Note: This post is for everyone, but it is especially significant for people who are smart and feel alienated; hence the choice of words.
This post is for those people who have to dumb themselves in order to have, at the very least, a “not a drag” conversation with others. This post is for the people who feel like they are born in the wrong era. This post is for the people who are always told that they are dramatically over analytical or are over thinking it; to the point where they themselves start to question themselves. This post is for someone who, as soon as they start talking and before getting to the juicy part, notice that the listener is dozing off. This post is for those who cannot say something remotely intelligent without someone trying to add their own (for a lack of better word) stupid hypothesis in order to prove their point and thereby missing the point of the entire conversation. This is for those who constantly feel at a loss to say anything even though their head is a nonstop train of thoughts and ideas to explore and share. Am I sane? Is there a point to all this thinking? I am totally dumbfounded by the sheer ignorance of the people around me and yet I am jealous of that fact. Why can I not be an ignorant idiot, stay stupid and one day roll over and just die, and that would be that. Why do I feel so alien surrounded by my kind? I really just want to give up on everything, run away from everything, but I have no idea where to run away to. I am stuck and I have no way out. Actually, I feel stupid all the time because I am aware that I don’t know enough, and will never have the capacity to know enough because I have the limitations of being a human. But that doesn’t mean I am going to stop exploring and learning. I have no idea what is the point of this all, but it gives my existence some juice.
You know if this is you. You are lost and confused and have no fire for life; maybe a last whimper of a fire but not the same fire that you can remember; if you can remember that fire at all. This is for you.
Don’t be afraid. Accept that you are different. You are not insane, you are just better. Not in the ego-maniacal way better but that you have thought a lot about a lot of things that most people around you haven’t a clue about. You can clearly see that they aren’t even aware of such a thought process. You are just a curious being, more so than most others around you.
Now the real reason why I urge you to not stoop to their level.
I have been dumbing down for quite some time and just last weekend I realized that I failed to connect with a smart and intellectual person on a much much deeper level. I have been dumbing down for so long that dumbing down has become my default way of speaking. Most of the times I just don’t speak, and if I do speak I am constantly looking for signs when the listener is dozing off. I am also looking for signs that the other person is about to interject their own hypothesis, a hypothesis that is as silly as their face. Yep, I said it, you can see stupid on their face. And I think stupid has also crept on my face because I have stooped my levels. It has affected my being.
So, when I met someone who is smart and intellectual, I was surprised that she wasn’t dozing off or interrupting me and I felt dumbfounded at this curiosity. I became unprepared for an intelligent and stimulating debate. I behaved stupider than what I am. This isn’t the first time this has happened. As my friend Dennis mentioned, we are catering to “them” rather than cater to ourselves. It was about them. We know that if you want to hold someone else’s attention the longest, the best approach is to make the conversation about them. So, I became unprepared to make it about “us sharing and exploring our curiosity”.
The real negative impact is that I stopped listening to people completely as they present themselves. Instead, I was waiting for their stupid to come out. I stopped connecting with people. I see them as a stupid meatbag rather than someone who I can learn from and connect with regardless of their intellectual and intelligence level. And hence I felt like an alien among my own kind. “They” weren’t the problem, I was my own problem.
There is a smart saying floating around that if you are the smartest person in the room you are in the wrong room. I realized that that saying is so extremely small and a cheap shot at people who are less deserving of our ire and more deserving of connecting. I alienated myself from others.
So, I insist that if you are the smartest person in the room, BE THE SMARTEST FUCKING PERSON IN THE ROOM, AND BE THE MOST CURIOUS PERSON IN THE ROOM SO YOU CAN REALLY SPEAK YOUR MIND, LISTEN AND CONNECT.
You belong everywhere and everywhen. You are needed as much you need others. Don’t compare the ability of a fish to climb a tree with the ability of a monkey to climb that same tree. You say you have a lot to learn; well, find a way to learn from other people because their experiences are different than yours. I have friends who look up to me to provide mentorship and guidance, and in return, I get to learn from their experiences. They start to grow their intelligence because I compel them to think and act smarter. On the flip side, people who don’t understand you won’t come near you.
If speaking like a smartypants feels like bragging to you, accept that feeling; and explore it. I have met some of the most intellectual and intelligent people when I wasn’t trying to hide my true self from them. I spoke my mind. They are my friends now. And I am so very grateful for the continuous impact all of my friends have on my life.