I had a moment of enlightenment when I was mentoring at my old Alma mater in Cambridge a couple of weeks ago. I realised I am a geek. Keep reading-This is an unusually self promoting, self interested post from me….. Keep reading..
I’m not a technical geek but a mind geek……”How do you know?” I hear you ask and “Where’s your evidence smart butt?”
Well, truth is, I make sense of information and ideas really fast. (I apparently have an unusually high verbal reasoning ability). I think and process ideas and thoughts so quickly sometimes I forget I even had the thought at all. My head often sorts things like Harry Potter’s sorting hat with a turbo engine.I literally sort information through a filter that says “useful-keep it, not useful-get rid of it”. I do this in a nanosecond sometimes. When I am working with teams, I will distill something and reflect it back so fast sometimes that they think I have had access to some internal document beforehand when I haven’t. ( I like to keep them on their toes otherwise what’s the point of being there?)
My entry GMAT ( the reasoning tests you take for the MBA) score for verbal reasoning was off scale apparentl. Particularly for someone who had never seen a practice paper or been to the 6-week course on passing the exam.( How and why on earth do thousands of people do that? You either can do reasoning or you can’t-right? I know you can improve your score on a psychometric, but honestly- why? If you have to cram for an exam then life will be difficult on the masters will it not?)
Don’t ask about my numerical reasoning- it doesn’t add up for someone who studied at Cambridge University. Great at mental maths but ask me to reason with mathematical formulae or mathematical sequence and you might as well be speaking Ancient Greek to this Geek.
I don’t know about you, but I love being around people with disproportionately genius brains . I love the energy, the ideas, the passion and the sometimes the ridiculousness of the thoughts and beliefs that come out of the head of a logical brain box. I like coaching geeks for that reason too. I’ve seen more than one techno geek look at me like I am Medusa and make a sort of scooby doo sound when they think beyond their logical heads and discover their beliefs of limitation about themselves. Rather like Edison discovering he could actually make a light bulb and it would in fact, glow in the dark.
I once coached a 28 year old guy who had had just one girlfriend and lacked confidence because he was geeky and believed all geeks were ugly. He looked like Matt Damon. Who knew? He didn’t ! He didn’t even know who Matt Damon was! He had spent most of his adult life in a library or a lab and felt women didn’t like him because more often than not the girls looked away when he looked at them. Doh! Girls all around the LSE must have been hanging out waiting for him to notice them and blushing in corners. I’m pleased to report he is happily ensconced with a woman who is a delightful geek too.They have even produced a little geekette.
I really enjoy listening to people who talk about things I know nothing about.I enjoy asking really obvious questions that get them thinking about how to explain their ideas in words that the average mortal like me can understand. (Black holes, Astrophysics, quantum theory, volcano logy, semiconductors, chips, cell lines and the like). I like geek talk.
In embracing my inner geek, I did what any right thinking, woo woo geek would do, checked the definitions. I fit most of the definitions for Geek such as..
A person obsessed with intellectual pursuits for their own sake. I am. I can get obsessed by an idea, a piece of art or a book. I will debate an idea with someone for no reason at all except to have the discussion and really enjoy it if the discussion interests me enough. Intellectual tennis without purpose-yes I understand that.
A person who is interested in technology (IT and new media). I am. Even if I don’t understand it, I want to keep up with understanding what technology can do and what lies ahead of us.I mentor a group of tech geeks every year for a week at Cambridge, in part so that I can keep up with what might emerge in the world in 1-5 years time.
A person who relates academic subjects to the real world outside of academic studies. I like academic research that is applicable in the real world in which people operate.I don’t understand academics who don’t care if their work is appreciated or not outside of the confines of academia- I just don’t get it.Why bother if it useful?
A person who has chosen concentration rather than conformity; one who passionately pursues skill (especially technical skill) and imagination, not mainstream social acceptance. Interesting one as I tend to think that I am quite conventional and mainstream but apparently not according to friends-I‘m down right quirky and pleasantly weird.I do passionately pursue aspects of understanding people and consciousness. I do this in an episodic manner rather than consistently.I’m not overly worried about social acceptance of my ideas and imagination.
A person with a devotion to something in a way that places him or her outside the mainstream. I am devoted to understanding how we create things for ourselves and how we can follow inner wisdom for our better good.I sense things and pick up energies . I am committed to a life of inner wisdom and consciousness and I guess in the eyes of many, that places me outside the mainstream.
So, where has my inner geek been hiding?
If I was looking for someone to blame for encouraging me to hide my inner geek it would be my dear teachers Mr. Fisher and Sister Paul who at school aged 10/11 used to tell me not to look “too” clever as it might make me unpopular. They also told me to lie when we did the practice exam for the 11 plus . I had been off of school for 5 weeks beforehand and hadn’t completed the practice papers. Mum was in a panic, dad was pretending not to notice just in case I didn’t get into grammar school.He was already practicing the “oh it doesn’t matter as long as you are happy” speech when the envelope dropped onto the doormat.
So, in the week before the exam, I stayed behind after school for half an hour each night to do a paper under exam conditions. After the second practice paper I was off and flying and Sister Paul told me not to tell the other children because “some of them had been working very hard and still will not pass, so don’t say anything.” I had been working hard too all year except for those 5 weeks ! Interesting how sometimes if you are bright , you are encouraged to hide it .People confuse being clever intellectually with being “clever” in an arrogant way I think. Some of you reading this are by now, thinking “wow she is sooo arrogant- aren’t you?Be honest with yourself That IS the thought running through your head isn’t it? ( No need to be honest with me- I’m a geek and I don’t care).
So, I have decided that having resisted it for many years, I am embracing my inner geek. I will love and nuture the geek and will not hide it anymore under the invisibility cloak of mediocre thinking . Incidentally, I don’t really blame my teachers –that would be waste of time wouldn’t it. Blame is always an excuse to be lame in my book.
There’s lots of I, I, I in this posting isn’t there? Ooh yes that’ll be because it’s all about me me me (This time anyway:)
So come on- what are you hiding what is your I I I me me me ???
Are you a secret geek too?
Marie the Geek xxxxx