While brilliant people surround us every day, many avoid boasting about their mental abilities out loud. Well, there are plenty of subtle signs that prove someone is really sharp. Those discreet details like asking thoughtful questions, being eager to learn new things, and believing the world is far too complex to have all the answers.
Intelligence is a coveted thing, but it turns out sometimes it remains hidden even to those who showcase it. Reddit user thejamessmarianooo decided to learn more about such brainiacs, so they asked: “Have you ever met a really intelligent person who didn’t really know how smart they were? What was your experience with them?” And the responses started rolling in.
Nearly 7K people shared the incredible things they noticed in others who seemed to have no idea how rare these qualities were. And we handpicked some of the most inspiring examples to share with you. So read them right below, upvote the ones you enjoyed most, and tell us your own experiences in the comments.
#1My grandad left school at 12 he’s dyslexic but back in his day... that wasn’t a recognised thing. He has a particular way with animals, like he always knows what’s wrong. can fix anything, he’s a prolific reader and people just gravitate to him. He’s the most helpful person you’ve ever met and will literally go out of his way to help anyone.
Image credits: KiwiChefnz
#2Someone mentioned already, but people who can easily teach others complex systems or ideas.
My husband is this person. Microbiologist, workflow management, and plays D&D on his down time. He can analyze a difficult concept, distill the relevant information, make it easily accessible to someone and teach it in a patient, unassuming manner quickly without making the other party feel stupid or uninformed.
He’s modest as hell. He has no idea how hard it is to educate people. Never trying to one-up or show off his knowledge. He’s charismatic and emotionally intelligent.
Honestly has no idea how rare his level of kindness and intelligence are in others. He’s the best person I’ve ever met.
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#3Former coworker of mine. He came to Germany as a refugee in his young teenage years, had trouble in school due to language barrier, poor support, tough family situation, typical refugee problems. Then he was unemployed and Jobcenter (part of German welfare dealing with unemployment) sent him to the security company I worked at that time because conitions of employment are almost nonexistent in this field.
When he was on my team for an event I (as team leader) had to show him the ropes. The event lasted ten consecutive nights and we faced several different challenges that were part of the job. Every now and then he had a genius idea how to solve the particular problem.
The following year I got him on my team whenever I could, trained him and when I left the company he inherited my position as team leader.
I don't actually know whether he knew about how smart he is, but he was so insecure in the beginning I boldly assume he didn't.
Image credits: WickieTheHippie
#4My grandma. I just need to brag about her.
My grandmother was freakishly intelligent, but was limited by the gender roles of the 50s.
She graduated top in her class in biophysics. From there she got her PHD in nuclear medicine and got another degree in computer sciences during her fellowship at Northwestern. It wasn't cut short, but she became the SAHM with the influence of my grandfather. My grandfather was an electrician and althouth she loved him I almost wondered if he was intimidated by her. Idk. I always wondered why she did all that work to stay at home. She was sharp af till the day she died .
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#5I Had a kid in my class that never took anything seriously, skipped class, brought alcohol to class and did numerous other things. You name it he probably did it. But man, that mf knew his shit whenever he paid attention. He understood things when other people were struggling to learn whatever was being taught that day (math, science, English, reading etc). It makes me a little sad because he was always a trouble maker, but deep down I knew that he is/was very smart and was capable of doing good in school. He just never chose to do it, or generally just didn’t care idk at this point. I think he got involved with the wrong crowd early on unfortunately.
Image credits: Maleficent_Ear_9024
#6I'm volunteer staff at a math summercamp targeted at children who like doing math.
Most of the kids that we get are the standard "doing well in school with good grades to prove it" type. But it frequently happens that some kid is signed up and the parents tell us that their child doesn't really do well in school in general, or math in particular, but they just like doing math-related puzzles. That's cool, because that's all we ask for.
And often enough these kids come with very interesting insights and solutions because they happen to approach the problems from a different angle than the majority. They may be quite intelligent, but not in a way that expresses itself well within the standard framework of education.
The same thing happens on the EQ/social level. A few years back we got a sign up where the parents warned us that their son had great difficulties making friends or socializing in general. On the first day of camp, the kid took a chess board and went to sit down to play against himself. Perfectly fine. But not much later another boy walks up to him and asks if he can join the game. They start playing and talking and they end up being practically inseparable the rest of the week. The kid that had "difficulties making friends" just made a new best friend faster than anyone else there. Just need to give people the right environment.
