Has anyone ever called you a genius?

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Has anyone ever called you a genius?

Postby scratch123 » Wed Mar 16, 2011 1:59 pm UTC

Ever since I have started reading wikipedia alot (after it got popular in 2006) I have had many people call me a genius. They usually don't say it to me directly but instead say it to someone that I know and then that person tells me what they said. I am just wondering how common this is.

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Re: Has anyone ever called you a genius?

Postby Endless Mike » Wed Mar 16, 2011 2:14 pm UTC

Yeah. I don't agree with the assessment, however.

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Re: Has anyone ever called you a genius?

Postby SecondTalon » Wed Mar 16, 2011 2:17 pm UTC

I've heard a person call another person a genius due to their idea of putting cheese on those burgers.

It gets thrown around a lot with little merit.
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Re: Has anyone ever called you a genius?

Postby Angua » Wed Mar 16, 2011 2:19 pm UTC

Yes, but I didn't agree as I don't feel being particularly better in academics makes one a genius.
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Re: Has anyone ever called you a genius?

Postby Menacing Spike » Wed Mar 16, 2011 2:21 pm UTC

I have often been described as extremely intelligent. I am average at academics.
I disagree with that assessment, as while my brain has extreme processing power, my thought process is muddy, inefficient, wasteful and chaotic. Memory, concentration, focus all suck. I would trade speed for reliability any day.

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Re: Has anyone ever called you a genius?

Postby SlyReaper » Wed Mar 16, 2011 2:40 pm UTC

Yes, and like everyone else in this thread so far, I disagree with their assessment*. It just seems to be the done thing to call someone if they demonstrate cleverness. Possibly as a way of making themselves feel better about not being as clever as the other person - "It doesn't matter I'm not as clever as him, he's a frickin' genius!"

Of course, true genius goes beyond being clever at academic things. It implies a certain creativity, originality, and passion in applying that knowledge, not just being "good at maths, times a million". Einstein is considered a genius because he was very creative at applying what he knew, and produced theories that had not occured to anyone else. By all accounts, he was actually pretty average in the classroom.

* Of course, when I was a kid, I was more inclined to agree with them. I didn't have a brain the size of a planet, but I certainly had an ego the size of a planet.
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Re: Has anyone ever called you a genius?

Postby Deva » Wed Mar 16, 2011 3:02 pm UTC

Was proclaimed to be a genius in high school and earlier. Did the work, paid attention in class, and received good grades as a result. Believed their words when I discovered others did the same and did not receive as spectacular of grades.

Was not a genius in college. Has not received many lovely grades, either. Is still a genius, though, right? Must be unwittingly sniffing paint before exams or something. Has to be it.

Has also been called a genius in the sarcastic sense plenty of times too. Quite deservedly, at that.
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Re: Has anyone ever called you a genius?

Postby Kewangji » Wed Mar 16, 2011 3:24 pm UTC

Yeah, it has happened to me. It usually just means 'smarter than me', or 'knows words I don't'.

Receiving similar (though not as strong) remarks from teachers is scary.

SlyReaper wrote:By all accounts, [Einstein] was actually pretty average in the classroom.

I kinda doubt this, given his abnormal productivity/work ethic. Do you have any sources?
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Re: Has anyone ever called you a genius?

Postby SecondTalon » Wed Mar 16, 2011 3:28 pm UTC

heuristically_alone wrote:I want to write a DnD campaign and play it by myself and DM it myself.
heuristically_alone wrote:I have been informed that this is called writing a book.

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Re: Has anyone ever called you a genius?

Postby demon-llama » Wed Mar 16, 2011 3:32 pm UTC

Yes, nearly on a daily basis. But generally for mundane things, such as being able to plug in a projector or adjust the zoom level of a web browser. Either I cannot detect sarcasm nearly as well as I had thought, or people have low expectations.

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Re: Has anyone ever called you a genius?

Postby SlyReaper » Wed Mar 16, 2011 3:38 pm UTC


My apologies for posting half-remembered hearsay then.
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Re: Has anyone ever called you a genius?

Postby SecondTalon » Wed Mar 16, 2011 3:41 pm UTC

Yeah, don't worry about it. I remember reading a Biography on the dude that mentioned that, and went into great detail about it.
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Re: Has anyone ever called you a genius?

