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Giftedness, greatness, and happiness
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Giftedness, greatness, and happiness:

 1 Psyclone, Fri, 13th Jan '12 5:59:19 AM from Somewhere else
A Superior Spider-Man
(Warning, long whiny self indulgent post ahead)

As I mentioned in another thread, I used to think I was a genius and had a duty to change the world for the better. Things have not worked out in that regard. Right now, I feel trapped doing an accursed boring Master thesis for a major I now find I absolutely loathe with uncertain job prospects at the age of 24 and battle fears of perpetual unemployment. And as if that wasn't bad enough, I have my parents berating me frequently for having "wasted my intelligence", that I should be "ashamed of myself", just like they are of me since apparently all of their friends have incredibly successful sons.

And I am in fact ashamed of myself. I don't consider myself to be a genius but I do consider myself to be bright and I feel like an utter failure. Every time I read articles about kids who started their own companies or made great discoveries in summer internships (which I can't get here) I keep thinking "That could have been me". Instead, I feel like I am graduating without KNOWING how to DO anything and may very well be doomed to a life of misery.

Now, I want my whining to have SOME sort of purpose so I would like to use it as a jumping point to the question that has been plaguing my life: do you think that "gifted" people have a moral obligation to use said gifts to help mankind? Or should they do what they want to do like everyone else? Can people even become great without having passion for what they do, thus answering both questions?
Any child can follow rules. True adulthood is knowing which ones to break and when.
 2 Bokhura Burnes, Fri, 13th Jan '12 6:26:28 AM from Inside the Bug Pit
Radical Moderate
I'm pretty certain the answer to your last question is 'no'. Giftedness might get you in the door, but to get really good at something, you need to continually practice and learn from your mistakes, no matter how much natural ability you have. (I've heard that it takes about 10, 000 hours of practice to truly master a field.) If you hate what you're doing, you'll never have the stamina to get through this, no matter how good you may be at it on paper.

However, I wouldn't waste your time beating yourself up over not having accomplished greatness. After all, there are many ways to make a difference in the world...you don't have to be Mother Teresa or Steve Jobs. In my view, anyone who finds a way to make someone else's life a bit more worthwhile, or who manages to reach true self-knowledge and peace of mind, has lived a life that could truly be considered 'great'.

Take the next few years, don't worry about what you want to accomplish, and explore what you truly feel passionate about. Then focus on that. And who knows what will happen? You're still young, after all. You have much of your life ahead of you to see where it goes!
You're a wallflower. You see things. You keep quiet about them. And you understand.
Cogito ergo cogito
Ah yes, the way of the Dao.

Act without acting.

Passion definitely is necessary, if purely for that previous principle. When working with the field you are passionate about, it should not feel as if work at all, rather something you cannot live without. * Alas I have not found such an activity myself, either, though perhaps music is getting there.
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Total posts: 3
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