Sooner or later it happens. You find yourself hopelessly outmatched by that uber-talented/energetic/bright soul who effortlessly connects the dots. I can relate. Working with the IdeaFestival, feeling inadequate is an occupational hazard - that's why I liked the advice recently handed out by Ben Casnocha on his blog, pointing out a letter from a high school senior applying to MIT who was discouraged by the sheer brainpower at that institution. A comment on Reddit, where those misgivings were expressed, tells the student that what he's approaching, irrespective of intelligence, is a decision about feeling inadequate. In other words, buck up.
Casnocha says it's not enough to simply resolve to do better. Much more important - and a lesson, I might add, that I've learned much later in life - is to think honestly about what makes each of us unique. There are many, many kinds of intelligences. For some, logic and reason are predominate. Others can think visually and spatially. Others have an effortless emotional intelligence, and can pick out the tiniest social cues and respond with the right words. They're invaluable friends. "No one," as Casnocha, " is smarter than you in every possible way."