Postby quantropy » Wed Mar 16, 2011 3:42 pm UTC

demon-llama wrote: being able to plug in a projector

When I was running the university astronomical society, the slide projector often caused problems. I thought 'right, if one person learned how to deal with the projector, we wouldn't waste so much time trying to get it to work.' So I tried to take someone to take on the job. Unfortunately, because it was perceived as a 'special' job, people seemed to think that it must be impossibly difficult. Advanced mathematical physics was one thing, getting a projector to work was quite another.

Now of course things have moved on from unreliable mechanical projectors, and so we often spend 10 minutes in a lecture looking at a screen saying 'No input detected on rgb'

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Re: Has anyone ever called you a genius?

Postby demon-llama » Wed Mar 16, 2011 4:08 pm UTC

quantropy wrote:Advanced mathematical physics was one thing, getting a projector to work was quite another.


Perhaps, then, my assumption about low expectations was a bit too pessimistic. People's perceptions of accomplishments outside of their own skill set may very well appear more impressive than to those with said skills. For myself, I don't know the first thing about sculpting (unless play-doh counts) and my views regarding the awesome-tastic nature of a particular work may very well be overly much compared with someone who actually knows how to turn a lump of clay into art.

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Re: Has anyone ever called you a genius?

Postby Sandry » Wed Mar 16, 2011 4:49 pm UTC

Yes. Particularly in the context of work. All it actually means is that I retain information well and am pretty decent at drawing logical conclusions. If I'm a genius, the bar is set pretty low.
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Re: Has anyone ever called you a genius?

Postby Obby » Wed Mar 16, 2011 4:55 pm UTC

Yes, but, as seems to be the running trend, I don't think I've earned it in the slightest.

Menacing Spike said it best:

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Re: Has anyone ever called you a genius?

Postby Whelan » Wed Mar 16, 2011 6:57 pm UTC

Obby wrote:Yes, but, as seems to be the running trend, I don't think I've earned it in the slightest.

Menacing Spike said it best:

Menacing Spike wrote:Memory, concentration, focus all suck. I would trade speed for reliability any day.

I've been told if I applied myself I'd be a genius, as it is I'm a B student, on a good day.
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Re: Has anyone ever called you a genius?

Postby mjm » Wed Mar 16, 2011 8:27 pm UTC

I have also been called a genius for understanding something or even just knowing a fact that happened to be relevant. I disagree politely.

Any definition of genius will probably have its weaknesses, but as far as a convenient explanatory phrase, Arthur Koestler said, "The principle mark of genius is not perfection but originality, the opening of new frontiers."

Not that I have ever been close to perfect, either...

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Re: Has anyone ever called you a genius?

Postby Thesh » Wed Mar 16, 2011 9:44 pm UTC

Same here, I have been called a genius for having a little knowledge in certain areas. I also disagree with it.

Also, I have known a self-proclaimed genius, and I disagree with their assessment as well.
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Re: Has anyone ever called you a genius?

Postby Posthumane » Wed Mar 16, 2011 10:42 pm UTC

I'm pretty sure anytime it's been said about me there has been a heavy dose of sarcasm involved. The same is true the times that I've said it.

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Re: Has anyone ever called you a genius?

Postby TimelordSimone » Thu Mar 17, 2011 12:06 am UTC

demon-llama wrote:People's perceptions of accomplishments outside of their own skill set may very well appear more impressive than to those with said skills.


Totally this.

My piano playing is, to non-musicians, pretty impressive.
To musicians? I'm alright. Ish?
(I haven't taken any exams since I was like 11? So I can't actually quantify how good/rubbish I am.)

Similarly, I'm much less impressed by musicians than non-musicians are. That drummer kid on Britain's Got Talent? Get off the stage. (He came THIRD? Urgh.) And it annoys me when pianists on YouTube 'show off' by playing blindfolded. (You don't generally look at your hands when you're playing anyway.)

Who's going to be impressed by something they can also do?
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Re: Has anyone ever called you a genius?

Postby big boss » Thu Mar 17, 2011 12:07 am UTC

I hate when people ask "so what college do you go to" then you respond "I go to [insert a slightly difficult school to get into]" and then I hear "wow, you must be really smart"... I hate that, I just think to myself "I'm not that smart I just actually tried slightly in high school unlike all the other lazy students." Its even worse if you go to a top ten school or an ivy.
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Re: Has anyone ever called you a genius?

Postby PatrickRsGhost » Thu Mar 17, 2011 12:56 am UTC

I've been called a genius hundreds of times at work, mainly for doing things that apparently no one else can figure out, like printing directly on our address labels (with company address, a rather odd size), or doing stuff in Excel or Word that I just recently learned how to do, or doing stuff in either they don't know how to.
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Re: Has anyone ever called you a genius?

