“Smart” is not something you are. It’s something you do.” (Twitter thread)

Sarah Mei argues that “smart” is actually just shorthand for “being good at a socially-acceptable set of activities that make you ‘smart’”. Some key points:

Of course, there are (and always were) things I wasn’t very good at, that other people were AMAZING at, but the explanation for why I was still smarter than them was usually, “well, you don’t need to be to be smart to do that thing.”

You could argue (and I did, for much of my life) that the situations where I am smart are more important than the situations where I am not, so therefore, I AM STILL SMART.

But as I’ve gotten older and done more therapy, I’ve started to be able to disconnect my ego from BEING SMART. Like….it doesn’t matter anymore. There are things I’m good at, and things I’m not good at, and all of that is ok, and none of it reflects on my worth as a person.

This thread’s been rattling around my head in the days since I read it—I’ve struggled to deal with the label “smart”, and this argument appeals to me. The focus, as it should be, shifts to what you can actually do, as opposed to what a label implies you can or can’t do.

Anyway the point is: be kind to yourself. It’s ok to be bad at some things that are easy for other people. It’s ok to work at those and get better. It’s also ok to avoid and delegate them.

Make sure you have time in your life for the stuff you’re brilliant at.

8:29 am on December 22, 2018