Image credits: Rannasha
#7I work in manufacturing so we get a lot of uneducated people. There are a lot of people out there who are smart but for various reasons weren't properly served by the public schools. They might be barely literate, or can hardly string two words together coherently, but they solve problems beautifully, or always have workable ideas, or they talk about ideas rather than people or events. It's hard to quantify, but you know it when you see it.
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#8My Partner is Polish. She lives - and works - using her second language. At school she was taught Russian and can get by in it.
She is so smart - and people abuse her, because she speaks English - with an accent.
those people you see everyday - especially older people - living their lives in a second language.... yep, they are smart
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#9My brother. Everyone used to tell him that he was just average just because he got average grades. But this kid is so fucking smart. He’s a huge history buff and one time spent about half an hour explaining to me the importance of some Civil War battle and how it was pivotal in helping the Union win the war. I don’t remember the exact details because all I could think about was the level of depth he got into just explaining and analyzing, and also explaining in a way that helped me to understand (at the time).
My brother’s intelligence is the definition of quality and I’d shout that from the rooftops because as his older sister, I’m so fucking proud of him.
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#10In Quatar I watched as a very poor looking construction worker from the Philippines solved a Rubix cube while on his break. He didnt seem to understand the magnitude of the accomplishment.
Image credits: KatyaMedvedeva
#11My mother. She was raised in a poor abusive family and left school very early to escape. Even now she’ll say how she is uneducated - which is true, but she ain’t stupid. She raised a bunch of us without much money and was always resourceful and canny at making ends meet. She can do fairly complicated math in her head, does extensive research before making large purchases, forwards me screenshots of quite sophisticated scam emails and tells me why they’re fake.
She’s 78 now and has always embraced new tech. Has no trouble using her smart phone or her PC - she even troubleshoots for her neighbours. She still lives in the same poverty stricken area we grew up in and is often helping her neighbours advocate for themselves, writing letters, telling them who to contact and what to say.
She’s also a keen observer of humans - she sees them as they are and takes them as they are with no judgement. She was always progressive for her time and passed down zero racism or other prejudices to us kids.
I wonder what she could have done if she had the opportunities she made damn sure we had.
Image credits: Chesterlie
#12My son. He’s dyslexic and bi polar. This boy some how fooled me into believing he could read. He later told me that he was going by the picture and the first letters of the words in the sentences. It blew my mind. Then there’s his drawings he does. He creates whole worlds in these pictures and just with one picture has told me an hour story. He loves to draw so much that when my ex and I remodeled the house we told the contractor we would like him put a whiteboard around the bottom half of my sons bedroom walls. He loved it. We don’t live there anymore but he still draws. He’s started to try to talk his way out of doing chores... it has been effective a few times.
Image credits: Due-Paleontologist69
#13All these comments are perfect supporting evidence to the notion that there's no such thing as intelligence as one single quality, and I love it.
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#14Have a friend who can rebuild a transmission in a 5 gallon bucket without ever having worked on that type of transmission before. Is a genius in fluid dynamics and theory but never went past 8th grade.
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#15My dad grew up believing he was dumb and would never amount to anything. His teachers all hated him and the first time he went to university he was kicked out. Around the same time as I started university, my mum finally convinced him to try again to get a higher education himself. He's often said that he's too stupid to go back to school, but he speaks about six languages fluently, has so many new interesting history facts that whenever we watch any movie we always have to pause at least four times for a lengthy discussion about it, and he remembers more book quotes than anyone I've ever met. He grew up in communist Hungary and East Germany, and he has since then climbed mountains and been scuba diving in the Atlantic among a bunch of other adventures. Whatever the discussion, he's got a story to tell. He's the coolest dad ever, but for as long as I can remember my family has struggled financially since he couldn't get a job that paid enough. It makes me so happy that he's finally reaching his full potential now at 51 years old, and we're all super proud of him. He dreams of being a teacher one day. He will the best teacher his future students could ever wish for.
