First published February 2015, and I still believe every word.
Does this resonate with you? Did you grow up as I did, hearing and believing that a smart person — however that was determined — would always succeed just because of those smarts? Did you also realize that it didn’t always work that way, that many folks who were not “book” smart still got along very well in the world? Maybe even better than a few of those “smart” ones?
Did you also realize that someone with a high IQ did not have an ironclad guarantee of success? Did you finally see that one type of skill did not automatically lead to another type of skill? To this day, I can still hear my mom saying something like, “If she’s so smart, how come she can’t . . . ?” To my mom, and to countless others like her, if you were smart, you were supposed to be smart in everything.
But there are just so many ways to be smart — and dumb!
I was reminded of this during a conversation today with tech support of my computer hosting service. It appears I had a virus (or a Trojan — whatever that is) in my Outlook account, and lots of weird stuff was happening (e.g., 100+ bounce-backs of a message I never sent out). I got a great customer service support person, who deals with people like me every day (how do they stand it?). I admitted right up front that I was way out of my comfort zone and way above my pay grade. She very carefully walked me through the steps that she thought would clear things up. (So far, all seems to be OK, so apparently she knew her stuff.) And she never made me feel dumb, which was a real blessing.
I know I’m smart in some ways, but the tech world is always just out of reach for me. I hang on by my fingernails some days, trying not to make a huge mess of anything. (Yes, I am one of those for whom the joke of “just hit any key” was created.)
The lesson here is that we all have strengths and challenges. There are places where we shine, and places where we peer out from the darkness, hoping for a gentle and loving rescuer — someone who won’t make us feel dumb because we can’t figure something out by our “smart” selves.
I am grateful to those who are able to “climb those trees” and help out the rest of us who can’t. Thank you for allowing us to ask the questions. Thank you for giving us answers and allowing us to still feel smart.
Is this true for you, too? Do you sometimes feel like a fish out of water, trying to make sense of a world that’s alien to you?
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: I am a corporate trainer and editor who works with authors of blog posts, business-related books, web content, résumés, even annual reports.
My only goal in these endeavors to help authors look and sound as smart as they are.