Postby firechicago » Thu Mar 17, 2011 2:59 am UTC

A professor once told my father "Mr. Lastname, you have a remarkable grasp of the obvious." And he sincerely meant it as a compliment. All of us spend so much of our days looking at what we expect to see, hearing what we expect to hear, using the solutions and strategies that have always worked before. Most of the time it really does take a notable amount of mental effort simply to look at a new problem and see the obvious. Like the old joke about the mathematician using three blackboards to prove that a given fact is trivial, sometimes we can only see the obvious solution by examining all of them to see which ones aren't obviously right.

And if seeing the obvious makes one smart, then a genius might be a person who can come up with something that's not obvious and make it look obvious. Sometimes it takes a smart person to solve a complicated problem, but to solve a simple problem it takes a real genius.

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Re: Has anyone ever called you a genius?

Postby hidden » Thu Mar 17, 2011 5:34 am UTC

yes but never by a genius so i never take it seriously

(yes that was tongue and cheek)

(no i'm no genius)

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Re: Has anyone ever called you a genius?

Postby mrfufu » Thu Mar 17, 2011 6:33 am UTC

I think what separates a child from an adult has a part in how one reacts to being called a genius by his/her peers. A child would probably politely deny the statement, but inwardly agree with it. An adult, however, would both deny the statement and disagree with it.

It would be amusing if the true geniuses were those who disagreed with the statement as children. This doesn't surprise me much, though; I'm recalling this off the top of my head, but if memory serves, a study has shown that kids who believed that they were intelligent as children don't end up doing as great intellectually as do kids who didn't think so. Take this with a grain of salt; my memory is about as rusty as it gets, although I'm still under 20. :(

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Re: Has anyone ever called you a genius?

Postby Mapar » Thu Mar 17, 2011 7:14 am UTC

Yes, and like everyone else here, I disagree. It's nice as a compliment, but I know some people who say it all the time, or allude to it. It makes me feel uncomfortable (and after a while, it even pisses me off), because I know it isn't true, and bystanders I hardly know suddenly have higher expectations.

When introducing ourselves to each other at the start of the term, sometimes people I shared a class with would add "... and he's really smart." after I finished my introduction. I HATE that. It forces me in a really awkward position right from the start.



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Re: Has anyone ever called you a genius?

Postby drkslvr » Thu Mar 17, 2011 8:11 am UTC

I think that "genius" in the popular sense really just means that you're looking at the problem at hand differently from the people around you, and that others find that your way of looking at things is helpful. I am told occasionally that I'm a genius, and especially when it's clearly meant in this context, I take it as a complement. I want to be able to look at things in new and different ways that are helpful to others. Of course, I don't think that I'm at all "superior" or "vastly intelligent". If anything, I'm modestly more adept than average in a some areas, and a little behind in others. But if, despite my very average intelligence, I can offer a unique perspective, that's something I'm proud to be doing.

Of course, I'm not terribly fond of "the label" when it's used to discount the hard work I put into my studies or to "write off" other folk's slacking as due to some terrible, unchangeable force that decided they weren't supposed to be "geniuses" and therefore they don't need to bother trying. But it seems like this happens a lot less often than the other.
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Re: Has anyone ever called you a genius?

Postby slaxor » Fri Mar 18, 2011 3:39 am UTC

Wasn't genius 99% perspiration? I'm no genius, not by a long shot. I will admit to being moderately clever and occasionally articulate, though.

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Re: Has anyone ever called you a genius?

Postby Eastwinn » Fri Mar 18, 2011 4:24 am UTC

The issue is that we know enough about a subject to see how much we don't know. To an outsider, we appear to know it all because they know too little about a subject to realize its scope.

For example, we all thought our parents were geniuses at math when we were little because we didn't know there was anything beyond arithmetic. But our parents knew that they weren't geniuses because they knew there was much more out there that they didn't understand (unless, of course, they happened to be a mathematical genius).
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Re: Has anyone ever called you a genius?

Postby Zamfir » Fri Mar 18, 2011 5:55 pm UTC

My days of being a boy genius are long over, and like everybody else wasted on laziness. I am now getting to the age where people sometimes consider me an expert, if only on small issues yet.

The scary part is that it is sometimes true, and you then realize that there is indeed not someone who knows better. And that on oh so many other issues, the experts are probably also the kind of guessing idiot I am.