#16My dad. He's dyslexic and growing up in the education system in the 70s didn't provide any support so he's all but illiterate. He left school at 15 with no qualifications. He always says he's stupid and it upsets me so much - he won't believe it when we tell him he's not. Me, my mum and my sister all have education beyond degree level and he's smarter than any of us. He's eloquent, but sometimes mispronounces new words that he's heard in a different accent - our accent is heavy on the R sound so I've noticed him adding it to words that don't have R's, but of course he's never seen it written down to know. He watches historical documentaries and tells us about how that links with the one he watched a couple of years prior. He once drove me to university 3 hours away using the route he'd driven in reverse once without checking a map. I wish he could see himself as intelligent
ETA since it seems like a lot of people have a connection with this comment and will enjoy this story - he did actually do a speech for my wedding. I was worried about asking him because I wasn't sure how he'd manage and didn't want to put pressure on him, but he was keen to do it. My mum made cue cards with picture hints and they did NOT help him. He just had it written out and learnt it off by heart and used cue cards with the full speech to help him (he can read it when he knows what it says) and his speech was by far the most confident and well-performed speech out of all of us. Give him a birthday card with more words than "happy birthday" and his not happy, but he can smash out a full on speech with no hesitation
#17My current girlfriend is actually extremely smart. Her intuition is very good with people, her problem solving skills are impressive in situations where she is comfortable, and she has a very deep understanding of the human psych. But, her mother has been gas lighting her since childhood trying to keep her fully reliant on her. I have held my tongue at points just to try and not be that boyfriend that ruins a relationship, but instead just show her how smart she really is, and where she might have a weak point that I may be able to help, I walk her through my thought process, and she picks it up very quickly.
I always wonder how far she could be at this point in her life had her mother just supported her instead of tear her down, but just in the short time I have been dating her, I have seen her grow a lot, and am very excited to see where she can soar off to, I just hope that she takes me with her.
#18People who are great teachers without actually being a teacher. I've always thought people who can teach others are incredibly smart because they're aware enough of what they know to present it to others in such a way they can understand it.
The guy I used to work with was a phenomenal teacher of all things paints, powder coating and colour matching/blending. He had a real passion for it and it showed in the manner in which he taught and demonstrated what he was talking about. In saying that, he was also very highly strung and had some mental health issues that held him back from doing great things and so believed he was an idiot. He wasn't, but no amount of telling him would help.
#19Criminal defense lawyer here. Had a client who was a low level drug dealer and gun runner. Most street level guys have a very different type of intelligence that doesn’t translate well to the white collar world.
Many of my clients ask to read case law... I’ve only met one who could read it, digest it, and discuss it intelligently with me. This guy. He’d do his own research from the jail, which isn’t uncommon, but this guy did it well and would actually send me relevant cases that were helpful to the issues in his case... and when I explained to him why some were not helpful, he got it, asked good questions, and used that discussion to inform future research.
There are a lot of inmates who consider themselves “jailhouse lawyers.” This guy was smart enough to actually be one.
I think about him a lot and wonder what his life would have been like if he was fortunate enough to be afforded with the same opportunities during childhood that I enjoyed.
Image credits: Ben44c
#20Yep, went out with a girl who at first glance looked and behaved like the worst trailer park trash you could imagine. Very few social skills, clumsy, rude and threatening, promiscuous, semi -literate I bought her a beer and just got chatting, she was bi-polar and had had a chaotic childhood. We began to see each other around and started a relationship. I was moving away to go to university and I asked her to come with me and she stated to calm down and got a small job and grew into it as her confidence grew She started taking an interest in my course work a MsC in structural engineering and started to go to lectures in her free time. The end result 10 years later, she had a PhD in fluid dynamics, had learnt 3 new languages fluently and had taken up an analysts job ( quant) at a Swiss hedge fund. She is now a multi millionaire, married to a guy as smart as her, 3 kids and one of my best and closest friends living in one of the finest parts of Europe. I couldn't lover her more.
#21My husband. He was always told in school he could do better. His parents have said to him in front of me he's not very bright. They assume because he "works with computers all day" he just plays video games all the time. He got terrible grades in school and dropped out of University.
He could always do better in school because he was bored. He got terrible grades because he was told he'd do badly by his parents, his teachers, basically everyone in his life. His parents don't understand what he does at all. He doesn't work with computers all day and he doesn't have time to be playing video games all day.
