People Who Were Told They Were 'Gifted' As Kids Reveal The Moment They Knew They Were Just Average
Not everybody has to be a member of Mensa to succeed.
Everybody wants to be thought of as special. Every parent believes their child is special and gifted beyond measure and the rest of the world needs to bask in the glory of their offspring. That can be a lot of pressure for children to battle. Their is no ONE definition that makes anyone special. What is special? Or gifted? Having the I.Q. of Einstein doesn't make you accomplished or define your humanity. So when we discover our brain power is just as good as anybody's we learn that other things can be far more important to survival.
Redditor u/JayTheFearless wanted to hear the truth from those who have discovered they aren't quite as brilliant as they were lead to believe by wondering.... People who were told they were "gifted" growing up, how did you deal with realizing that you were pretty average?
Bless the Mediocrity!Giphy
To be honest, it was a massive relief. I'd gone through school as The Clever One and when I went to Uni, finding out that I was solidly mediocre was a blessing. All of a sudden, I could be myself - I didn't need to worry about doing the best in exams or getting a first. I enjoyed my time, got a very average 2:1 and now have a fun job where there's no pressure to be 'gifted.' With_Difficulty
It doesn't matter how smart you are; you always hit the level where you meet people who are equally smart. Or good looking, or athletic, or savvy. And when you measure up the competition and see that they're as good as you or better, you'll come to realize: being smart just gets you a seat at the table.
Raw talent, no matter how little or how much, can only accomplish so much. At some point, you will be forced to ask the question 'what can I do, and what do I want to do with that?' The answers can lead you to a fulfilling life, at pushing your capabilities and achieving things you've fought for - but you have to find the answers first. ReplicatedPenguin
The Truth will out!
Haha I didn't deal with it very well at all. I went to a private school, I was in the gifted class all through high school. Always told I was smart and creative.
I was shocked when just showing up and winging it wasn't good enough anymore. I had a breakdown at University, dropped out and was depressed doing as little as possible with my life for years.
Instead of realizing that everyone needs to make mistakes and work hard on things to grow I was like "Oh I guess I was wrong and I'm actually stupid, guess I'll figure out how to live life as a dumb idiot."
I think telling someone their value is their intelligence is a really unhealthy mindset to encourage, especially in a kid. It's not how I choose friends, it's not what makes someone good to work with, it's not gonna mean someone is well adjusted or happy. Bitter-root
I Got This!
I didn't try at all in high school and I was 3rd in my grade. The few times I studied I would always get the top mark.
I didn't study for most of my finals and got into engineering at the best uni in my country.
I was told that it's difficult but my dumb @ss was like, "I got this." Didn't go to class, didn't do homework, didn't study for tests. Barely passed the first tests, still didn't study. Completely failed the 2nd test (I got 9% for my one test).
I was like, "well I guess I'm stupid." Didn't study for exams, because I'm too dumb, failed 2 courses. Got really suicidal.
Continued with my same stuff. Was sure I'd get kicked out. Idk how I've made it this far.
I have zero work ethic, I just failed a maths test because I started "studying" the day of the test. Accepting you're stupid is so much easier than actually trying. AwkwardSpacePotato
Deal with it Snowflake!Giphy
It was kind of an "I told you so" moment too.
"Wow you learned how to divide! So talented"
"Well that was the assignment so.."
"You read Shakespeare! Gifted child!"
"Again I'm just doing what you tell me and doing it in the timeframe you ask.."
"You're reading for fun! You're not like other kids your age!"
"I'm just re-reading Hatchet for the seventh time. Most of my friends read too."
Then I'm in college and it's like "Ha! You're average! Bet nobody ever told you that huh?? Well tough crap snowflake! You have to deal with it!" TimerForOldest
Keep the motivation!
