The Secret of Prodigies that no one ever told you (SO#15)

They say intelligence is born somewhat of genetics, yet, when I look at my own family, I have a father who went to Harvard, my two brothers were the top of their class, and yet, when it comes to me, I’m always a step behind. Worse than that, my brothers hardly had to do any work, and yet they sprung out on top, when silly old me actually attempted to do the same, yet had none of the same results. My oldest brother has a genius IQ and seems to have the cards just playing out for him… I won’t downplay his effort, I know he put his heart into it, yet it’s bittersweet. I could never dream of doing the things he’s done… nor would I want to. I’m no fan of the complications of computer science, I just tend to have a lot of friends who major in it. Needless to say, I just wonder, where did the genius IQ and Harvard go when it came to me? I certainly didn’t receive it, not the way they did. But that’s got me thinking, perhaps I’ve been going about intelligence the wrong way.


    Just to begin, the IQ test is not the best measure of intelligence. Don’t trust it.

    It has its merits, no doubt about it, but it’s skewed towards us rich white folk with enough money to put our children in schools. The reason the IQ test was made in the first place was to make the teacher’s job easier back when schools began. They could separate the fast and slow kids into their groups so a curriculum could be more focused on inidividual’s traits. However, when the USA stupidly decided to use this test to choose which immigrants could enter the US way back when, it was just stupid. Of course an African, who may have never seen a school building in their entire life, would not be able to answer the questions an IQ test gives you. IQ IS NOT WHAT MAKES YOU SMART.

    IQ definitely can prove a intelligence on a limited scale; however, it’s just like any test. If you haven’t taken the class and have never heard of the subject, you’re not going to pass the test for it. Simple as that.

    So question, what differentiates us and the geniuses who just bleed intelligence, the prodigies? Why is it so easy to tell who is smarter and who isn’t, when the IQ test is biased? Why aren’t we all geniuses?

    According to the Lumosity blog, there was one trait that all child prodigies had in common. HINT: It’s not IQ.

  “Results reveal one consistent trend. Regardless of their performance in every other aspect, all prodigies placed in the 99th percentile for working memory ability, or the ability to store and manipulate multiple pieces of information. Used in everyday life to juggle multiple activities or hold onto a thought when interrupted, working memory proved to be the most exceptional trait shared by every prodigy in this study.”

    That’s it? Working Memory? That’s all they had in common? No alien transformations or huge foreheads acting as solar panels of genius intellect and such things? No, it’s something as simple as having an exceptional amount of SHORT TERM MEMORY. Being able to keep what is relevant in the brain. No wonder Sherlock Holmes makes so much sense, if a man were that observant and knew what each thing he observed meant, connecting the dots is certainly elementary, my dear Watson.

    Of course, memory is not the entirety of what makes one a genius, they do tend to have higher IQ’s, and they probably have many other traits, such as highly-developed problem solving abilities, and having been raised in the right environment to harbor the kind of memories they needed to become who they are. I hate to say it, but not everyone can become a genius, there is some genetics going on in there and environment, and brain capacity… but the point of this blog is to prove that that is not all there is. Geniuses and prodigies are still HUMAN, even if we sometimes paint them otherwise.

    To end this off and make you think a little on what you should be doing with you head, have a Sherlock Holmes quote.

    “I consider that a man’s brain originally is like a little empty attic, and you have to stock it with such furniture as you choose. A fool takes in all the lumber of every sort that he comes across, so that the knowledge which might be useful to him gets crowded out, or at best is jumbled up with a lot of other things, so that he has a difficulty in laying his hands upon it. Now the skillful workman is very careful indeed as to what he takes into his brain-attic. He will have nothing but the tools which may help him in doing his work, but of these he has a large assortment, and all in the most perfect order. It is a mistake to think that that little room has elastic walls and can distend to any extent. Depend upon it there comes a time when for every addition of knowledge you forget something that you knew before. It is of the highest importance, therefore, not to have useless facts elbowing out the useful ones.”

    Have a good week… and look forward to ANOTHER HARRY POTTER REVIEW! (Sorry, had to do another one. Goblet of Fire is my favorite of the series, it deserves a review.)

    (Link to the Lumosity article, if anyone’s interested: http://blog.lumosity.com/prodigy/ )

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