When I met him we working in the same company. I witnessed that company hold him back for 5 years because he was useful where he was. It was just very good timing when he applied for a different job in the same company but a different department and location. He got the job and was allowed to transfer within a week because a higher up was on annual leave and couldn't object. The original department had to hire 8 people to replace him when he left. He's since been hired by a different company and is flourishing. He's had several promotions and pay rises, is on good terms with everyone in the company from the group CEO to the cleaners in his office, and is treated with respect by everyone he works with.
While he can't do simpler maths without a calculator, he can do complex quantum equations in his head. His father had the audacity to say "you've always been bad at maths." To which my husband, who has had enough of his parents bullshit, replied "my maths might be bad but it's good enough to know I earn more than you combined" (in reference to both of his parents)
I'm a super proud wife.
#22My dad never payed any attention in school and was seen as sorta average. The moment you talk to him on a subject he likes, he could talk for hours and he's actually really smart. He just doesn't have the motivation to learn it if he doesn't like it
#23My dad! He failed third grade (mom told me- he doesn’t know I know) and he went to a Catholic school so he didn’t get much support. He can take apart anything- motors, electronics, whatever and fix it. He loves doing it and he’s so kind and helpful. I’m a teacher and when I got my first job, I ran a third grade class. He helped me set up my classroom. Mom called me after that day and said he kept randomly bursting out crying (totally out of character) because he was so proud.
#24I knew a guy who very smart with the ability to be extremely manipulative and had no idea. He always got good grades in school, often without studying much at all. What was more impressive was his ability to read people’s body language, vocal tone fluctuation, and micro expressions. Often he would know what emotions someone was feeling and how best to proceed. The guy was a master at subtle communication, such as mirroring, and framing conversations so he would be dominant.
He was able to use this social intelligence to get with girls, but he would also use it to get people to do things he wanted.
One of the clearest examples of manipulation that I know of is that he got his friend to break up with his long time girlfriend. His friend’s girlfriend was kinda a drag and would be a little annoying around the group. So, he subtly started to slip in emotional and logical “suggestions” whenever he saw his friend in a moment of emotional vulnerability. Within a week, his friend ended the relationship.
#25When I was in uni, I took part in a project called Inside Out where we would go in a prison and have criminology lessons with the inmates whom we called inside students. We didn’t teach them or observe them - we were all learning together.
And this one guy was just a genius. He had this way of describing a phenomenon he’d noticed and thought about without realising that it was an actual theory that existed. Like we’d studied them in class so we knew about them. But he would just come up with it from personal experience. From labelling theory to functionalism he would just outline them like he’d thought of them in the shower. It was extraordinary.
He was also a bit unstable and prone to bursts of anger, often towards himself. He seemed to become frustrated very easily if he couldn’t explain or understand something perfectly.
And one day he stopped showing up.
I ended up talking to the guards who told me that he felt like he was too stupid for the class. Seriously he was convinced that we were all smarter than he was and that he wouldn’t be able to keep up. I don’t know if they ever did, but we asked the guards and a few inside students if they could tell him that we’d loved studying with him. That he was starting really interesting discussions and that his observations always made us think more deeply. That his presence made the class better.
And just to be clear, I don’t mean to say that he was smart “for someone in prison”. He was a genius. Everyone but him knew that he was by far the most intelligent person in the room. But he didn’t see it.
#26My husband. He has no idea how incredibly intelligent he actually is. (I do tell him how much I respect his intelligence all the time but he thinks I am being nice.) He is always reading or looking up the most random things just becuse he doesn’t know about them. He graduated with an engineering degree but when the bottom fell out of the manufactoring market he was having trouble finding a job. He got an opportunity to be an IT manager for an engineering company having never taken a computer class. All of his onowledge he aquired on his own. At one point they had 300 employees and he was the only IT person. He could burn the place down and they still wouldn’t fire him. Why? Not only did he revitalize thier systems and saves them tons of money each year by being so meticulous, he has this wonderful ability to EXPLAIN stuff so you can understand and also not feel stupid. (Except when he finds your machine doesn’t work because it’s not plugged in or not turned on!) He is just amazing and continues to show me something new or delight me every day after 27 years.
#27I've got a PhD and work in a field where so many people have PhDs that they don't even mention them.