Posting thing because honestly, coming to terms that I wasn't some super intelligent genius sucked. I always thought I'd be able to do complex computer stuff or maybe build a spaceship, but I'm nowhere near that level. I've found my own strengths now, and I'm actually much happier now that my ego isn't super inflated by adults commenting on how "mature" and "gifted" I was. That kind of praise killed my motivation to study, because I thought I would just know things automatically. I'm in Uni now, but it's because I worked really hard for it, and learning those study habits I didn't develop as a kid really kicked my butt for a while. JayTheFearless
It keeps going down hill ever since elementary school. I haven't been able to deal with it. It's my depression and lack of motivation that's been stopping me from being my best. It's a hard spiral to get out of. XMED
Forget smart... don't be lazy!
This is what I struggle with. I was never identified as gifted, but I was always smart enough that being ahead of the group didn't require any studying. As a result, I didn't develop a work ethic at a young age and, if I'm not careful, I have a tendency to slip into laziness.
What I told my niece years ago rings true. Dumb people who don't work hard will be failures. Smart people who don't work hard will do OK. Dumb people who work hard will do OK, too, and maybe even get farther than the lazy smart people. But the people who really go places are smart people who know how to work hard. Brains and a work ethic are an important combination.
But, even though I know that, it's pretty darn hard not to fall back into old habits... Sean_Ornery
Honestly telling a kid that they're gifted/mature is one the worst things you can do, I didn't like hanging out with people my age when I was young because they were into "kid stuff" but now all I feel like is that I wasted my childhood and didn't develop proper social skills, I'm at university now and I still get compliments from my peers for being "well read" but I'm envious of every single one of the other people, I'd much rather struggle academically and have a group of people to have lunch with and go out, the only reason I still am reading so much is because it is the only thing that makes spending so much time alone not utterly humiliating. C_T_Robinson
Nothing special IS special....Giphy
Since childhood my parents encouraged me to exercise, so I tried a lot of sports and in most of the places I went to, I'd hear that I was talented or that I was an "easy-learner." Turns out, I'm nothing special, the thing that I noticed was that when I started something, I would dive heads deep in it. I would go to practice, come back home and watch videos about whatever I was doing. My world and total attention would become that one thing. furiouspride
Do you 'Get It?'
Absolutely, I've always been told that I was a genius for understanding things so fast and being cultivated (relatively and that has nothing to do with being smart either but eh) despite not working/listening.
But when I started studying at higher levels and I realized I wasn't able to get good grades anymore because people around me were way better and expectations were much higher. I tried to start studying but despite trying a good number of working environments and getting better habits I could never manage to 'get it' and focus.
It felt really bad because I thought that I only had my intellect and I was put with several at least as 'smart' as me and way better working.
After failing I went studying in another school where the level is much lower and people are calling me a genius again which kinda feels bad now that I've experienced that being smart is relative and that understand fast doesn't make you competent. Sensonin
Everyone was First place!
I gradated from high school as valedictorian and got into a great college. I got to college and turns out, my new peers were valedictorians too! All of the sudden I was average, and the material only got more difficult. I was always a hard worker, but this hammered home that being smart does not negate the need to push yourself. sullyonthemove
Just being YOU is a success....Giphy
Although it sucks being that guy, it depends on your personality; I took it well because it helped me realize that I don't need 3 PhD's to prove my potential. golden-sauce
It's just a label...
Looking back, I'm not sure how I made it into the group. I always knew I was the least gifted out of the group of us who were in the "gifted and talented" program. When we got into high school, I had the lowest grades in the group. Yea, low 90s were my thing, but that's not anything special, especially in a school renowned for its academic program. I never made it into the top 10 for grades. However, I'd always score in the 97th to 99th percentile for the standardized testing.
Unlike others in the group, I didn't possess any natural talents or any drive for extra knowledge. I liked extracurricular activities and being a leader, but that's also because I was a big fish in a small pond. I suppose I demonstrated analytical and leadership skills.
I've done well in life in terms of get degrees and professional job(s). I don't earn as much money as I could since I don't like enjoy the stress that comes with the money.
