oh you're just the smartest bestest cleverest kid in the whole world
Roy Baumeister, the psychologist who has won me over for a bunch of stuff (even if I disagree with a fair amount of the conservative implications of his psychology and the fallacies he encourages when he talks about evolution), argues that bullies have high self esteems (when pop culture tells us bullies have low self esteem that they're addressing by being a bully) but that their self esteem is fragile and they're very sensitive to the behavior of other people and take it as an attack on their self esteem.

So. . .maybe it's not the problem of having an emphasis on self esteem, but having such a strong emphasis on having it that there's no foundation for it. They're so much focus on building up but not basing it on reality or accomplishments. So the person who coasts through high school and has a high self esteem but they're risk averse, maybe their self esteem is fragile. They don't want to risk having their self esteem proven groundless.
--The_Lex Fri Nov 30 14:57:58 2007
funny take on the bully thing:

yeah, the instinct of protection of insanely overinflated egos is a HUUUGE problem
--Kirk Fri Nov 30 16:59:52 2007
So, are you saying that you have an overinflated ego?
--The_Lex Fri Nov 30 17:50:02 2007
BTW, the open letter link doesn't work.
--The_Lex Fri Nov 30 17:51:30 2007
The link works for me! Weird... try cutting and pasting. (Or I have to hold shift when I click it otherwise it opens up in another tab in the message window ...

Intellectually, I am humble and am sharply and increasingly aware of my limits. At a subconscious level, though, I probably suspect I'm the smartest boy-king of the universe, and this ego thing demands protection in the form of avoiding humbling- and limit-pointing-out tasks.
--Kirk Sat Dec 1 07:56:20 2007
Got the link to work. It just didn't work at work. . .
--The_Lex Sun Dec 2 21:45:57 2007
Hmm.. that might be one more piece of the puzzle for my late younger brother. Many of his problems started when he went to university and started to be seriously challenged.

I even see that same behaviour in my son.

Although I am/was gifted and cruised through school, I don't think I have that problem to the same extent. (Yeah, I do avoid some challenges, but not because it's a threat to my ego. I'm just lazy.)

University is often where gifted students really meet their first peers. They go from being the big fish in a small pond, to being just one of many similar sized fish in a much bigger pond.

I remember two university acceptance letters. One started "Because of your high marks . . ." and the other "Although your marks are low . . .". Maybe it says something that I chose the latter.
--ericball Tue Dec 4 11:56:54 2007
I think smart kids -> adults are likely to be very good at counting the cost of things, and going for high reward/effort ratios.

The other thing is there a little too good at seeing all the ways things can go wrong, and sometimes that leads to a lack of ambition.
--Kirk Tue Dec 4 12:45:52 2007
College was certainly where things got difficult for me. I didn't necessarily feel competition from my peers, though. On one occasion, some fellow students even got on my case for being too studious, according to their opinion. I guess that could be their way of competing, by trying to put me in "my place," but it certainly created a roundabout big/small fish/pond issue on a social level.

Academically, it was pretty stereotypical, though. Did fine in high school but things actually got challenging in college. . ..
--The_Lex Tue Dec 4 15:26:17 2007
You make it sound like smart people are all smart in the same way, Kirk, which is a lazy and/or efficient, risk-averse smart. For some reason, that strikes me as a cunning person rather than a smart person, if that makes sense.
--The_Lex Tue Dec 4 16:13:32 2007
Well, I probably was painting every smart person with the kirk brush, but I wouldn't call myself particularly cunning.
--Kirk Wed Dec 5 10:34:57 2007

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