To this day, I suspect that the smartest person I've ever met was a kid I taught at a GED learning center in the middle of a pretty rough area of a big city. I've met plenty of people who were exceptionally smart in one or maybe two dimensions, but this guy was across the board. He'd turn it on now and then - like when we were playing chess, and one time when he made a reference to something in French of all things - and then he'd just kind of smile. Like it was enough to just briefly show the rest of us how smart he was. It was almost like he was a self-aware Will Hunting - not that cartoonishly smart, of course, but very very smart, aware of it, and aware of his station in life.
I have absolutely no doubt that if he'd had my advantages since birth, he'd be a rock star in whatever field he was in.
But instead I'd see him hanging around a corner store and he may have been a low-level dealer. I have no idea what's become of him, but I hope it's for the best.
#28I taught algebra to inmates briefly and the number of guys who told me they were too stupid to learn math while being able to convert odd measurements between metric and imperial in their heads on the fly was too damn high. I'd like to go back in time and kick all those elementary school teachers who told them they were stupid.
Actually, I've run into plenty of racist, classist elementary school teachers currently teaching but still haven't kicked them, even though they deserve it.
EDIT: it was also amazing to see how their "illiteracy" improved once they finally got a pair of glasses. Even the guys who already had glasses when they got in were often still using prescriptions from 20 years earlier.
#29We have a paid summer internship program for juniors and seniors pursuing construction management degrees.
5 years ago we had a young woman who came in to the program in her junior year. She was very tiny in stature, and very quiet, but we soon learned - giant in intellect and loud where it counted.
The way we operate is each intern will spend 3 weeks on a different project, learning a different role within the organization. 3 weeks on-site as a Superintendent intern, 3 weeks on-site with safety, 3 with Project management, and 3 on-site with quality control.
After each period, I received a call, praising her ingenuity and ability to adapt and improvise in any situation.
At the end of the internship, we have a Plus/Delta review of their performance, and based on that review, we make a determination on whether to offer them a place the following summer. In the case of a senior, we determine if we want to extend them a full-time employment offer.
Every review she received from each department all said the same thing: "HIRE HER NOW".
We extended an offer for a salaried position, part-time, from that point through her senior year, along with tuition reimbursement.
This young lady still amazes everyone every single day. She's 25 years old, making an amazing salary and absolutely dominating any project she's given. If she doesn't know it today - she'll practically be an expert tomorrow.
She's incredibly impressive.
I can see her having my job one day (Operations Director). Hopefully, it's AFTER I retire.
#30I was in college with a dude that smoked weed from the time he got up to when he went to bed. He never studied at all. One day I asked him how his grades were and he told me he never got below an A and he was taking advanced math and science classes.
#31My stepfather is a genius. He grew up in agriculture and knows agriculture. He legitimately thinks he’s not smart because he doesn’t read a lot but can tell you how to change the feed ratios on your fowls just by looking at their feathers.
He still doesn’t believe me when I tell him he’s impressive.
#32I have one.
As a psychiatric doctor, one of my jobs is community management of patients right after they finish an inpatient admission, so they are only slightly better, not fully recovered.
One guy came in to clinic and my boss for some reason described him to me as 'a bit simple'. I don't know if she was trolling me, or if she just completely misread him, because he remains one of the smartest patients I ever had.
He rocks up in high-vis gear with concrete on his work boots, and speaks in a broad accent. He often says stuff like 'oh I dunno about any of that' or 'mate I haven't got time for this'.
But this guy was sharp as a tack. Any time I would bring up a point of psychoeduction to help him understand his bipolar disorder he would grasp the concept before I had finished explaining it.
I still use his words today with other patients about the similarities between anxiety and depression:
"Doc, it's like, anxiety and depression are brother and sister."
Holds two fingers up and crosses them.
"They aren't the same, but they are clearly related."
I was floored. It was way better than whatever garbage I was going to say.
He got well really fast. He just understood things so quickly, and was so open to new information. He could apply anything new to his own experience instantly. Uncanny.
He had no idea how smart he was, because he just assumed smartness was for people with a university degree. I had to tell my boss they were completely wrong about him but I don't know she ever took the time to update her initial assessment.
#33The people that strike me are the ones that eliminate the wrong conclusions (somehow) before solving an answer. The wrong conclusions just do not dawn on them.
