Does it ever depress you that you're not the best?

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the goal in life should be to be a happy.

if not being the best makes you sad, and you will never be the best, then such thought is only a source of unhappiness, therefor should be erased...

enjoying a process on the other hand is not dependent on others. if your time is spent on doing something you enjoy, there is a long term source of amusement.

human beings only bring me headaches... i prefer enjoying things which does not involve people...
 
Many important scientists were not "child prodigies" or abnormally genius. Darwin comes to mind, it seems to me like his biggest asset was that he was hopelessly curious :smile: . I'm sure you can figure out more revolutionary scientists and philosophers who were not child prodigies, biographies usually bore me so I don't know much about anyone.

on the other hand, if you want to get even more depressed: wikipedia "List of child prodigies" ... kids publishing papers at the age of 9! translating Latin literature at 5! O my! :surprised
 
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Thanks for the posts everyone. I think you are right in that i should stop thinking about what other people think. You can always get better! I think that's quite cool.
 
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Many important scientists were not "child prodigies" or abnormally genius. Darwin comes to mind, it seems to me like his biggest asset was that he was hopelessly curious :smile: . I'm sure you can figure out more revolutionary scientists and philosophers who were not child prodigies, biographies usually bore me so I don't know much about anyone.
newton & einstein are the most obvious imo. hilbert comes to mind as well. iirc hilbert's mom did his schoolwork for him (except math) until he got to university.

on the other hand, if you want to get even more depressed: wikipedia "List of child prodigies" ... kids publishing papers at the age of 9! translating Latin literature at 5! O my! :surprised
others not on the list: lagrange was a lecturer at his university when he was 15 or something, paul erdos apparently discovered negative numbers at a very young age & was a calculating prodigy (unusual that he also became a great mathematician)

i think if you consider the contributions of the two most conspicuous non-prodigies (newton & einstein) it's easy to see that it doesn't really matter if someone's a prodigy or not. newton's success probably had more to do with being an insomniac & whiling the hours away studying.
 
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on the other hand, if you want to get even more depressed: wikipedia "List of child prodigies" ... kids publishing papers at the age of 9! translating Latin literature at 5! O my! :surprised
9! = 362 880.
5! = 120.

Sorry. :tongue:
 
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There are millions of better mathematicians than me but at least not all of them are geniuses (hopefully). Obviously the right attitude is to work hard to get to the level you want to, but it's still very depressing knowing you'll never be the best, or even close to it.
people are still better than me, thatz a motivation for me to work still harder, now stop complaining and get back to work.
see you ll be the best in no time if you keep on working harder
 
newton & einstein are the most obvious imo.
I'm pretty sure Einstein was gifted from childhood. People like to spread the "Einstein did bad in school and didn't speak until he was five" rumor around because it makes a neat story, but it's my understanding that he was always gifted in math; the school subjects he didn't do good* on were not math related.

* or is it "well"? ... grammar police!
 

Mk

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If I were the best at something, then it'd mean I have nothing left to learn (or at least nothing left for anyone else to teach me). Since I love learning, it'd be a sad day to find out there's nothing left to learn.
Uh, what? If we assumed somebody was the best who ever lived, in physics, would we say that there was nothing more to learn? Einstein couldn't have learned anything more about the universe?
 
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Astronuc

Staff Emeritus
Science Advisor
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Does it ever depress you that you're not the "best?"
No. I'm satisfied to adequate. :biggrin: I've never worried about being better than someone else, or being the 'best' - it just doesn't matter. I do my best and that's good enough for me.
 
9! = 362 880.
5! = 120.

Sorry. :tongue:
:rofl:

The first time I saw "!" used, I kept thinking "those parts of the equation must be really important that they need to put exclamation marks!"
 
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no! It angers me.

Grrrrrrr...
 
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I'm pretty sure Einstein was gifted from childhood. People like to spread the "Einstein did bad in school and didn't speak until he was five" rumor around because it makes a neat story, but it's my understanding that he was always gifted in math; the school subjects he didn't do good* on were not math related.

* or is it "well"? ... grammar police!
i've never heard that he was gifted in math, at best he was good in math & average in everything else. that's what i've always read. he definitely couldn't have been a professor when he was a teenager, or have mastered a language for every year he'd been alive by the time he was 12.
 
i've never heard that he was gifted in math, at best he was good in math & average in everything else. that's what i've always read.
yea that's true, I guess he wasn't exactly a child prodigy; just intelligent and interested.
 
It's like, what can I do in maths that this guy can't? What research could I possibly do and do well that he hasn't thought of?
Some have said that the best research occurs between fields. Remember, genomics started in chemistry, but now it is it's own distinct field. Another example is bioinformatics. There are many fields of science that have yet to emerge.

Of course this is just one person. There are millions of better mathematicians than me but at least not all of them are geniuses (hopefully). Obviously the right attitude is to work hard to get to the level you want to, but it's still very depressing knowing you'll never be the best, or even close to it.
I can say from experience that some of these people are really awful at chess.
 
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I suck, you suck;
I'm stupid, and you are stupid.

Meh, at least I don't have to live up to the expectation of being smart.

Life goes on.
 

-Job-

Science Advisor
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There's a number of unsolved problems in Mathematics which Tao hasn't solved (can't solve?). There's your chance. :)
 
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i blame my environment and my parents for the things i have yet to acheive or failed to have. Thats what makes me depressed...not that someone is smarter or better...but they were nourished more in that aspect of their life in someway.
 

mathwonk

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this is going downhill fast, and it didn't start very far uphill.
 
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i blame my environment and my parents for the things i have yet to acheive or failed to have. Thats what makes me depressed...not that someone is smarter or better...but they were nourished more in that aspect of their life in someway.
wow talk about being narcissistic
 

bfr

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Although this is slightly off-topic:

Being really good at mathematics doesn't necessarily mean that somebody is smart (and by smart, I mostly been having a high IQ and being able to figure out complicated problems). It can mean that they spent a lot of time practicing, and memorizing how to solve certain problems and lots of formulas.
 
I personally have no reliable way to gage intelligence. All methods fail under certain circumstances. I suppose some people do come across as a bit slow, but on the other hand I was in a barber shop and the barber was telling me things I didn't know.
 
Don't get me wrong, it's not about being the best, I'm not arrogant at all, but if you want something you want to be the best at it.
I want to be the best I can be. At the moment I'm trying to do my own thing. If I succeed in doing this, I will be the best (or at least pretty good) by virtue of the fact that I'm doing my own thing.
 

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