The man widely believed to be the most intelligent person that ever lived; William James spoke 8 languages at the age of 8, admitted into Harvard at the age of 11 and graduated at age 16. However, he lived a secluded life, struggled with loneliness, and died a nobody.
You don’t have a high IQ as William James to experience the challenges of having above-average intelligence. People would often envy an intelligent person as being lucky and favored. But most people fail to see the struggles and challenges that come with being intelligent. Being smart has huge benefits, but it isn’t always easy. Here are five problems that highly intelligent people often have and a few ways to overcome them. Before we get to it, I’ll like to invite you to subscribe to After School TV for more insightful videos like this.
1. Being under more pressure to achieve success
The story of William James shows how being under pressure to achieve success can ruin a person’s life. His father discovered his extraordinary intelligence and started putting pressure on him at an early age. He wanted him to get into Harvard at the age of nine. He set high standards for his son, all because he wanted to show him off to the world. But the story didn’t end well.
If you went through school as one of the best students in most of your classes, there is a higher pressure for you to achieve success. It’s almost like an anomaly for an intelligent person to not achieve a certain level of success. Parents, friends, teachers, and peers have high expectations which can cause you to become too hard on yourself.
I know how this feels being someone that always demonstrated impressive academic intelligence. If you are not cautious, you will be forced to take a predictable safe path to avoid the possibility of turning out a failure.
To overcome this, you have to define what success means to you and not what people impose on you. Typically, people will see success for you as working in a large organization and growing through the corporate ranks. There is nothing wrong with that if that is what you want. But don’t try to fit yourself into what people define to be a success for you.
You have to balance yourself between pursuing academic and career excellence and exploring your passion. No one’s life is all about academic or career success. You have to find other ways to value yourself beyond your academic prowess.
The purpose of intelligence is not to get to a point where you speak with complicated words to intimidate other people. The purpose of intelligence is to create innovative solutions to solve people’s problems. So instead of wallowing under the pressure of making it – to prove your intelligence – focus on being a resource person capable of solving problems.
2. Being a perfectionist
Intelligent people are good at analyzing things. This often works for or against them. It’s easy for them to find faults and problems with everything. Nothing is ever good enough, not even them. In their quest to find perfection, they tend to overwork and overdo. Or in the worst scenario, they never get anything done. We all have that intelligent friend who can analyze any situation and give you the solution to everything problem. But we know this person to be bad at starting and finishing anything. Whenever possible they try to compensate for their inactive by sounding intelligent. It’s important to seek excellence in what we do, but when taken overboard, it can become a disadvantage.
To overcome this, you need to understand that no matter how perfect something may appear, there will always be someone that’ll have a problem with it. You also need to understand that what may seem perfect today may become obsolete tomorrow. So instead of getting caught up in building a perfect product or career, focus instead on adaption and innovation. There is no fixed product. Everything is subject to improvement regardless of how intelligent the creators may be.
3. Suffering from paralysis by analysis
Sometimes, ignorance can be a blessing. For example, Elon Musk admitted that if he had all the information about what it required to build a company that manufactured rockets, he might have been discouraged from starting. Jumping in with his ignorance eliminated the need to be caught up in analysis paralysis.
Over analyzing can often lead to paralysis from taking action. Because the longer you are stuck in analyzing, the bigger and more difficult the task appears. And the more difficult it becomes to make a decision. That is why trying to get the whole picture planned out can work against you. Sometimes, all you need is to know your end goal and the first few steps to take. It’s impossible to figure everything out from analyzing. At a point, you have to make a decision, get out there and start getting something done.
4. Dealing with mistakes
Intelligent people are used to being called out for making little mistakes that other people are easily excused for. They are called out for dropping a point in their result. They are called out for playing too much, for socializing too much, or for doing most other things normal people do.
As a result, they grow up being too careful from making mistakes. This leads to developing the fear of failure and the drive for perfectionism. They base their self-worth on their ability to get it right all the time; therefore will not entertain anything that proved them to be less intelligent. It’s hard for people like this to deal with mistakes.
To learn to deal with mistakes, you have to understand that no one is above mistake; and it is impossible to live a worthy life without making mistakes and failing at something. The world has been around for centuries long before you were born. It is impossible to know and understand everything within your short life so far. You have a lot to learn. And you have many mistakes away to get to where you want. In other words, learn to embrace mistakes as part of the learning process.
5. Having difficulty finding friends
Intelligent people tend to analyze things a lot, which can make them over-critical when dealing with other people. They may be good at interacting with people but they find it difficult building friendships with just anyone.
People often mistake them as being too full of themselves and not being sociable. But that is not mostly the case. Intelligent people place a high price on their time and what they spend it on. They would rather seek relationships with people that share their interests and inclinations. However, this can lead to isolation and loneliness when they don’t find people that fit their criteria for friendship. To them, it’s better to be lonely than to have the wrong people around them.
One important thing to understand is that sometimes, a good friendship can come from someone that has a different type of intelligence to complement yours. For example, if you are a highly analytical person, someone that is highly intuitive may help provide a balance to your one-sided approach to life. Valuing those who have different skills can lead to a more balanced and rewarding friendship.
It’s important to understand that life does not revolve around how intelligent you are. Being intelligent has its advantages when applied wisely; it can also become a curse when you build your entire world around it. There are other forms of intelligence that are as important to build a successful life like social and emotional intelligence. And there would be times in your life when you’ll need to shut out your analytical mind and go with your intuition.
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