Met a lady that went to an ivy league school. She could talk to you and hold a nice conversation. She could then turn around and talk to someone else at a higher level. Then, when asked a technical question out of her field of expertise she could give you a complex answer. She spoke to people on whatever level they were speaking on.
I have a friend of the family that took every class at a community college before going on to get his degree. He retained all of that information. Interestingly, he liked to speak in basic terms, and hold everyday conversations. If he got shunned at a party he would initially ignore it, and keep hanging out with you. Eventually, as the people who shunned him came to a point where they had to stop their conversation he would butt in. They often could not figure out the answer to what they were talking about. He would just chime in with a smile, and explain the rest of the concept to them. Then he would turn back to you and keep bullshitting. I've seen him do that multiple times.
#34Hung out with a guy once that was a friend of a friend at a bar. Trivia came on and we wanted to play. I thought I was good at trivia, but this guy knew the answer to every single question they could come up with, whether it was some obscure song and artist from the 60s, baseball statistics from the 90s, African history, geography I didn’t know like the capital of some remote island in the pacific, or some cult movie reference. The other teams were obviously googling the answers and cheating since they thought we were cheating. We probably went through 60-80 questions and nothing stumped him. It was unreal. He thought it was normal. Never saw him again
#35My cousin is 4 days older than I. We grew up together.
When I used to built sand castle in holidays, he would seat and write the list of every foreign politician he would know. The list was long.
When We had birthdays I used to ask for toys like dolls/puzzle/board games/playdoh. He used to ask for brain teasers or a microscope
etc etc... I grew up thinking I was dumb and silly. I later realized I was average and he was really smart.
He later went to prestigious schools and study something no one even understand the name of.
My favorite thing is seeing him at diner during family reunion: you can clearly see he is trying to chose different words than the natural one he wants to used to make sure we understand him... and all of us made quite high studies (surgeon, layer, etc...) so we are not particularly intelligent but not dumb or uneducated. But he is very humble so that's fine.
#36I know a guy who is just a postman but cos he’s so smart with investing he’s got a huge house and a second one on the coast of Spain.
#37My mom's boyfriend. We have a variety of specialists in my family from medicine to art to education to software. We go around the table at family gatherings and try to stump him with questions. He's never gotten one wrong to date. He just knows everything about everything. Obviously has a photographic memory, reads voraciously, and delivers car parts for a living.
#38When I was a child there was a girl in my class who could recite the whole periodic table and remember virtually anything. No one thought anything of it.
#39Yes absolutely. I’ve met such a person and she’s my girlfriend now. She’s a very smart person with exquisite sense of humor. She wasn’t aware of her awesomeness because she was surrounded by toxic friends most of her life. Friends who made her feel inferior about her looks because they were nowhere near her smartness. Her last boyfriend was also manipulative and made her feel insecure to imply that she can’t do any better than him.
She was a total mess when we met, and so was I. But as we went forward in our relationship, we opened up more about our past. I never hesitated in praising and complementing her about anything, neither did she. We built a beautiful relationship based on mutual respect and love.
She has evolved into a beautiful person and is flourishing so beautifully. She makes the best jokes and talks to me about deeper stuff, so confidently. It’s an absolute pleasure to see someone change like that and i’m really glad we met.
#40Art teacher here, I see this all day, it's hard to get kids to realise they are doing amazing at things not valued by parents or relatives, like arts... When I talked to a kid with serious skills about being a designer she was "no, I ll study business, I don't know anything about art... You just score 90 at the last art history exam and 95 for the last practice - you're 16 when is the last time you did business? ... " But dad said business is your futur so no questions asked... It's sad.
#41Probably my cousin. Her brain is crazy to me, we have conversations, and go thru mathematics, to history, theories. We teach each other, and she's expanded my brain more than anyone has... crazy to me that she's a house mom. She can be doing awesome stuff. But I get it... I enjoy learning as well, but I'm a just a mill worker, and love it. I have no intention of pursuing an academic career either.
#42In my first year of uni (college) I sat next to a quiet girl who never thought of herself as smart. While everyone else was loud about what they know and act like they’re top of the class, when they’re really not. She never showed off her knowledge. We just graduated this year, 4th year, and she was honoured the university medal for her thesis, #1 student in almost 400 students. But I bet you, she still doesn’t think of herself as especially intelligent.
#43I once dated a guy who was known to be a jock/party animal but he was incredibly observant. For example, he was my date to an out of state wedding where we didn’t know many people and the people I knew I hadn’t seen in years. He noticed that there was some type of rift between certain family members of the bride and groom by their facial expressions during the speeches (whereas I was just focusing on the person giving the speech) and also picked up on the fact that my friend’s wife was pregnant (which they were trying to hide and cover up that she wasn’t drinking). I was always so amazed by how much he would pick up on in situations when I had no idea that any of that was going on.
#44My husband. High school drop out who’s terrified to fail so he doesn’t want to try. Absolutely thinks he’s dumb. He knows so much about so many different things. He can solve complex problems related to his job in literal seconds. It sucks because he absolutely thinks he’s dumb and that because he didn’t graduate he doesn’t even have the right to talk about certain topics.
He’s also very quiet. My dad who is very much a talker and always wants husband to talk more once said to me ‘yknow how I know X is smart? Because he knows when to shut the Fuck up and listen.”
#45I had a friend, that was seen in our school as someone who isn't interested in studying in anyway, the more i observed him, turns out all of his brain power activates, if a teacher can turn a boring subject into something he can pique his interest in, dude can go from straight d's to straight a's depending on how the teacher makes the subject interesting, it's as if he is a benchmark for teachers.
#46As a teen, I worked for a video rental place. (Like blockbuster but not.) My manager spoken five languages and did all the accounts without the need of a calculator. I asked him what was he just a manager at a movie rental place, he could be making a lot of money doing anything else. He told me "making less money is the price of my happiness."
Always stuck with me.
#47My friend in highschool thinks he's dumb, but has an absolutely phenomenonal knowledge of politics and the legal/economic system. He has dyslexia, but you wouldn't be able to tell because he reads more seamlessly than most of the rest of us. I wish he would recognise how smart he was because I think he doesn't aim as high as he could achieve because he doesn't think he's smart enough
#48I see intelligent people every day- it just depends on WHAT kind of intelligence you are looking for. My husband can take almost anything apart, figure out how it works, and fix it. We haven’t paid for car or house repairs, aside from parts, in years. He had a tendency to blurt out whatever he is thinking though, and has dyslexia, and mild adhd, so he didn’t do super well in school (he did go to college, but no top of the class awards or anything). People tend to love him, and he does well at work. I know mechanics I’d consider geniuses in their field. I know a kid who can play 7 instruments but has trouble talking to people. My neighbor has the best vegetable garden, year round with two greenhouses, that yields so much people are welcome to come and fill a bag if they need food. That’s a skill. So many people just do their thing without realizing how skilled they are, either because no one acknowledged it, or a school didn’t emphasize that particular gift, or worse, people made fun of them for it, but that doesn’t make their skills any less valuable. Not all intelligence is stem based, or even marketable.
#49Billy. I still think about Billy sometimes.
I was 22 years old and teaching high school in a rural school in the heart of the Bible Belt. Billy sat at the left hand end of the second row, a thick shock of dark hair hanging down over these huge, brown eyes. He was fifteen and small for his age; he looked like Tim Burton had thought him up.
I was going over the definition of science and Billy said, just loud enough for me and no one else to hear as I walked by, “Oscar Wilde said, ‘Science is the record of dead religions.’”
Here’s a fifteen year old pulling relevant Oscar Wilde quotes off the top of his head. A voice in the back of my head said, ‘This kid is smarter than you. You can’t let him figure that out.’
He took an interest in me and in the topic and would stick around after school. We’d talk about black holes or time travel or whatever he could think up. He did goofy drawings (usually pretty macabre) and made jokes. I got to know him.
I told him he was one of the most frustrating students I ever had; he was so incredibly smart, but when I asked him for his homework he’d go absently digging around in a backpack full of crumpled papers and never find it. He could answer any question on the homework from memory; he just couldn’t be bothered to actually submit it.
So he got a D, because he only did the bare minimum needed to pass.
We kept in touch via Facebook after he graduated and I moved on to other jobs. Mostly watching each other’s feeds with an IM about a meme or a joke every few months. Sometimes I’d give him advice and try to encourage him.
Billy’s life and mine had a lot of parallels; his story seemed like a dark mirror of mine.
