Diana Rants

Are you a genius?

Is your I.Q. off the scale? Did you start programming at the age of 8? Did you take college courses your sophomore year of high school? Have people always applied labels to you like gifted and talented?

Congratulations. You are very lucky. You were born with special abilities, and certain things in life will always come easy to you. Things like math tests, for example.

But guess what? Certain things in life are going to be just as hard for you as they are for everybody else. Things like inter-personal relationships, for example. Things like finding a reason for living.

I'm writing this today because a terrible thing happened this weekend (Memorial Day, 1997). A beautiful young girl -- only 7 years old! -- was murdered in the bathroom of a casino a few miles outside of Las Vegas. Within hours, the police had a suspect: an honor roll student at a Long Beach high school. A popular young man from an affluent neighborhood, who stalked and killed a child just two weeks before his high school graduation.

His friends described him as a "genius". Yet because of his actions, two promising young lives were destroyed. How smart was that?

I know what it is like to be a "bright" child. I scored in the 99th percentile on my SAT tests. Math and science classes came easy for me. But guess what? Life didn't come easy for me. It never does.

My brother Steve was another so-called genius. A child prodigy, a computer wizard, a child who understood complex mathematical concepts grown-ups couldn't fathom.

Two years ago my brother Steve killed himself by jumping off a bridge.

How smart was that?

To me, you are only smart if you can find a reason to live. You must search for, and eventually find, a level of contentment. You must seek happiness, and find it.

You are only smart if you can find a reason not to self destruct.

So if you are a genius, don't just rest on your laurels. Look beyond the praise for accomplishing that which comes easy for you, and put some effort into accomplishing that which comes hard for everybody. Make yourself a better person, and give yourself a good life.

Everybody's path to fulfillment is different, so I can't tell you how to do it, but here is a suggestion. You can start by doing something nice for somebody else.

Find a person who desperately needs some kindness, and then give him some. Whether it is groceries for a shut-in, or just a conversation with a person nobody else ever talks to, find a way to make somebody's life a little better. You will find your life gets a little bit better too.

It's a start. Be good to yourself. Try hard. Good luck.



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