social skills, savvy, creating thinking, …le aren’t succeeding in life and we’ve forgotten about basic principles like hard work, discipline, delayed gratification, networking, social skills, savvy, creating thinking, you know, the things that help you get ahead …
This this this this this. We've forgotten it in medicine. We've forgotten it in mental health. We've forgotten it in social change. We've forgotten it in personal transformation, life's work, etc. Lasting, qualitative change to anything takes time.
I really liked this piece and found it practical and helpful. I think there's one other thing not on it, less practical as a piece of advice but important to understanding the inverse relationship between intellect and success: smart people are often really bored by the things that make them "successful" in the traditional sense.
There just aren't a lot of jobs that use highly-intelligent minds well. If you're really good at quantitative analysis but not a lot else, there are jobs for you. If you're highly creative or emotionally intelligent, there are jobs for you. If you're all of the above, and move faster than everyone else around you, making moves on your "career" becomes hellish.
It's not just the jobs, too. In my (unscientific) analysis, a lot of the smartest people are highly, highly sensitive, allowing them to learn more, faster. The combination of sensitivity and chronic boredom leads to feeling alienated and dislocated much of the time. We know where that leads.
The five smartest people I've ever met are 1) dead from a heroin overdose. 2) dropped out of school and not working due to debilitating chronic migraines stemming from PTSD. 3) living in a self-built yurt illegally in a forest and not talking to anyone. 4) running around between pipeline blockades, possibly schizophrenic. 5) in in-patient treatment for severe OCD and anxiety.
I was in this thing as a kid called Davidson, some club for freaky smart kids or whatever. My parents pulled me out because it was one horror story after the next -- heroin, suicide, mental breakdown, meth, suicide. Again and again and again.
I think there's something in that -- the "potential" of being so bright and the burn out that comes from being so different from the world at large, the contrast between the two, that hurts people all the more.
But, yeah, that doesn't really help people be more successful. At this point, my ol' smartbrain has weighed so many variables that it's pretty sure success is a made up construct that's killing the planet. Go figure.
Thanks for writing, all the same.