So yesterday I had a day off… It was very nice and I spent some relaxing time with my best friend from school… It got me thinking…
Whilst Katie and I were driving home, I mentioned some of the characters I went to school with… We had a couple of ultra-gifted, highly intelligent students who were taking formal examinations years before the rest of us.
Yet those same guys were seemingly socially inept, went on to make some very poor life decisions, had a variety of problems occur to them through what would appear to be lack of common sense.
Why am I mentioning this today? Let me explain…
There seems to be a very popular question among people who think plenty… What are the reasons that so many people with high IQs seem to lack common sense?
Even today, as a fully fledged grown-up (just about) I personally know and encounter lots of incredible intellectuals who seem to have a really difficult time managing even the simplest of day-to-day affairs.
Earlier this year, I was sent an email from a close friend in the US who was attending the ‘World Gathering of Geniuses’ in Florida where on the list of topics to be discussed was the subject: Dumb Things Smart People Do.
Hahaha… Even geniuses of the world seem to believe and notice this phenomena!
Of course, the odd momentary lapse of common sense does happen to all of us, doesn’t it? We can all cite what was a ‘mad moment’ (or two), can’t we?
It is just that these lapses do tend to be more pronounced and more obvious when so-called ‘brilliant minds’ are involved.
Maybe it is that being around people with superior mental abilities is a bit intimidating? As a result, them doing something lacking in common sense or having a crazy lapse of some kind might cause someone to react in a way that helps balance out that initial intimidation?
It’s like when I am running my hypnotherapy training diploma, or a self-hypnosis seminar… I’ll mention self-limiting words of language patterns to avoid in the therapeutic environment… And then if I ever use an aforementioned word, boy, do the students jump on it!
The funny thing is that here in England, our society shamelessly idolises most of those young men who scored six goals against Andorra last night in the football World Cup qualifying campaign… Yet the group of young men and women who are attending the mathematics Olympics representing us, are seen as fair game and who and how they are is not treated very seriously at all. A TV documentary about them earlier this year seemed to spend all its energy on how unusual these people were and how ‘dysfunctional’ their daily lives were in contrast to mainstream society… Which annoyed me a tad.
Where does this bias come from? Is it a result of dealing with the unknown? The unknown does tend to induce fear in many, doesn’t it?
While our footballers excel at the obvious, the genius has incomprehensible and thus potentially threatening talents.
It seems to me that in general have a difficult time dealing with those that are perceived as super-intelligent, academic geniuses or egg-heads of some kind…
Some might see it as an unfortunate consequence, that the UK has dropped in its world ranking recently when compared to industrialised nations on tests of Scholastic Aptitude.
And then what about the issue of underemployment? I’m talking about those people with humongous IQs who find themselves in dead-end laborious jobs or minimum wage paying roles.
Maybe a regular boss outside of academic natured employment paths may not want to hire someone he believes might make him look less than competent on the job.
And woe betide any employee capable of spotting that the company is, in fact, being run in a less than effective way who in turn has ideas on how to do things more effectively! They may be perceived by the potential boss as more of a pain than a benefit. Change, even for the better, is often seen as a stressing prospect.
Don’t get me wrong here, those high IQ folks are certainly not without any blame if they end up facing less than productive life paths and career choices.
We have been discussing savants in my members area in the past year or so and some do a very good job of contributing to being seen as idiots.
Perhaps this is because growing up with a ’superior brain’ can be seen as more of a handicap than an advantage. Kids sometimes prefer to fit in rather than be seen as ‘gifted’ or special. Those terms are sometimes equated with being unusual or even weird.
It tends to be true also that their interests vary from the interests of the more typical of their same-aged peers, and they aren’t always accepted with open arms. All this can lead to adults who exhibit poorly developed social skills with a tendency towards condescending superiority specifically and a history of maladaptive behaviour generally… What a palaver, eh?
I suppose genius can be a double-edged sword.
Though if you lack common sense, in my book, I’d find it tough to consider you a genius… Now I know people will email me and say, “Depends on what your definition of genius is,” and, “Who decides what genius is?” etc… But I think you’ll know where I am coming from… 🙂
Picking up on your point about “And woe betide any employee capable of spotting that the company is, in fact, being run in a less than effective way…” That reminds me of a time years ago when I said to my boss, “I think we could get a lot more business by taking this new approach.” He came back quick as a flash, “You’re not paid to think, get out there and sell something.”
And thank goodness you work for yourself now Andrew!