- Intelligence can be a gift and a curse, as plenty of so-called “geniuses” have trouble with certain tasks and concepts that many people would view as straightforward
- Here are some of the seemingly simple things that can actually be a massive headache for people with a big brain
- Read more about intelligence here
The Notorious B.I.G. famously outlined the correlation between wealth and misery on “Mo Money Mo Problems,” the posthumous song that was released in the wake of the death of the man who sadly served as the ultimate cautionary tale when it came to highlighting the issue he was addressing on the track.
The rapper was just one of many people who’ve been forced to grapple with the pitfalls that frequently accompany the kind of financial windfalls that prove it’s possible to have too much of a good thing. However, there are plenty of other assets that tend to be accompanied by downsides most people would never even take into consideration.
That’s especially true when it comes to intelligence. Being a certified brainiac might seem like a pretty sweet gig at first glance, but when you take a look at how often “tortured” tends to precede the word “genius” when it comes to describing many of history’s most famous minds, it becomes pretty clear there can be a bit of a dark side.
Of course, plenty of exceptionally smart people are able to figure out a way to avoid being consumed by their own brilliance. However, that doesn’t mean it’s always a walk in the park—especially when it comes to dealing with these supposedly “simple” things that a lot of geniuses end up struggling with.
This is easily the one entry on this list that unites geniuses and the rest of the population more than anything else.
After all, it’s virtually impossible for anyone to devote the formative years of their life working their way through the compulsory education ranks without encountering at least a few issues along the way—including geniuses. There are plenty of relatable cases concerning notable thinkers who struggled with a specific subject, but there’s also a bigger picture issue you might have a harder time sympathizing with: sheer boredom.
Most classrooms operate on the assumption that every student is on a fairly even playing field, which can be detrimental to outliers on both ends of the spectrum. It’s easy to understand why more time and effort is devoted to students who struggle with the basics, but it’s also easy to understand why an elementary schooler capable of acing a high school class might grow bored, restless, and disillusioned when they’re forced to spend all day listening to their teacher repeatedly attempt to hammer home a concept they were able to grasp as a four-year-old.
If it sounds like a nightmare, that’s because it is.
6. Playing By The Rules
We naturally live our lives by a commonly accepted set of rules. They’re not even things we think about. We just follow them because, well, that’s just the way it is and it’s easier that way.
If you’ve ever met a genius then, you know that they think about everything and that means that they inevitably question a lot of the things most people take for granted. The result is that it’s hard for them to live within the same social constructs as the rest of us. It simply doesn’t make sense to them
In many cases, they end up resenting the fact that they’re expected to in the first place, which can only make the problem worse and result in them acting out or bucking convention to prove a point (which is why your weird cousin with an IQ of 165 IQ wore shorts to your wedding).
5. Meeting People
A number of studies have shown that there is a fairly strong correlation between genius and social and behavioral disorders like autism (which also serves as the foundation for a well-established and incredibly tired Hollywood trope).
Whether this is a pure accident of chemistry or whether it’s due to our own biases of what’s “normal,” the end result is that a lot of geniuses have trouble dealing with people—especially when it involves meeting new ones.
Now I’m not talking some clichéd foot-in-mouth nonsense where the genius just wants to talk in Klingon all day. What I’m talking about is a genuine inability to even initiate contact with another human being.
My theory is that geniuses have an internal monologue (n other words, they spend way too much time thinking) that ends up paralyzing them That makes it really easy to psyche yourself out and when that happens suddenly meeting people for them is as difficult as rocket science is for the rest of the world.
4. Small Talk
Even if they do manage to meet people without much of a problem, it’s hard for many geniuses to get any further than that because they suck at making small talk.
You probably don’t realize it, but a huge chunk of your daily interaction with people involves meaningless banter that you just participate in without really thinking about it. Now, you might know there’s nothing more cliché than talking about the weather during a cursory interaction with a stranger, but that’s not going to stop you from doing it anyway because it makes life a little easier for everyone. It’s easy and it’s comfortable and you don’t have to think twice about it.
Therein lies the issues: geniuses love to think twice about it—and then they like to think about it a third time and then a fourth time and then… you get the point. When you spend so much time focusing on the idiotic and meaningless topics and phrases that we all use to get by, it’s hard not to see them as completely ridiculous.
Geniuses suck at making small talk because they simply can’t see the point. Small talk is lubrication for social convention, and as we’ve already seen, geniuses don’t care much for social convention.
3. Working A Typical Job
It’s kind of hard to land a decent job when you have no idea how to talk to people on their level, no matter how smart you are.
A lot of geniuses can’t even make it through the interview process because they refuse to play along with the games we all accept as part of that whole deal. They’ll answer honestly and often brutally and hey, guess what? People don’t really like that.
If they do get a decent job, there’s still the whole “playing nice with others” thing, which is kind of hard to do when you think everyone’s an idiot. After all, a person on the low end of the genius scale has a 140 IQ, which is 40 points higher than average. Imagine going to work every day and trying to deal with people with 60 IQs. You’d go nuts, right?
Well, that’s what it’s like for geniuses. To them, all their coworkers and their bosses are Forrest Gump.
2. Adjusting To A World Defined By Structure
When you spend so much time questioning the rules of society, it tends to have a domino effect on the rest of your life. Suddenly, you can’t understand why you need to arbitrarily be at the office from nine to five—especially when you’re so smart that you can probably get your work done in less than an hour.
Next, you wonder why you should go to sleep just because the sun goes down. Studies have shown that geniuses are statistically more likely to be night owls, which some people have theorized could have been exacerbated by the introduction of electricity.
The rationale is that geniuses have long understood the so-called “need” to sleep when the sun goes down and wake when it comes up—inherent in humanity for millennia—was an inherently flawed belief that was potentially detrimental to progress on the individual and societal level, which led to them rejecting traditional sleeping patterns and biorhythms.
In short: their bodies literally change to accommodate these intuitive leaps that the rest of us simply don’t make (either that or they’re on uppers).
1. Not Driving Themselves To The Brink Of Insanity
Take everything else on this list—the inability to play by rules, the high incidence of mental instability and behavioral disorder, the social alienation and inability to fit into the world’s standards for normality—and it becomes easy to see why so many things in everyday life are a surprising struggle for a lot of geniuses.
There’s a reason the phrase “there’s a fine line between genius and insanity” has managed to stand the test of time. It’s got to drive geniuses completely insane to have to live in a world designed by people who fail to realize what seems so obvious to them. The idea of the “tortured genius” makes much more sense when you realize being subjected to that kind of daily existence could literally be torture if you’re forced to endure it for long enough.
So, yeah. Be careful what you wish for.