My life is consistently above average. I do pretty well at things I try but never amazing. I cannot say I've ever excelled at anything. While I'm happy where I am, I do wonder if it's because I don't apply myself enough or if it's because I just never found my "thing." flabbergastedpanda
Reality hit me like a ton of bricks when I finished college. All through school, I was top of the class, valedictorian, summa cum laude, etc. Turns out I wasn't really 'gifted' at all, I was just really good at jumping through all the hoops of the education system. Give me an assignment, and exam, I will ace it. When it came to forging my own path out in the real world, where there is no syllabus and no one cares about your GPA I got overwhelmed with how clueless I actually was about everything. Struggled with that "imposter syndrome" for many years and stayed pretty stagnant (although a still a classic "good employee") while I watched my peers move way ahead of me in their careers. I eventually figured out my workplace was pretty toxic and things have improved with a new job, and setting career goals for myself. But yeah, I'm average. snarkbitten
Have you ever heard the phrase, "If you're the smartest person in the room, you're in the wrong room?" I think for me, when I was in K-12, it's hard to find the right room. But when you get to college or choose a career, there are suddenly a lot more options for rooms to choose from. One of my goals in life is to always be moving forward, constantly improving in some way; frequently, this means increasing my knowledge or technical skill level, especially since I'm in my mid-20's. So although it's been difficult to find "the right room," it's much more gratifying, since that means that I'm surrounded by people I can learn from and with.
I guess what it comes down to in the end is your attitude. Sure, it sucks not being handed things because you're viewed as some sort of elite. But I enjoy feeling like I earned something through effort and determination, so it's worth those occasional moments of doubt. Lucky_Asian
I eventually grew out of that too and realized I'm not just average. I got through high school and college without ever learning to study or focus, so once I started my first real job and had to deal with failing for the first time, it made me feel like I was stupid and everyone had been lying to me my whole life to make me feel better. Eventually though, I realized that wasn't true either. If you're identified as gifted as a kid, you probably are, but rather than having to overcome difficulty learning things, you have to overcome difficulty with actually doing things instead of skating by despite being a lazy fuck.
He said, while on reddit at work... ElToberino
The Dumb Guy....
I knew from the start. I've always been a gifted speaker and fairly logical so people thought I was intelligent. It's actually really annoying because I have never gotten the help I needed in life. People always assume I have motivational issues or distractions because I'm a "smart guy." My intelligence and ability has NEVER been questioned.
I didn't deal with this well at all. I gave up in school because I got too far behind without getting help. So I straight up quit after 9th grade and started working. I wasn't going to waste my time anymore. But I sometimes wonder if I had gotten the help I needed then perhaps I would have been able to make a better life for myself. Jauxerous
The Dream will come....
I had a teacher-parent growing up. I was frequently told that I had an above average IQ and I should go study and stuff. I was a lazy person and didn't study a lot. I dropped out of no less than three higher education courses/schools that would have been my ticket to studying at an university.
Why didn't I study? Because I was sure I wouldn't need any degrees in my dream job. Guess what? I was right. wildfoxtattoo
It's odd honestly.
I was told I was gifted because I pick things up really quickly, and I still do. But I've always lacked the motivation to stick with one thing long enough to be excellent at it.
I typically change jobs every 18 months, and I'll stick with a hobby for 6 months or so before getting bored. I'm average-above average at a whole lot of different things, but I'm not truly exceptional at anything. TheRealGunn
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"It wasn't me!"
There's not much you can do when the righteous fist of the law comes down on you. Call it a mix-up, or call it a mistake, if someone's pegged you at the scene of a crime there's not much you can do but trust the justice system to prove you innocent. However, that's a gamble, and just because you've been given a "not guilty" doesn't mean the effects won't follow you for the rest of your life.
Reddit user, u/danbrownskin, wanted to hear about the times when it wasn't you, seriously, it was someone else, when they asked: