Smarts. I got ’em. Well, at least according to standardized tests. So, having a high IQ means I’m the CEO of a Fortune 500 company and I’ve discovered the cure for cancer, right? Well, actually a high IQ predicts success in school…and that’s about it. And in my case that prediction was off base–way off.
I basically stopped doing homework from fourth grade until my second try at college. If I knew how to find the answer, why did I have to do it a hundred times over just to prove it? But more importantly, what if I couldn’t find the answer? What if I actually tried and couldn’t do it? What if I was a failure? If I didn’t try, I had an excuse: I totally could have aced it if I cared enough. So instead of actually seeing what I was capable of–or not capable of–I settled for “doesn’t live up to her potential.”
I knew I was smarter than the average bear. But what did that really mean? At times I used it as self-esteem boost, telling myself I was better, at least in that way, than others. At other times I used it to beat myself up: if I was so smart why did I act so stupid? It was something I bragged about, yet didn’t always believe was true. Now I see it as a resource, one of many I have, one that others have too. It’s no more or less important than other strengths.
In the past I wanted to be with someone who was smart, but not quite as smart me. I wanted to feel superior. Now I want to be with someone more intelligent, someone I can learn from, who will challenge me and help me become a better person…not a superior one.
PS Should that last “who” be “whom?” I never get that right.