Ask A Genius 356 – On the Nurturance of Talent by Oneself
April 1, 2018
[Beginning of recorded material]
Scott Douglas Jacobsen: You mentioned in prior sessions about coming to grips with the world, as you are very different. What about the youth that are gifted and talented and needing moderately to even highly different than the norm assistance?
Rick Rosner: Alright, so let’s start off with this. When I was a kid, I had to walk five miles through the snow to get to school. It was harder for nerds when I was a young nerd than it is now. Nerds are more a part of our culture.
Half of the world’s billionaires made their billions from computer coding and social media apps. It’s a nerdier world now and Zuckerberg and various other billionaires whose names I forget. They got their hot wives and girlfriends, and make millions.
I know one dickhead that spends a million bucks on his wedding in the forest to some smoking hot girl. So, if you are a nerd billionaire, you don’t have to come to grips with the world; the world must come to grip with you.
However, most gifted and talented are not going to become billionaires. There comes a point. You got to go back into my childhood, which included a bunch of uplifting sleazy movies that fills nerds with the idea that even though the hot girl usually goes out with jocks, one special hot girl will eventually see your kindness, your specialness, your intelligence and will decide to go against pride and be your girlfriend.
That’s horse shit. At some point, you do need to take a hard look at depending on what you want. The 2016 election brought out a lot of Gamergate, angry, nerdy, sexist, racist, controlling, socially isolated – except for saying shitty stuff on social media – guys whose best form of recreation and business is making people upset.
There are a lot of angry guys out there who have given up on social success in terms of getting a girlfriend and their economic success in terms of getting a decent job and decided to troll, not to be stereotyping, but there probably is a little stereotype in play.
So, you can live that, especially now that we live in a paradise of pornography. This thing of not being able to get laid, can be outsourced to the one billion pornographic websites. But, look at yourself and decide; do you want to be the angry anti-social, awkward person for the rest of your life?
If not, how long do you want to be that person? Is there anything you want to do about it? Anything you can do to be less at odds with the world, knowing full well that the world is full of bullshit. I am the oldest sibling in my various families. My parents got divorced; my step parents got remarried, divorced, all that…I’ve had, at various times, four siblings.
Nobody had the same two parents. I was the oldest of all of us. I could have used an older sibling to explain how things work, even though I thought sports were boring and stupid. I was irredeemably terrible at sports.
I would take a shot at doing sports because sports was the ticket to social acceptability, when I was little in junior high and high school. And I’m sure the whole regimen of high school has decayed somewhat, but not completely.
So, it’s not jocks versus nerds as much as it used to be, but it’s still cruel people versus awkward people. You must decide which aspect of yourself you absolutely must hold on to and which aspect of yourself you will try to modify to fit in better.
And when I was a kid in 1976, I suddenly became pulled to lift weights. Now, there is less emphasis on looking like a jock. You need to still be the kid who has channeled his desires to get laid into a lifting weight looking jock to some degree, tattoos around his biceps.
I feel Rambo is no longer a thing, and there are more ways to talk to people without directly talking to them. When I was in my twenties, the way you tried to get laid or at least make out with somebody is to go to a bar or disco dance, buy drinks and try to talk to people over the loudness of the music.
Now, you could, much more reasonably and easily, attempt to meet people via dating sites and other sites instead of getting laid by disco dancing; you get laid by typing.
Jacobsen: What about for the opposite case? What about a woman’s case who is different intellectually from her peers, against the norm?
Rosner: Okay, well, so, the situation is obviously different and the way it’s presented. I’m not a woman, so I can’t tell you directly. I will deal with what is presented is guys not being able to get a girlfriend.
Awkward guys, and then women of all types could meet with semi-awkward types, girlfriends and girls end up looking at boys with terrible guys…So, I mean, women’s problems are generally to find a guy who is not a shit head and protecting yourself from shit heads.
So, that you are still interested in finding other guys, and avoiding having terrible experiences with shitty guys. Again, this is a very exclusive talk because, straight guy talk, straight woman talk, because, of course, the situation: there are equivalent or similar situations for gay people and trans people.
The specific assumption is that in becoming a socially successful or socially fluid person is that you want to find somebody who you can stand being with and for that person to want to be with you. And there are plenty of people for which that doesn’t apply to.
