10 Reasons Being Intelligent Is Difficult

Calling yourself intelligent on the Internet or in real life is asking for backlash. Many people like to pretend that they want others to be confident and self-actualized. In reality, many people have such low, shaky, and/or warped self-esteem issues that the idea that someone could call themself something positive – intelligent, beautiful, etc. is taken as a personal affront. Intelligence as a social construct, is problematic. It privileges specific spaces and modes of thought and creativities over others. It privileges education levels, social-classes, and thus, even race. I get it. (I am intelligent enough to get it. Ha!) I am definitely an advocate for the broadening of how intelligence is constructed.

While I struggle with humility as a human being, calling myself intelligent is not one an act of a lack of humility in this respect. As someone really intelligent told me once, “Humility is first and foremost, a realization of truth.” He went on to say that humility is about trying to objectively see yourself and those around you, honestly. So humility doesn’t amount to this self-deprecating way of seeing one’s self that popular culture often ascribes it as. So yes, I am calling myself intelligent and sharing a few reasons why it actually really sucks.

TL; DR:  If calling myself intelligent offends you; well, build a bridge…
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1. You will be misunderstood a lot. Whether it’s the inability to communicate your thoughts in a way that is easily received, or that your articulations are just flat-out cryptic in nature; many times people will just not understand what you’re saying. “Never mind” is a phrase that you will use way too often.

2. You’ll likely always be frustrated about something. You don’t get to go through life apathetically. There is always something wrong – something to be fixed; something to change. But chances are, you can’t change it by yourself. So you think about these things a lot. Sometimes you’ll tell others about these things too. But it only leads to (1) so you start keeping many things to yourself.

3. Happiness will be a lot harder. Likely because of (2). It will be an everyday struggle to not want to just give up on humanity and live in a cave by yourself. You don’t seem to fit in the world so easily, and you certainly can’t fake it as much as everyone else.

4. You’ll have anti-social quirks or tendencies. Whether it’s talking to yourself in public or having a leg shake when you’re deeply focused on something; certain habits or traits will likely cause people to think you’re weird. And not in a good/fun/endearing way.

5. Everyone will remember all the times that you get something wrong, and they will never let you forget it! People might even be looking for loopholes and failures in your conversations. When they find them, you shall be berated gleefully. And lo, and behold when they don’t find them, you will be labeled a “know-it-all.”

6. You’ll be hard on yourself when you don’t “get things.” After all, you’re intelligent; understanding things and being imaginative or creative or critical is not “supposed” to be difficult. But no matter how smart you are, there will be things that you don’t get. And they will keep you up and night and cause you to believe that you’re losing your brainpower.

7. Few will get your sense of humor. Or you’ll be so funny that people will inevitably miss the hidden sentiments in your humor. Both will make you weep for humanity.

8. You’ll always feel like you’re supposed to do great things and feel worthless when you don’t. Intelligent people can be successful people but not always; maybe not even often. Sometimes they just don’t have the motivation. Many times, the pressure is just too much to bear and you’d just rather lie in bed all day and think about things – imaginative, cryptic things.

9. Because intelligent people aren’t always successful people, (and even when they are) you might be subordinate to people whose intellect is well, in need of development. And whether it’s in formal institutions or everyday interactions, you will be both humble, as well as saddened that this is your reality till the day that you die.

10. It’s a lose-lose situation in terms of your identity. You can’t call yourself intelligent without being seen as an arrogant prick. But you also can’t also call yourself otherwise, without everyone seeing you as pretentious. And half the time, you’re not even defining yourself by your intelligence, other people are. But the minute you take the time to address it, you’re pompous. You’re silent? You’re summoned to speak. You talk? You’re being smug. Nope, you can’t win. Ever. Which is sad because being smart is supposed to be fun; but really, it just ends up feeling like a lot of boring and painful work. TC mark

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