Many people have an illusion that high intelligence is an elixir, which can help you seamlessly rise above the regular day-to-day challenges. It is generally perceived that – the higher IQ you’ve, the more successful you’re likely to be.
It helps in certain areas, no doubt. It may help you ace academics, puzzles, research areas, etc. But real life is a different ball game altogether – wherein mere intelligence isn’t the most important indicator of success. In fact, it many cases, it could also prove to be detrimental to one’s potential to succeed.
For all the hype that goes into believing how amazing and gifted it is to be smart, there are also some glaring disadvantages which may hit you on the way. It has downsides, specially when it comes to dealing with an “average” world.
You’re perceived to be highly intelligent in your circles. Your quick wit and ability to recite countless pieces of random information are often lapped up by others.
You have the ability to predict and manipulate situations to work in your favor. You can easily work you way around problems.
You can achieve and get everything you want. Everything is perfect. Everything about you seems to exude confidence.
Sounds perfect, doesn’t it? Well, there’s more…
Soon you discover that your intelligence is also working against you. You tend to overthink every situation, so much so that – much is lost in translation to action.
Your constant need to have-it-all-figured-out paralyses you with never-ending analysis. Crippling introspection leaves you living in your head and wondering, “Why the hell is this happening?”
You stop enjoying life and living in the moment. Every detail of your life is under a scanner.
Your brain seems to conspire against you, and you can’t really stop it. You know that each time you bring up yet another contemplation (“Has life become too meaningless?”), you are contributing to more stress and feelings of inadequacy.
It seems impossible to control your thoughts. Nothing seems to be going right anymore.
You walk on egg shells around people wondering what tone of voice you should use when asking them for a favour. Or regret why you did something 5 years ago and how you could have easily avoided it. And so on…
Days at work are spent writing down ways in which you can return to your witty, happy-go-lucky self. You think you have it all figured out, until you return home. Your beloved one doesn’t immediately greet you. Insecurities swirl.
You begin to jot down your thoughts, into your deepest pool of insecurities. You start thinking even deeper about why you can’t stop dissecting every facet of every interaction that you have. You realize how much easier it would be if you just stopped analyzing and making mountains out of molehills.
How much easier would it be, if you’d be happy with what you’ve already achieved, instead of always trying to achieve something more and more? How much easier would it be if you didn’t notice the little things? And if you didn’t ruminate every damn incident of your life.
You start cursing your own mind. Your high intelligence becomes a detriment to what you long for the most. You begin to envy those around you who don’t look at the world with the same scrutiny.
“Why couldn’t I just be dumb?” you say to yourself. “Dumb people seem happy.” Ignorance is bliss. You keep telling yourself that it’s your sheer intellect that makes you so hard to live life as it is. Your own complexities strip you off your happiness.
Intelligence is a double-edged sword. More intelligence isn’t necessarily better. In fact, it’s undesirable. To succeed in anything, you need just the right amount of intelligence.
Dumb people (In this piece, dumb is a reference to those with the perfect or lower amount of intellect) are actually better suited to be successful in the long run.
Come to think of it, dumb ones tend to have a better success rate when it comes to “actually” doing something tangible than their more intelligent peers.
They aren’t paralyzed by constant analysis. Hell, most of the times, they aren’t even aware of the consequences! They just execute, without much introspection. They just go in and talk to people. There is no scope for information overwhelm, and this lets them stay relaxed and confident. They are the ones who actually get things done.
Smarter people tend to use their intelligence as a crutch, and usually refusing to work on their weaknesses. While it’s sometimes better to double down on your strengths, in most other cases, avoiding glaring weaknesses can keep you from improving. Dumb people are more receptive to their weaknesses and are often willing to ask for help and improve themselves.
Smarter people also tend to be snobs. They tend to defend intelligence as the only key to success, simply because that’s all they’ve. Yet many smart ones are not successful. Why?
Because, ego overpowers their reality. Factors apart from intelligence – like resilience and EQ are equally crucial and worth improving. However, many smarts fail to realize, acknowledge or work on this.
Smarter people are also prone to the “Shiny Object” syndrome. They’re often tempted by too many goals. They fear missing out on something if they’ve to focus on something else. The resulting lack of focus ultimately becomes their undoing.
So it’s not difficult to see why many smart folks fail to live up to their potential, right? Smarter ones have it equally tough (if not more). Their high intelligence inhibits their potential, while your limited intelligence might actually take you far, very far!
Ultimately, this realization also acts as a great leveller. There’s no reason to envy those with superior intelligence. They’ve an additional set of complexities to deal with. What we really need to succeed is – making a SUCCESS of whatever limited capabilities we have. This equality of opportunity is what we need to really bank on!