Things I’ve Learned

I just received the following email from A_____:

I’ve spent most of my life trying to be like everyone else which is (average). It has done nothing and I am still as isolated as I was before. No degree, working a low paying job with minimal social interaction. Do you have any tips? Maybe there is no way for me to be average but maybe get to a better place. Your story was similar to mine.

Hi, and thanks for writing. I’m glad you reached out.

There are a couple things I can say in response. First off is stop trying to be like everyone else. There are certainly ways to fit in with the people around you, but don’t try to make yourself into something other than what you are. If you’re gifted — as much as I dislike that terminology — it can and should be something good in your life. I’ve little doubt you can get to a better place in your life.

Second, I can recommend a few books I’ve read that I thought were great at helping me wrap my head around my own existence and how to deal with the world.

Gifted Grownups: The Mixed Blessings of Extraordinary Potential by Marylou Kelly Streznewski

Another that I am currently reading is:

Your Own Worst Enemy: Breaking the Habit of Adult Underachievement by Ken Christian

There are a lot of good books out there. You might also look on the web for information about “The Theory of Positive Disintegration”, which may or may not apply to you.

Third, I’ll say that you should find ways to begin communicating with other people who are like yourself. The Internet is an incredible resource for just such thing. This blog became that resource for me. I’ve no doubt there are other, better, places you might go as well. I know of one such site that is not yet open to the public, but I’ll happily publicize it when it’s “ready for prime time”. You might try joining Mensa or something similar. Heck, find a local club or activity that is the type of thing that attracts intelligent people. The short version is: You are not nearly as alone as you think you are.

I’ve been going to a psychologist for the last several months, and I can honestly say that one of the most useful parts of that is when I talk about some crazy-ass thing about myself, and he tells me “that’s actually pretty common”. (Note however that I found a shrink who is specifically experienced with highly intelligent people.)

And, push come to shove, drop me another line. I’ll be here (if not immediately, eventually). If you don’t want me printing a letter, just say so and I’ll respect that wish.

Peace, and good luck.

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