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Coming to terms

  1. Oct 5, 2009 #1
    As a young future mathematician (senior in high school) I'm having trouble coming to terms with the fact that I'm not going to be the smartest kid even though I pursue math outside of class from pure interest and nothing better to do. I know its only going to get worse when I move to a university. I know I'm not the only one that feels this way or has in the past. Any advice? I really like this quote, "success is not how far you get, but the distance you've traveled from where you started".
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  3. Oct 5, 2009 #2


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    Why do you have to be the smartest kid?
  4. Oct 5, 2009 #3
    Because I want to be the best at what I do. I mean doesn't everyone have this desire to some extent? It allows us to improve ourselves.
    Last edited: Oct 5, 2009
  5. Oct 5, 2009 #4
    instead of being the best, just be your best. there's no sense in not running because you'll never be as fast as a cheetah.

    and if you already have found a reassuring quote, what exactly are you looking for? someone to give you hope that you will be the best if you just hang in there? you probably won't be the best at anything, but you'll be successful in most things you set out to do.
  6. Oct 5, 2009 #5
    The main question is, will you still like maths even if you weren't the best in class? If yes, then this shouldn't really be a problem. If no, then you are choosing the wrong major.

    Also you can't really do anything about it till you start college, and then the best way is to befriend others who are similar to you and start studying with them. Then you should realize how lucky you are who can get like minded people as friends, if you were the smartest you wouldn't have anyone.
  7. Oct 6, 2009 #6
    I've had, and am still having, similar thoughts.

    I guess the force that still keeps me going is the thought that you don't have to be smartest to make a difference. That is, I'm still being troubled by the fact that I'm not the smartest or even close. But then again, not many people are remembered because they were so smart. Most of the smart people are remembered because the did something important. And doing something important is not reserved solely for geniuses.

    Of course intelligence helps, but me thinks it requires a lot more than that.

    So essentially it's not about how smart you are, it's about what you do with what you've given. Smartness dies with the person, his work (hopefully) doesn't.

    Basically just a different version of your quote "success is not how far you get, but the distance you've traveled from where you started".
  8. Oct 6, 2009 #7
    Thanks atwood I know what you mean.
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