family because I think they all imagined me to be the most successful of all the siblings/cousins I grew up with, and instead I’m pretty sure I’m the biggest failure.
I was a teacher’s pet, overachiever, had straight A’s, friends would “h**e” me because I rarely had to study outside of the five minutes before class and would still get among the highest grades. Teachers, adult family members, all of them would single me out (in a good way) for being smart. I was constantly praised for sh%t that required little effort/strain, and it made succeeding feel like a given.
Many of them finished college. I literally dropped out in year one. All of them are employed, and several with pretty nice careers. I have been unemployed for a long time and live with my parents atm. Being smart was my “thing” and felt like it was ripped out from under me overnight.
For the last ten years it’s been a battle with depression and the voice in my head constantly calling me stupid. I can’t remember a time when I didn’t feel like a massive failure, and have a hard time feeling like my younger self was actually me.
Sorry for the personal rant but that’s all to say making it your identity can definitely wreck your mental health and self worth as soon as you start failing and having difficulties as an adult. I do not consider myself smart anymore (haven’t for a long time) because despite having some book smarts I have never adapted to the actual world, and I believe adapting is a necessary component.
Praise kids for working hard and trying hard, not only for the things they are naturally good at.
23. Self-care is important.
That’s kind of the thing they’re talking about. They’re so engulfed in their work that 90% of anything they’ve done in the past month is related to their work.
Many folks like that, especially doctors, need to take care of themselves and take some time to developed more well-rounded. +60hr is incredibly draining beyond just physically.
24. School isn’t real life.
Couldn’t agree more. Being put on an academic pedestal and being intelligent enough to pull off straight A’s without studying set me up for a rude awakening for real life.
25. Everything has a cost.
There’s a cost that comes with spending a lifetime developing one’s intellect, as one sees with doctors (particularly specialists), and the like: less time is devoted to developing the social side of their personalities. That makes those interpersonal connections difficult and awkward.
One of the most brilliant people I’ve ever met was an orthopaedic surgeon, but the man was a social hand grenade. There’s a certain professional bluntness that comes with being a doctor, but in more nuanced social settings that bluntness can come across as dickishness.
To make matters worse, the guy had no idea what made him so off-putting…Smartest f**king guy in the room but he couldn’t understand what the problem was…or maybe he could, he just couldn’t solve it. You can’t make up for YEARS of neglected social graces.
26. Hemingway would know.
“Happiness in intelligent people is the rarest thing I know.”-forgot where this is from
27. Mental health issues abound.
The fact that growing up smart, or being told you’re better or above average, leads to a burnout, anxiety, and depression.
28. They know enough to be depressed.
Smart people can often see the bad stuff coming and can also see that it really isn’t preventable unless people can be convinced to change their behavior and people can rarely be convinced to change their behavior.
It’s depressing watching negative events unfold that you predicted. More often than not, being proved right is really depressing.
29. They don’t like being separated.
The worst is being smarter than the smart people.
I have no idea why my school did this, but they separated the “gifted and talented” (h**e that label it’s such bulls**t) kids into four tiers and told everyone which tier every kid was in. And guess what? If you were in the top tier, every other one of the “gifted and talented” kids h**ed your f**king guts.
It was horrendous. I fit in nowhere, because I was a “gifted from elementary” kid who’d always been separated from everyone else, and then now I was singled out from all the other “gifted” kids with a massive target on my back. Because the one thing smart kids h**e is being told there’s someone smarter than them.
I finally just went and hung out with the stoner/dropout kids, stopped taking anything except “normal” classes, and learned how to pretend to be stupider than I was for the sake of my own sanity. Turns out, that last skill has come in remarkably handy for the rest of my f*cking life.
I’m not sure there’s a better way to be, honestly. So just be yourself!
If you’re smart, do you agree with these? Add your own thoughts in the comments.