Role Models to Stop Being a High IQ Loser: Terrence Tao

There are discussion about how genius may be tied to madness. And that somehow, by having a high capacity for intellectual thought, you are doomed to being insane.


I personally see “madness” in a high IQ individual as a failure of the executive function, aka “real life” skills. (See article here)

Or perhaps a simple case of bad hygiene. You never learned that a sleep schedule must be consciously maintained, and that you must put time and money into preparing healthy meals. And that while you can get away with a garbage dump lifestyle as a college student, you will be sick if you continue it after 25.

Will you get cancer right away? Will you die? No, of course not. But you will feel irritable, and unhappy, and unmotivated, and tired all the time.

High IQ –> crazy is a stupid, romantic myth.

I arrived at this conclusion by reading Terrence Tao’s blog.

He is a mathematician, possibly the best one alive, who may as well be the most intelligent human being on earth. I don’t care so much for absolute ranking — he is substantially more intelligent than I am, and that is good enough for this discussion.

Because go check out his blog.

He writes like this.

Does one have to be a genius to do mathematics?

The answer is an emphatic NO. In order to make good and useful contributions to mathematics, one does need to work hardlearn one’s field well, learn other fields and toolsask questionstalk to other mathematicians, and think about the “big picture”. And yes, a reasonable amount of intelligence, patience, and maturity is also required. But one does not need some sort of magic “genius gene” that spontaneously generates ex nihilo deep insights, unexpected solutions to problems, or other supernatural abilities.


Does this look like the ramblings of some crazy person?

Relying on intelligence alone to pull things off at the last minute may work for a while, but, generally speaking, at the graduate level or higher it doesn’t.

One needs to do a serious amount of reading and writing, and not just thinking, in order to get anywhere serious in mathematics; contrary to public opinion, mathematical breakthroughs are not powered solely (or even primarily) by “Eureka” moments of genius, but are in fact largely a product of hard work, directed of course by experience and intuition.


If anything, he is LUCID AS FUCK.

There isn’t a milligram of woo in his writing.

He is even more down to earth than my grandpa who fought in WW2.

You can go check out his other advice articles here — they are sobering (and inspiring) af: here

So if you ever feel you must be some kind of genius because you get lost in thoughts and daydreaming, think again. Maybe your thinking is unclear and that is why you’re lost.

If you feel that being brilliant equals being unproductive and solitary, think again. This person co-writes a new paper every month.

Maybe you’re born with it.

Maybe you’re ignorant.