The “smartest man in the world” has had a tough time with his career!
If you have heard of Chris Langan, it was probably within the context of “the smartest man in America.” Quite possibly that is true. There is even a theory that he is the smartest man in the world. He has a verified I.Q. of 195 and says that he has scored over 200. To put that in perspective, Einstein was estimated to have an I.Q. between 150 and 170. Chris has reputed that he scored perfectly on the SAT and took a nap during the test.
And yet . .
Chris Langan has spent the majority of his life as a bouncer in seedy bars. He has been working on his CTMU or Cognitive Theoretical Model of the Universe for decades. His real major success was doing moderately well on NBC’s not so successful game show 1 vs 100, where he actually quit early in order to take home some money.
So why is the smartest man, possibly alive, not super successful? How is it that someone who can essentially understand anything that any human being has ever created be a middle class regular dude?
Because he is a jerk.
He attacks people who question him about his CTMU, he admits to his own arrogance and he was such a problem while attending college Montana State University, that a paperwork error was enough reason for the administration to let him leave. Imagine letting the smartest man in the world walk out of your college!
This begs the question what type of intelligence really matters?
In this article I wrote for The Good Men Project I explained how three men in history had the timing, ability and knowledge to change the world, but didn’t. Not because of what they knew or the resources afforded them, but because of who they were. It’s likely you have never heard of Robert Hooke, Ignaz Semmelweis, or William Dawes.
But fortunately Isaac Newton, Joseph Lister and Paul Revere were able to fill the voids left by the men who had everything they needed to make a difference, except the personality.
The truth is that most big changes come from people with few accolades. We try to get letters behind our name, admittance in the right circles and successes under our belts before we become the best version of ourselves. So often we let our personality take a back seat to our prestige when really it should be the other way around.
What could you do if you made a small change to your personality? What difference could you make if you listened more, talked less, understood or were more present? The thing that holds us back is almost never what we think it is.
Malcolm Gladwell wrote the incredible book Outliers: The Story of Success. In it he studied Chris Langan and said this,
“It wasn’t an excuse. It was a fact. He’d had to make his way alone, and no one—not rock stars, not professional athletes, not software billionaires, and not even geniuses ever makes it alone.”
If this is true, one sure way to fail is to try and make it alone. One definate way to be alone is to act like a jerk. It’s just too bad that, of all the facts that Chris Langan learned, that wan’t one of them.