I am across-the-board average by all accounts, so I used to seriously envy the smart kids. Why smartness? Because I became convinced early on that having great body parts doesn’t translate into long-lasting success in the real world. Adding to the delusion, I was TV-schooled during the Dawson’s Creek, Popular and Felicity era. The general take-away was that looks were only worth celebrating when it played supplement to a brooding yet brilliant mind.
So you can imagine my seizure when I discovered in the real world, intelligence held only a fleeting chance at success when challenged by obstacles such as luck, to-die-for connections, good looks (gasp!), passion, and most importantly, a great personality. Needless to say, this was hugely disappointing, since half of my brilliant high school graduating year had gone on to study computer engineering, and most of them possessed little, if any of the above. It was also hugely disappointing for me, since it robbed me one of the only things that I could consistently blame Mother Nature for: shortage of brain power.
The thing was, stepping into university, and subsequently the real world, put Relativity Theory to test, for real. Once the bubble wraps burst, what was deemed brilliant when I was eighteen was not much when placed against the myriad of talents out there. People had all kinds of stuff going on for them, and very few of those could be quantified by an entrance average or a percentile ranking. It began to make sense after a while, since we do not robotically assign people scores we meet based on their understanding of quantum mechanics or their ability to recite and analyze Paradise Lost in iambic pentameter. What seemed to get brownie points were one’s ability to tell or take (preferably) a self-deprecating joke, to have some kind of special talent that was driven by passion versus competitiveness (bragging about piano grades and Taekwondo belt level were not cool), and if they have ever tasted the humbleness pie.
Now in the latter leg of my 20s, I am not envious of anyone anymore, least of all the smarty pants from high school. From what I’ve seen, God (or whoever it is up there), is pretty fair. What we are not endowed in one area, is most likely made up by something else. To be wildly talented in one part of your life may very well cripple the many other areas that scream for attention. Maybe somebody’s going to create the next Google or design the next Mac, but so what, if he cannot carry on a conversation with the opposite gender or someone outside of his zip code? By the way, if you are one of those guys, it’s ok – Bill Gates got through it, so will you. If you’ve got the personality of Leno but little skills to back it up, there are plenty of jobs out there that will pay you to schmooze and get other people to like you. If you are all-around average like me, it’s ok too. It just means that you won’t require date coaching, or regular AA attendance to dial your life back to sanity.
In short, each one of us is unique, and everything is the way it is for a good reason. So save the envy, there’s no need.
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picture source: =BaltazarArt