its all in the mind

I’m scheduled to interview a MENSA member who apparently has one of the top IQs in the world – it’s been at the back of my mind this week that the task may be a touch intimidating. But while doing some background work on him, I found a blog that indicated the majority of people with super intelligence (the top echelons of IQ) don’t really amount to much. Many of them drop out of high school and don’t go on to solve any of life’s pressing issues. He describes most of them as misfits.

I thought back to my own school days when the entire class sat down to complete the mind- [numbing/blowing/ building] IQ test. At 16, it was almost a badge of honour to score low. Not low enough that you’d be trundled off to some special needs school, but low enough so you could joke about what a load of crock these tests are in the first place. I never answered the maths questions (the ones that said a train was going this fast, to this place and wind was blowing and a man was on the platform, etc, etc). I always answered randomly. With the spatial questions, I generally only tried with one and then alternated between answering a or b without even looking at the question. Interestingly, I was never deemed below average – luck of the random number draw perhaps.

But a friend of mine at school was deemed to be MENSA material – she was whisked off to meetings and given all sorts of extra activities to do after school that involved lots of calculations and deep thinking. While she spent her afternoons puzzling over conundrums, I hitched to town to go shopping or hang out with my boyfriend who was studying law (and ever so slightly older than me). On a side, note, she doesn’t do anything super intellectual now – she does a bit of charity work and generally looks after her family (which is admirable in anyone, intelligent or not).

In recent years, EQ has come into the limelight. Your ability to relate to people and understand how you fit into the world in relation to everyone else is a major form of intelligence. It may not help you to work out Fermat’s theory (x3 + y3 = z3) [urgh!] but it will certainly get you further than a super intelligent person who can’t quite work out how to converse on a level that the majority of the world will understand.

But what if you were told as a child that you are a prodigy? What if, every single day, you’re told you are above average intelligence and you’re the next big thing? Will that belief carry you into the classroom on a wave of intellectual intent, or will it squash you with its air of expectation? Depends on your EQ, I guess.

I’ve no idea what my IQ is and my rebellious attitude to the test has stayed with me throughout my life. I still don’t want to know. You see, intelligence is all in the mind. I know what I know and I know what I don’t know. Not knowing the final score motivates me to try that much harder, to stretch and expand my mind to a potential that, as far as I know, has no bounds.

But how about helping someone in your life to increase their emotional, physical or intellectual quotient? How about telling someone on a daily basis how special, clever, gorgeous, or treasured they are?

How about doing that for a while – maybe you’ll learn something. Maybe while helping someone increase their self belief, yours will grow too? Go on you brainy, stunning thing, climb inside your mind and see what there is to see.

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