Letter to an Intelligent Friend

I enjoy talking with you. I can be myself and don’t have to slow down, cover up, or play dumb. You are a gifted person. You probably are asking a good question: “I’m gifted, so what? How relevant is that to real life?”

For me, the knowledge of my inherent talents helps me understand the way I feel and behave. And, it is reassuring to know others think like me and have similar values. Also, others have struggled with the same problems and frustrations associated with high IQ and creativity. It used to be if someone said I was dumb, I believed them. Now, I let the insult evaporate. Or, if they said I was smart, I discounted it. Now, I accept the compliment. No one can take my gift away. It is mine. It is as much a part of me as is my life.

The following quotes and excerpts I have gathered on my journey of self discovery. There are other books, but this should whet your appetite. I’ll add a little commentary to help you read between the lines on what these words imply.

Occupation & Career

Your Natural Gifts” by Margaret E. Broadley

The great problem the too-many-aptitude person faces is that there are so many directions in which he could go, yet none would use all of his aptitudes at the same time. He is inclined to switch from one kind of work to another as boredom with a job drives him to try something else. The best solution … is for him to set his sights on solving a world problem, or build up unusual work on a broad scale that would enable him to use most of his aptitudes. For this, he needs both high vocabulary and specialized knowledge. With these, and hard work., he could become an outstanding person of his time. Without these, he can become an outstanding failure, little more than a jack-of-all-trades.”

So, world problems mean war, health, famine, medicine, etc. problems taking a lifetime of energy and diverse skills.

Unusual work means for example: NameLab. A one man company that creates product names. He checks out its legal eligibility on an international scale (making sure it doesn’t mean anything bad in Chinese, English, Spanish, etc.) The price per name is $35,000. I think you get the picture.

The Discovery of Talent” pg. 194

The more creative a person is the he reveals an openness to his own feelings and emotions, a sensitive intellect and understanding self-awareness, and wide-ranging interests including many which in the American culture are thought of as feminine (or masculine if you are female) … The balance between masculine and feminine traits, interests, and identifications, is a precarious one, for (some) … their presently achieved reconciliation of these opposites of their nature has been barely affected and only after considerable psychic stress and turmoil.”

The more balanced the hemispheres of the brain, the more turmoil in making life decisions. Like job, mate, religion, school major, etc., but probably career path more than any other.

Personality Traits

Anatomy of Genius” pg 4 and 210

“ … (There is) close association of genius with obsessive personality or with cyclothymia, that is, a predisposition to minor or major manic or depressive mood swings in the individual’s life history.”

“ … Genius is by no means structure, but process. “Secondary” integration in genius involves an existential shift, a peak experience leading to a creative resolution of the existing interhemispheric tension and its attending inner conflict (right/left brain). Indeed, it may well be that the proverbial turmoil, suffering and despair that marks the inner experience of genius are the well-nigh inescapable birth pangs of the act of creation – and of its happy consummation in the work of art.”

The Creativity Question” pg. 170

Notes on human perception:

75% of general population show a preference for sensation (the here and now).

25% prefer intuition (visualize the future) (the creatives fall in the intuitive category).

Here are 30 personality characteristics of creative scientists:

1. unusually open to experience

2. particularly observant

3. often see things in unusual ways

4. extremely curious

5. admit unconventional thoughts

6. accept and reconcile apparent opposites (paradox)

7. tolerant of ambiguities

8. disorder is okay, but prefer to resolve it

9. prefer complexity

10. manage an aesthetic ordering of experience

11. highly independent in judgment, thought, and action

12. need and assume autonomy

13. willing to take calculated risks

14. self-reliant

15. not subject to group standards and control

16. unconventional behavior

17. originality and unconventionality of thoughts

18. do not accept authority on its own terms

19. do not fit stereotype of “adjustment”, not organization men, or all-American boys

20. not preferred by peers and sanctions are frequently invoked against them

21. high ego strength

22. considerable discipline and great perseverance

23. tend to be dominant

24. preoccupied more with things and ideas than with people

25. dislike emotionally toned preoccupations outside of their own field

26. gregarious or talkative

27. sensitive to interpersonal aggression

28. distaste for interpersonal controversy

29. prefer to deal with disturbing instinctual drives by repressing/avoiding them

30. strong motivation


Disadvantages of being highly intelligent. Excerpt form “Through the Keyhole at Gifted Men and Women” by Joanne D. Denko:

1. Harder to keep and find jobs. “wont fit”, “trouble-maker”, others resent mentally superior subordinate, perceived as a smart-alec radical stereotype

2. Work harder on the job. Do the work of three men but get paid less

3. Dissatisfaction with waste and poor decisions

4. Resentment of taking orders from dummies

5. Yearning to work with people of high intellect

6. Have to be clever, charming, and manipulative to achieve goals (shortcuts)

7. Fellow workers do not see the obvious to high IQ (or high IQ sees too many possible solutions)

8. Rejection of ideas (It hasn’t been done before)

9. Incompetent or dishonest people sense you see through them. You become their target

10. Waste time explaining to subordinates (they’re slow)

11. Faking, gearing down, masking, playing dumb so others feel comfortable

12. People don’t like the high IQ’s unpredictability

13. Guilt for not achieving scholastically

14. Try to hide intelligence so as not to deviate from the norm. Fear of non-acceptance. Part of being intelligent is to know when not to show it.

15. annoyance of having to mark time while others grasp an idea (people don’t listen fast enough)

16. People hold too high of expectations of high IQ (say something smart and clever. Entertain us.)

Special problems of high IQs:

1. Loneliness

2. Boredom with other conversation and interests

3. Denial of true self to pander to unfair jealousies

So, could you relate to the list of sixteen problems (pluse three bonus problems)? The book also says people with an IQ above 125 are the only people who can answer the question, “What problems face intelligent people?”

Others (normal people) don’t think intelligent people have problems.

Genius & Creativity

A few more quotes about genius and creativity:

From: “Just This Side of Madness: Creativity and the Drive to Create”, by Carol Ann Morizot:

Axiom 1: Creative product is the result of the drive to create.

Corollary 1: All humans are creative, but all humans are not dominated by the psychological drive to express their innate creativity.

Axiom 2: The amount of creative output of the individual artist or thinker is proportional to the control it is possible to maintain over his neurotic or psychotic tendencies.

Corollary 2: If the artist or generative thinker is prevented from working in the area of his drive, then illness is inevitable.”

The Story of Philosophy: by Will Durant:

The more distinctly a man knows … the more intelligent he is … the more pain he has; the man who is gifted with genius suffers most of all.”

Good luck on your journey.

Your Friend,

Steve Teare

Unconventional Personal

P.S. – Be yourself. It’s the way I like you best.