My curse

You know those kids who yell and scream and jump up and down when their parents won’t let them have candy, because they’ve already had too much of it today and it’s not good for them, but they don’t care and they still want more anyway?

You know those people who work themselves to death so that they can get as much money as possible, even though they don’t really need it? How even though they know it’s unhealthy and they shouldn’t be doing it, ultimately they can’t bring themselves to stop because they can’t be happy as long as they know they could be making more money?

I pity them so, in my heart.

They have such a desperate longing for something. In healthy quantities, desire drives people to achieve. But these people? They have an unhealthy desire. They’ll never be able to get enough of it to satisfy themselves. They may be aware of the fact, but they just can’t help it. It consumes their lives, and ensures that they’ll never be happy.

But I am the same as them.

I want people to consider me highly intelligent, and I want them to respect and admire me for it. I always get a kick out of it, every time one of my friends introduces me to one of their friends and talks about my academic “achievements”. I feel like I can never get enough of that, and that ultimately I will always feel like a failure because, the further I move ahead in life, the more people I will meet who will make me feel stupid in comparison. Whether in academia or in industry. And that I’ll be unhappy because I’ll feel like a failure, then.

And even though I’ve recognized that I have this problem, I don’t know what to do about it. Maybe enough exposure will cure me of it. But what if it doesn’t?

This is my curse.


About Brian

Hi! I'm Brian Bi. As of November 2014 I live in Sunnyvale, California, USA and I'm a software engineer at Google. Besides code, I also like math, physics, chemistry, and some other miscellaneous things.
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6 Responses to My curse

  1. hwonsoong says:

    Permission to speak? If granted, read on.

    There’s really nothing you can do about that. Perhaps it’ll come with age, but in my experience, nothing ever came of wanting. I personally hate being praised for my intellect. It’s something I was born with, something I had no hand in. Praise me instead for my cooking skills, my swordplay, anything that I actually had to work my ass off to achieve. So maybe I can’t understand what it’s like to desire that recognition. But I can understand that there’s always going to be people above and below you no matter what you’re pursuing. But isn’t that a good thing? It means that there’ll always be someone to teach you and guide you when you get lost, and there’ll always be someone for you to teach, keeping the basics fresh in your mind. I’d never want to stand at the top. It’s lonely up there. Better to be in the middle.

    But that’s probably not going to make you feel better. For what it’s worth, you’ve achieved a lot that you can be proud of, and you are a very smart dude. Be pleased with yourself sometimes?

  2. Yehudi says:

    Fuck you!

    That is my curse.

  3. Pauly says:

    Sounds similar to people who have hundreds of pictures of themselves on Facebook, trying to get as many likes as they can.

  4. anon says:

    You aren’t alone. It’s my curse, too.
    I read that post of yours from a while back and it resonated strongly with me. I can completely empathize with wanting to be considered an intellectual, wanting to be the best at everything, but feeling inferior to my brilliant peers. Throughout school, I constantly felt overshadowed and thus, I felt insignificant. I was aware that I was doing well academically, but my good grades weren’t enough to console me because I knew that there were people who still “beat” me.
    Being classified as “gifted” does not help either – that’s a part of the curse, I believe. I often feel pressured to be the best because I’m supposed to be smart. What can I conclude, then, if I am not the most successful at something? That I am not truly gifted; that I had somehow managed to trick people into classifying me as such. So instead, I try to work hard to make up for my deficiency in intelligence.
    I wish I could offer you some very helpful advice in overcoming your insecurities, but I am still in the same situation myself. All I can say is this: if you think of the purpose of life as finding happiness, then define happiness for yourself. If you equate success to happiness, then define that for yourself as well, not with respect to others’ achievements. It is good to have some healthy competition to keep you aspiring to be better and working to improve your skills, but don’t take your failures too hard.

  5. mayeesha says:

    May be it’s a good idea to get praised for your thoughts than your ability to produce the thoughts.That kind of separates your identity from your intellect and makes you identify more with the things you’ve done.Actually that’s unhealthy too.Because other equally intelligent or accomplished people are likely to get turned off.They will simply feel bored if they have to praise you.Or just accept you are this way.That’s the easiest way to deal with it.If it doesn’t get cured later on,then that’s it.That’s who you are.What’s wrong with having some weaknesses?Everyone has some.I’d have murdered anyone who would push me to fix the flaw’s that I’ve intentionally kept.In this case identifying yourself as an intelligent person is probably good for you.Because otherwise where exactly are you going to get some motivation from?Just random thoughts.I’m writing it at 2PM anyways.

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