A while back, a friend of mine gave me a copy of The Dictator’s Handbook: Why Bad Behavior is Almost Always Good Politics by Bruce Mesquita to read. I started it several times, but never was able to get beyond page two. It was just one of those books where after every sentence my mind wandered off down a path of its own.
I know the basic gist of the book was “Every person or persons at the top of the governmental power pyramid must rely on a small group of loyal cronies to make sure that the other 90% of the governed population fall into line and do exactly what they are told to do” (my words).
This is all information I gathered from reading just a couple of pages, but I could just not power through the book’s text even though it was probably a very good and insightful explanation of what is occurring in many countries today. That got me to thinking: If I can’t focus on difficult material long enough to absorb it, just how smart am I?
This insight brought me to the realization; I may not have a first-rate mind, but are more of what you might call a “limited genius” in that I have an exceptional ability to understand a limited amount of information incredibly well.
I admit I usually find most ideas, formulas, and analysis involving any complicated subject matter beyond my reach. I also find it is equally difficult to understand anything that requires a lot of hard work to learn. I guess this means I am a “limited genius” because I am (a) not off the charts bright and (b) lazy.
The good thing about being a limited genius is that I can intellectually shine as long as I stay within a specific world of knowledge. In other words, I can easily rise to the genius level about things I find interesting, rewarding, or exciting. So far this list only includes a few subjects: fly fishing, working a TV remote, and, well, any other type of fishing. But I think these examples of exceptional expertise are enough to prove my point.
God, I wish my parents had realized my genius potential when I was in school. Then at the annual parent/teacher conference they could respond to the teacher’s “He seems to lack motivation, is easily distracted, and doesn’t work up to his potential” with ”No worry teacher, it’s just that he’s a limited genius.” Life would have been so much easier for me.