My Dad had a heart attack when I was ten, but survived until I graduated high school.
Billy’s Dad didn’t survive.
I married my high school sweet heart and we’re still together. I was head over heels.
His married his high school sweetheart and was head over heels. She asked for an open relationship and eventually left him.
I went to state U and got a degree.
Billy took sporadic classes at the local community college and just never strung together a degree.
Eventually Billy started drinking.
One night he said he was going to go get on a ladder to fix his ceiling fan (?) and stopped responding. I messaged a buddy of his who lived in the same town, worried maybe he fell off a ladder.
Billy messaged me back a while later ranting about flags and betrayal and his mother being controlling (?). It was very out of character. None of it made any sense; I told him I was sorry and I never meant to offend him (still not sure what I did - I will never know). He said, “I’ll say one last thing,” and I don’t remember what he said now but it was more of the same.
He logged off.
I figured he was going to go sleep it off, and I’d check in later and try to find out what was up.
Gave him a couple of weeks to cool off and looked at his feed. Started seeing the memorial messages, condolences and stuff roll in.
Billy killed himself.
The rest of us just keep rolling along, and it’s like he’s frozen in time. His memorialized page still has the last few stupid jokes he posted.
I hadn’t seen Billy in six or seven years when he died; it had all been through Facebook. To me, he’ll always be fifteen years old and quoting Oscar Wilde in the second row of Biology.
#50I'm a special education teacher. Most individuals have strengths and corresponding deficits-- so lots of people are super smart in areas and super challenged in others. In some individuals, it is extreme!
#51I work with a nurse who's clinical skills are outstanding.
Turns out she's a Doctor.
Has a master's degree.
Also a mental health counselor.
Oh and a qualified paramedic.
Good cook too.
#52People are smart in different ways. Some people can understand complex abstract ideas, some people can understand visual and spatial relationships, some people understand other people. I think we have a really limited understanding of intelligence and how it can be measured.
#53A family member of mine has the highest EQ I've ever seen. The amount of knowledge and effort that goes into being there for everyone and knowing just what to do/say in every situation. Remembering preferences and quirks and navigating them all.
Human beings are social creatures and she's ace at it.
#54My best friend is stupid smart. Scored a perfect 36 on his a.c.t, perfect 100 on his asvab, all first time taken them, and ended up going into the infantry for the marines. I mean what ever makes ya happy go for it but damn that dude could've gotten jobs I bet only a handful of people know about.
#55I did actually meet this really smart girl in high school. She apparently didn't realize how smart she was, but that's why I'm marrying her.
#56My best friend is a doctor of natural sciences and has an encyclopaedic knowledge of all things animal related in particular. She still refuses to acknowledge that it's rare to be that knowledgeable about a topic and that she is indeed incredibly intelligent.
#57My grandmother, she genuinely could've been whatever she wanted however unfortunately she was married to a man who was insecure about his own intelligence he was cruel to her and downplayed her's. To this day she doesn't seem that sure about just how smart she is, however she's at least happier and with a new person who isn't a dick.
#58My brother. He was a logical powerhouse, could tackle complex mathematics at a young age and is extremely good at chess, and even better at manipulation of people. He reads people like books.
Sadly he developed schizoaffective bipolar, so unmedicated he begins to unravel. Our family has a lot of mental illness (I have pretty severe ADHD), and a lot of very intelligent individuals as well. My mother has a PHD in biophysics and my father is an engineer. I knew I wasn't that stupid, that I had some kind of undiagnosed condition when I was a kid, but I knew my brother was much, much smarter than me. Might have been some kind of genius. But his condition has only gotten worse and robbed him of most of that. It's a really sad thing to witness.
#59My boyfriend. Really empathetic, creative person, with lot of amazing insights and amazing ideas that I feel could really change the world. But his parents kinda suck at parenting so he’s been lacking support for adhd and depression for years now. I get incredibly angry when I think about how much he’s suffered because of their careless neglect of his well-being.
#60I think some people just choose a quieter and more simple life despite their intelligence.
I worked as a hospital porter for a few years when I was a teen and one of my fellow porters was this brilliant chap who would skim through the paper on his break then go off on some glorious leftist rant like the leader of a union back in the 70s.
His political knowledge was unbelievable, he could easily have been an MP but was happier as a porter.