Scouring the Internet in 2015 I found an interesting story about a 12 year-old genius written by Rachel Bertsche on Yahoo Parenting.
In a MENSA IQ test she got the perfect score - 162. That’s higher than Stephen Hawking, and Albert Einstein.
The lady in question, Nicole Barr, beat her father hands down during the test - they wrote it together.“In the last section, at the four-minute warning, I quickly glanced up to see if Nicole was feeling the pressure, and she already had put her pen down. There were questions I didn’t finish at all,” he said ruefully.
Jim Barr appears to have done this for all the right reasons, “she’s always liked to solve problems,” and “she likes to challenge herself.”
He also states that her interests are not all academic, as she like to play soccer, act in plays and sings, even to herself.
Sounds like a well-balanced,extremely clever young lady in a well balanced family, all the ingredients for a life of success. If we took away the high IQ, and gave her a score of around 130 which is still very high, would she still be successful? More than likely.
If we took away the doting father and loving family and left the IQ score, what would her chances of success be? Not very high actually, which is sad. The reality is that it’s extremely difficult to be different in childhood, and to a lesser extent in our adult years.
Jim Barr said that Nicole performs several years ahead of her peer group. At the biological age of 12, Nicole would be able to comfortably hold her own intellectually with children of 15 and 16. There is however, a massive emotional chasm between 12 and 15 year olds. This would apply physiologically too, but to a slightly lesser extent.
The environment in which one grows up, and later on lives is also critical to success. Let’s look at the story of Chris Langan. His IQ is reported to be between 190 and 210.He grew up in impoverished circumstances in Montana, was tormented and beaten by his peers during his school years.He was also persecuted and assaulted by his his step father who couldn’t bear the fact that the youngster was cleverer than he was.
He skipped years ahead of his peer group as he was simply too clever for them. He later went to Reed College and then Montana State University. He dropped out when he realised he could probably teach his professors more than they could reciprocate. Despite his huge potential, he faced constant and severe financial problems.
He spent many years doing labour intensive work in the construction industry.He also spent 20 years as a bouncer in Long Island.
According to Wikipedia, “Langan was also approached and contracted by Disney Research and he previously worked for Virtual Logistix, a technology company. According to company records, Langan "produced original research in various fields of mathematics, including graph theory, algebra, advanced logic and model theory, abstract computation theory and the theory of computational intractability, artificial intelligence, physics and cosmology". Langan said he developed a "double-life strategy": on one side a regular guy, doing his job and exchanging pleasantries, and on the other side coming home to perform equations in his head, working in isolation on his Cognitive-Theoretic Model of the Universe”
Who knows where Chris Langan would have ended up if he had the advantages that others like Nicole Barr enjoy.
One way to put the role of IQ in achieving success into perspective is to look at some of the members of MENSA, called “Mensans.” There are some pretty ordinary looking jobs amongst them, and by that I mean comparing to those mysterious careers we used to call “rocket scientists.” Most people would expect members of MENSA to be Nobel laureates, or creators of revolutionary new medicines, or inventions that benefit all of mankind.
Listed amongst the careers on Wikipedia Mensans are a cartoonist, a porn star, a boxer, actors, musicians, authors, racing drivers, a professional wrestler, comedian, a Playboy playmate, and an agony aunt amongst the “rocket scientists.”
I do not wish to denigrate those careers, but they are hardly “life-shattering” jobs that benefit mankind, or change the world forever, like the late Steve Jobs of Apple fame.
I guess this definition from Robert Sternberg sums up the role of IQ in success neatly; human intelligence is "your skill in achieving whatever it is you want to attain in your life within your sociocultural context by capitalizing on your strengths and compensating for, or correcting, your weaknesses".
Nuff said - it doesn’t matter how clever you are, it’s not going to change what you do, but it will change how you do it.
Links in This story
Chris Langan: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christopher_Langan
Nicole and Jim Barr: https://www.yahoo.com/parenting/meet-the-12-year-old-with-a-higher-iq-than-stephen-125857793082.html
Rachel Bertsche: https://www.yahoo.com/parenting/author/rachel-bertsche
List of Mensans: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Mensans