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"And many of these smart people have a foundation of knowledge from specialization and a kind of single-minded focus that makes it impossible to imagine ever catching up."

I'm not so sure these people are the smart ones. Breadth of knowledge and skill is equally important to depth (and is better if you want to stay sane).

Interesting when you say you are "not that smart" that you compare yourself to people at Yale. I'd say you are probably in the 99% percentile in terms of intelligence, so in comparison to the general population, you are very smart.


I've always told myself and my kids that you only have to be "smart enough" and then have the desire and willingness to work at what you what to achieve. There are always smarter people in a brute force intellectual sense. (At least I see a lot smarter than me.) Lot's of them accomplish not too much and aren't that happy. Why? because they are smart enough to know that they haven't accomplished much.

From everything I've seen here your more smart enough to be a successful writer, coach, sailor, a great friend and a whole lot more.

Isaac Laquedem

If you rate yourself as "not that smart" then implicitly you're saying that someone else is "that smart." Everyone who is not the smartest person in the room (or class, or school, or company, or Senate) can point to someone smarter and say "I'm not that smart."

In the comment above, wab makes a good point. After we leave the world of SATs, GREs, MCATs, and LSATs, our question to ourselves should be whether we're smart enough to be able to do what we want to do, not whether we're as smart as so-and-so down the hall.


This is an interesting post on an interesting question. Personally, I see a lot of women fall into what I call the "smart girl trap," meaning that they think that Academic Success Barbie defines who they are. I've been in that trap, and I am currently trying to eat off that particular leg so I can get on with life. I've known many, many people with bigger mental guns than I've got. I know some who are more driven. What makes a problem for me as a person is that I love -- deeply love -- to learn. Being smart is static; learning is smart in motion, the joy of putting the brain through its paces. Learning for a living is at once incredibly easy and extremely hard. Working on that puzzle right now, but mostly working at something dreadful and spending my off time learning where I can.

I agree 100% with wab: smart enough to know you haven't accomplished up to your potential is a death sentence. The only antidote is to make yourself happy and believe that happy is its own reward. Smart enough to work out what WILL make you happy, and brave enough to do it even when people would rather that you put ASB on parade -- now THAT is GENIUS. You get my vote.

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