People often assume that those with genius level IQs are professional chess players or business tycoons, but data collected from high IQ societies says that this isn’t necessarily true.
While IQ alone isn’t considered a completely comprehensive measure of intelligence, it’s the best and simplest way of measuring cognitive processes, and VICE recently caught up with a few high-IQ individuals in order to knock down the stereotypes that they’re all making millions of dollars pondering the creation of the universe.
Varun, a 35 year old chemistry graduate who worked as a grocer for years says that geniuses are everywhere. He believes that being able to afford an education, mingling with the right crowd, self-perception and where you grew up play as much of a role in how your life will go as IQ does. Not everyone is given the same opportunities and not every underdog can fight their way to the top.
One female member of the exclusive Triple Nine Society (people in the 99.9% percentile of intelligence) said that the stereotype of high achieving geniuses comes from high profile geniuses like Stephen hawking or Bill Gates – you’ll never see a cleaner famous for their intelligence, because nobody would be interested in reading it. People want to understand why people are so successful, and IQ is an easy one-size explanation.
Most of the people interviewed by VICE were working every-day jobs, not ‘smart jobs’. Marie Hough, a Mensa member and an ex-flight attendant says that a high IQ won’t necessarily make you succeed and you can be successful without a high IQ.
Many of these geniuses hide their Mensa membership. Martin, 43 has been a lifelong member of Mensa and keeps his membership quiet from his co-workers. He has an almost photographic memory that he uses to remember allocation numbers and orders, but lets people think he just has a good memory and good work-ethic.
Mensa member Henry is in his 50s and discovered his high IQ while serving a prison sentence for assisted murder charges and says that this shows that intelligence and wisdom are not the same thing. He says that a high IQ can give way to conformity issues, making it easier to see the cracks in the way society is run and to lose interest in being a functional part of it.
Different people are drawn to different jobs regardless of IQ – whether they get to interact with people, entry level pay, how well it fits around family life are all factors. Many brush off the idea of doing a different job that correlates more with their IQ.
Asked whether or not in an ideal world they’d rather be doing something else that directly correlated to their unique skills, or ever wondered about wasted potential, most brushed off the idea. Job satisfaction and happiness are far more important.