“I Can, is 100 times more important than iQ”
I found this quote on Linkedin by Anthony J James and it reminded me of the sad story William J. Sidis who had an IQ of 260 i.e. 100 points more than Albert Einstein!
William James was born in 1898 in the city of New York. His father- Boris Sidis was an exemplary psychologist. His father earned four degrees from Harvard. William’s mother was also an MD.
He was a child of genius parents therefore, it was natural to expect, William to be brilliant. Perhaps, his intelligence proved to be far more than ordinary.
James was able to read “The New York Times”, at the age of just 18 months. By age 8, he magnificently learned Latin, Greek, French, Russian, German, Hebrew, Turkish, and Armenian. He also invented his own and called it “Vendergood.”.
His father Boris, struggled to enroll him at Harvard University knowing very well about his intelligence. While Harvard refused William at the age of 9 at that time, soon after 2 years, they accepted him. And this is how William became the youngest person to be admitted to Harvard in 1909.
By 1910, his knowledge of mathematics peaked so much that he started lecturing his professors instead, earning him the title of “child prodigy.” He completed his bachelor of arts degree at the age of 16.
But he decided to live a secluded life.
Soon after completing graduation, William told reporters that he wished to live the “perfect” life. He also added that he intended to never get married since he never gets attracted towards women. In addition to undesired fame, his decision also reflected the pressure that he faced since birth.
Being a gifted psychologist, William’s father desperately wants his son to shine as bright as a star. Attempting to achieve that, he applied his own approaches to raise his son and pushed him. While growing like this, his opinion changed as an adult and he starting blaming his own father for it. When his father passed away in 1923, William refused to attend his funeral.
Fame can be tiring, especially if you’re exposed to it at a young age. Williams never liked it and chose to work as a low paying clerical job. Though fame was after him, leaving him no choice but to switch his job again. In 1924, reporters came to know about his $23-a-week job which made headlines again. And he was criticized a lot for not being as intelligent as before.
Soon he walked up into his life leaving the past behind, he wrote multiple valuable books using different pseudonyms.
He was a socialist and an objector of World War I. He was, in fact, arrested in 1919 for a protest which turned violent in Boston where he was sentenced to prison for 18 months. However, his parents locked him up in their sanatorium for 2 years to save him from getting jailed.
William was all alone and was spending his life broken. Estranged from his family, he worked as a machine runner to make his ends meet. Gaining to age 46, he suffered from a cerebral hemorrhage in 1944 and died, unfortunately. Interestingly, his father died of the same condition.
It doesn’t matter if you are the smartest person. Your life choices will determine how you fare in this world. You decide your limits.