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5 Struggles Only Highly Intelligent People Suffer From

5 Struggles Only Highly Intelligent People Suffer From

Highly intelligent people might seem to have it better through life, but this isn’t always the case. There are several difficulties and challenges only they will experience. Due to how they are raised and develop, they can also feel isolated.

Here are the top five struggles only highly intelligent people suffer from.

They Are Under More Pressure To Succeed

When someone’s intelligent, they tend to feel superior to other people. They can see and understand things that people around them can’t perceive. They become starkly aware of the direction their lives are headed and feel that it should head in a different direction than everyone else. These things include having a better career, more money and better relationships.

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If anything they do doesn’t contribute to being more successful, they feel like they are doing themselves a disservice. The pressure they put on themselves grows. If their life doesn’t take the path they think it deserves, they criticize and attack themselves.

They Find It Harder To Make Friends

Intelligent people seek other intelligent people to befriend. When intelligent people meet someone new, they ask clever, seemingly innocent questions that help them identify whether the person is someone worthy of their friendship. Even if a potential friend has much to offer or similar interests, an intelligent person may be quick to blow him or her off if the person doesn’t display a level of insight into the world that matches theirs.

This means intelligent people tend to be lonely. They become used to being alone and find solace in their work. While this means they dedicate more time to making breakthroughs in their field, they are at risk of developing depression.

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They Suffer Paralysis By Analysis

Intelligent people like to be aware of all the pros and cons before making a decision. Knowing these can often stop them from making a decision altogether. That’s because they over-analyze and let potential “what if” scenarios get the better of them. This may also be because many intelligent people are perfectionists and just want to make sure they get the best possible result.

If they are leading a team or organization, this combines for potentially disastrous effects. Imagine: you’re responsible for making the final call on the direction your company is going to take, but you can’t decide on what the core values should be.

This can be frustrating and crippling.

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They Are Trapped By Their Intelligence

There are several instances of intelligent people feeling helplessly trapped by their intelligence. For example, intelligent people don’t typically have trouble understanding anything. If they attempt to teach someone and the person doesn’t understand, they can’t proceed. They find it difficult to empathize and lack desire to help others understand.

Additionally, others may resent intelligent people. Anything the intelligent person says sounds pretentious, when really, they’re just stating the facts. This make socializing unnecessarily hard.

They Find It Harder To Be Happy

Intelligent people feel cursed by their intelligence. They often think about the saying, “ignorance is bliss” and wonder if it would be better if they simply weren’t so smart. But by pretending to not be so intelligent, they feel like they’re not being true to themselves. All the overthinking they do on a daily basis can lead to anxiety in social situations.

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Happiness comes from accepting the universe exactly as it is, but when you can’t help but over-analyze the world around you, it’s almost impossible to simply let yourself be absorbed by the imperfect beauty of what’s around you.

What did you think of these five points? Have you experienced them? Do you have any advice for people looking to overcome these struggles? Share this list with your friends and see what they have to say!

Featured photo credit: Cubmungo via flickr.com

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The Productivity Paradox: What Is It And How Can We Move Beyond It?

The Productivity Paradox: What Is It And How Can We Move Beyond It?

It’s a depressing adage we’ve all heard time and time again: An increase in technology does not necessarily translate to an increase in productivity.

Put another way by Robert Solow, a Nobel laureate in economics,

“You can see the computer age everywhere but in the productivity statistics.”

In other words, just because our computers are getting faster, that doesn’t mean that that we will have an equivalent leap in productivity. In fact, the opposite may be true!

New York Times writer Matt Richel wrote in an article for the paper back in 2008 that stated, “Statistical and anecdotal evidence mounts that the same technology tools that have led to improvements in productivity can be counterproductive if overused.”

There’s a strange paradox when it comes to productivity. Rather than an exponential curve, our productivity will eventually reach a plateau, even with advances in technology.

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So what does that mean for our personal levels of productivity? And what does this mean for our economy as a whole? Here’s what you should know about the productivity paradox, its causes, and what possible solutions we may have to combat it.

What is the productivity paradox?

There is a discrepancy between the investment in IT growth and the national level of productivity and productive output. The term “productivity paradox” became popularized after being used in the title of a 1993 paper by MIT’s Erik Brynjolfsson, a Professor of Management at the MIT Sloan School of Management, and the Director of the MIT Center for Digital Business.

In his paper, Brynjolfsson argued that while there doesn’t seem to be a direct, measurable correlation between improvements in IT and improvements in output, this might be more of a reflection on how productive output is measured and tracked.[1]

He wrote in his conclusion:

“Intangibles such as better responsiveness to customers and increased coordination with suppliers do not always increase the amount or even intrinsic quality of output, but they do help make sure it arrives at the right time, at the right place, with the right attributes for each customer.

Just as managers look beyond “productivity” for some of the benefits of IT, so must researchers be prepared to look beyond conventional productivity measurement techniques.”

How do we measure productivity anyway?

And this brings up a good point. How exactly is productivity measured?

In the case of the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, productivity gain is measured as the percentage change in gross domestic product per hour of labor.

But other publications such as US Today, argue that this is not the best way to track productivity, and instead use something called Total Factor Productivity (TFP). According to US Today, TFP “examines revenue per employee after subtracting productivity improvements that result from increases in capital assets, under the assumption that an investment in modern plants, equipment and technology automatically improves productivity.”[2]

In other words, this method weighs productivity changes by how much improvement there is since the last time productivity stats were gathered.

But if we can’t even agree on the best way to track productivity, then how can we know for certain if we’ve entered the productivity paradox?

Possible causes of the productivity paradox

Brynjolfsson argued that there are four probable causes for the paradox:

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  • Mis-measurement – The gains are real but our current measures miss them.
  • Redistribution – There are private gains, but they come at the expense of other firms and individuals, leaving little net gain.
  • Time lags – The gains take a long time to show up.
  • Mismanagement – There are no gains because of the unusual difficulties in managing IT or information itself.

There seems to be some evidence to support the mis-measurement theory as shown above. Another promising candidate is the time lag, which is supported by the work of Paul David, an economist at Oxford University.

According to an article in The Economist, his research has shown that productivity growth did not accelerate until 40 years after the introduction of electric power in the early 1880s.[3] This was partly because it took until 1920 for at least half of American industrial machinery to be powered by electricity.”

Therefore, he argues, we won’t see major leaps in productivity until both the US and major global powers have all reached at least a 50% penetration rate for computer use. The US only hit that mark a decade ago, and many other countries are far behind that level of growth.

The paradox and the recession

The productivity paradox has another effect on the recession economy. According to Neil Irwin,[4]

“Sky-high productivity has meant that business output has barely declined, making it less necessary to hire back laid-off workers…businesses are producing only 3 percent fewer goods and services than they were at the end of 2007, yet Americans are working nearly 10 percent fewer hours because of a mix of layoffs and cutbacks in the workweek.”

This means that more and more companies are trying to do less with more, and that means squeezing two or three people’s worth of work from a single employee in some cases.

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According to Irwin, “workers, frightened for their job security, squeezed more productivity out of every hour [in 2010].”

Looking forward

A recent article on Slate puts it all into perspective with one succinct observation:

“Perhaps the Internet is just not as revolutionary as we think it is. Sure, people might derive endless pleasure from it—its tendency to improve people’s quality of life is undeniable. And sure, it might have revolutionized how we find, buy, and sell goods and services. But that still does not necessarily mean it is as transformative of an economy as, say, railroads were.”

Still, Brynjolfsson argues that mismeasurement of productivity can really skew the results of people studying the paradox, perhaps more than any other factor.

“Because you and I stopped buying CDs, the music industry has shrunk, according to revenues and GDP. But we’re not listening to less music. There’s more music consumed than before.

On paper, the way GDP is calculated, the music industry is disappearing, but in reality it’s not disappearing. It is disappearing in revenue. It is not disappearing in terms of what you should care about, which is music.”

Perhaps the paradox isn’t a death sentence for our productivity after all. Only time (and perhaps improved measuring techniques) will tell.

Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

Reference

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