There are temporarily asexual people; people who want to put of that stuff until they have accomplished their life goals. There are people who have had enough relationships to know that it’s not that much of a priority for them, but for a lot of people regardless of gender or orientation, a successful relationship is still the benchmark of being able to get by in society.
It’s what you want out of going into the world and meeting people and every gender and orientation has stereotypic, or statistically felt more frequent, pitfalls. Most of which we are not qualified to talk about now.
Women need – I’m talking out of my ass, but women need armor to negotiate the world of assholes until they can find somebody who is not an asshole. That’s what they want. Guys must negotiate their own awkwardness and rejection until they find somebody who wants to be with them. Gay guys, I don’t know.
If you are a hot gay guy, it’s not that your life is perfect. I’m sure that I am not qualified to talk about it. Relative to other genders and orientations, there’s a plentitude, a relative plentitude, of somewhat less than painful looking up for gay guys, as you say, “on average,” but who knows.
However, even if that’s true, you still must sort out what you want if what you are getting is what you want, but everything boils down to how much effort will it take to negotiate this is society, what are the easiest ways to become adept at negotiating society and how much effort are you willing to spend.
And, the internet is extremely, I think, helpful for giving you a rough outline as to some of the principles to getting by in society, of some pickup artist who is sleazy. At the same time, take a gingerly poke at it online to see if there are any principles that aren’t horribly scummy tools that can help you be less awkward when talking to the people that you want to make connections with: principle number one, become a person who merits the attention of other people.
To become an interesting, to become a good, person; not to become a peace corps worker or anything but to become your own best self. In high school, I was mostly terrible with girls and was resentful of that situation.
But looking back, I was a mess. It took a few years of messing with myself to become somebody who, maybe, merited the attention of people whose attention I wanted. Another principle is to learn how to go up to people and talk to people and if they reject you in one way or another, or if they don’t heartedly embrace you as their friend, to be able to walk away from that and still put yourself in social situations.
There are a bunch of principles like this which, you can also look at your circle of friends, if there are friends of yours who seem to fall into relationships easily, look at what they are doing. You don’t want to project desperation and neediness; people who are successful at meeting people, hanging out with them is a fun casual thing.
I know people who very quickly become very serious, glom on to somebody and that scares people away, but if you are somebody who seems to be fun to hang out with, then people will hang out with you.
And you don’t need to let people know how desperate you are to make connections. And, which leads to another thing; don’t be desperate to make connection. Find interest out in the world besides trying to fit in, that’s something more troubling now than desperation in the 70s, where the world is a more interesting place.
I keep saying that the 70s sucked relative to now, but that’s because that there is a lot of stuff to be interesting. Go out and pursue your interest, you may meet people via that. I mean, in the 70s, I went to a couple comic book/science fiction conventions, hoping to meet someone.
One of the five conventions, they were 92-95% guys; I was hoping to meet that somebody that belonged to the 5% of attendees who are female and then make some connection. And now, I don’t go to Comic Con. I’ve never been, but I assume it’s probably much less of a sausage fest if you go there.
You can see everything you are interested in and find other people who share the same interest. Also, my desperate in the 70s. My desperate friends and I did not know how to meet girls and did not even know if we would ever have a girlfriend.
The internet is a source of, “it gets better,” not for gay teens, but for any teens who are trying to get out into the world. It’s not a perfect source of information, but it’s a huge source information and you can go on it to yourself a reasonable view of the adult world you are moving into and your possible place in it.
And, there are more mentoring situations available. There were zero mentoring contexts when I was a kid. There are paid mentoring deals where you can find an organization including Johns Hopkins that has the institute for gifted youths or whatever they call it.
There is an institute for educational advancement; there are a bunch of organizations that are dedicated to gifted kids getting the resources that they need and, you know, most of the resources are to help kids succeed academically and professionally.
But the same people who can help you…who can mentor you academically and professionally, probably went through the same gifted kid traumas and situations that you are going through and they can help you, you know, negotiate in a non-academic, non-professional…they give you advice about not their field but about being gift in the world.
Jacobsen: There is always more, but we’ll stop there.
[End of recorded material]
American Television Writer
Scott Douglas Jacobsen
Editor-in-Chief, In-Sight Publishing
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