Producer’s note: Someone on Quora asked: What are the disadvantages of being smart? Here are some of the best answers that’s been pulled from the thread.
1. Marcus Ford
More likely to suffer from depression.
Difficult to relate to peers. This is especially painful during the younger years.
School is not challenging, which makes it a boring prison.
Teachers may love or hate you for your smartness. Both can be uncomfortable.
Some people will be intimidated by you. Hard to make friends.
Jealousy. People love to see you fail.
You feel like nobody understands you.
Pressure. Smartness alone doesn’t lead to success as an adult, but everyone will have high expectations for you.
In school people cheat off you. In my friend’s chemistry class they devised a system to allow every person to cheat off of her.
Self esteem issues. You are only praised for your smartness.
Less ignorant, less blissful. You see more faults in the world.
The habit of over-thinking, over-analyzing and over-estimating often comes in the way of happiness.
3. Bill White
In graduate school, my advisor was a very smart guy. The rumor was that he got his undergraduate degree from MIT at 14 or so, and his Ph.D. before he was 21. He was the nicest guy you would ever want to meet, and he really tried to do excellent teaching excellently. But he didn’t know how what it was like to not understand something. When I couldn’t figure out something complicated instantly, he was unable to proceed. It wasn’t that he was impatient or frustrated, he was just non-plussed.
I think that’s the most important problem. Not understanding other people. But one doesn’t have to be smart to get a feeling for this. Everybody is smarter than somebody else in some way. I know more about C++ than many people, less about Erlang and even less about musical counterpoint. When I talk to people about C++, I’m the smart one. When I talk about music I’m the ignoramus. The same is probably true for you. So, figure out where you are the smart one, and see what disadvantages there are talking to other people.