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Re: Has anyone ever called you a genius?

Postby Von Haus » Fri Mar 18, 2011 7:19 pm UTC

Not genius, but last weekend, one of my closest friends who I value as one of the most intelligent people I know told me he honestly believed I could achieve far more with my life than I had previously been aiming for and that he really and truly believed in my ability. So not a genius, but god being told that has had a profound impact on me.
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Re: Has anyone ever called you a genius?

Postby TheStrongest » Sat Mar 19, 2011 2:46 am UTC

All the time. It's gotten to the point where I have difficulty disclosing an insecurity or doubt with academics or school work without the retort "NO! You're a genius/stop making yourself seem dumb/you know you're smart, etc." Apparently, the qualifications for gifted intelligence at my school are merely telling someone how to write a paragraph to answer an essay or help them solve a simple quadratic equation.

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Re: Has anyone ever called you a genius?

Postby Sheikh al-Majaneen » Sat Mar 19, 2011 4:51 am UTC

Yes.

If only they knew...

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Re: Has anyone ever called you a genius?

Postby DavidSpencer » Sat Mar 19, 2011 2:58 pm UTC

TheStrongest wrote:All the time. It's gotten to the point where I have difficulty disclosing an insecurity or doubt with academics or school work without the retort "NO! You're a genius/stop making yourself seem dumb/you know you're smart, etc." Apparently, the qualifications for gifted intelligence at my school are merely telling someone how to write a paragraph to answer an essay or help them solve a simple quadratic equation.


Same here. Many of my classmates find it hard to believe that I know several people who are probably smarter than I am, or that one of my classmates is at least as intelligent as I am ("But he's in precalc and you're in Calc BC!" "He SHOULD be in BC, the school just didn't let him take math as far ahead as he could have." "But still!") If only they could see how little I understand on the math section of this forum! It's OK, though, the only problem is trying to reply to "You're a genius" without sounding cocky.

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Re: Has anyone ever called you a genius?

Postby mmark9094 » Sat Mar 19, 2011 3:04 pm UTC

Yeah, but I've also been called an idiot, so.

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Re: Has anyone ever called you a genius?

Postby scarecrovv » Sat Mar 19, 2011 3:29 pm UTC

Yes, and it irritates me to no end.

DavidSpencer wrote:It's OK, though, the only problem is trying to reply to "You're a genius" without sounding cocky.

The most effective come back to "you're really smart" that I've discovered so far is "for some value of 'smart'."

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Re: Has anyone ever called you a genius?

Postby TheStrongest » Sat Mar 19, 2011 7:20 pm UTC

DavidSpencer wrote:the only problem is trying to reply to "You're a genius" without sounding cocky.


I usually just politely say no, but if I'm feeling snarky, I'll say that I actually do the work and pay attention!

I'm not worried about sounding cocky at all; I actually used to downplay my intelligence because I hated being called "really smart" and wanted to fit in with the average people. In retrospect, that was a really asinine idea.

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Re: Has anyone ever called you a genius?

Postby vodka.cobra » Sat Mar 19, 2011 8:49 pm UTC

Yeah, some people have.
scarecrovv wrote:Yes, and it irritates me to no end.

DavidSpencer wrote:It's OK, though, the only problem is trying to reply to "You're a genius" without sounding cocky.

The most effective come back to "you're really smart" that I've discovered so far is "for some value of 'smart'."

My typical response is, "You have never met a real genius."
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Re: Has anyone ever called you a genius?

Postby DavidSpencer » Sat Mar 19, 2011 10:38 pm UTC

vodka.cobra wrote:My typical response is, "You have never met a real genius."


scarecrovv wrote:Yes, and it irritates me to no end. The most effective come back to "you're really smart" that I've discovered so far is "for some value of 'smart'."


Haha, perfect! One fairly serious reply and one humorous reply, to fit the mood. Thank you both!

TheStrongest wrote:I'm not worried about sounding cocky at all; I actually used to downplay my intelligence because I hated being called "really smart" and wanted to fit in with the average people. In retrospect, that was a really asinine idea.


Agreed. I don't intend to downplay anything, the hope is to avoid something like "You're a genius!" "Well, sort of, I guess." or "You're a genius!" "Not quite, although it may seem that way from your perspective." (accidental insult). I guess I always just used to either laugh and shrug or continue on/change the subject as if I hadn't noticed. I am really not a genius anyway; just like as others in this thread have said, I'm simply good enough at academia to seem one.


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