I retired from a large, well-known computer company. My title was "Senior Usability Consultant". I was, for all practical purposes, a computer programmer. And that is certainly how I viewed myself despite the fancy titles. I worked shoulder to shoulder with highly educated people. Some with Phds, others with masters degrees. I was certainly the odd man out when it came to education. The truth is I never so much as completed 10th grade. In other words, I didn't even finish half of a high school education.

Formal education is often confused with intelligence, ability, or both. And yet history is full of high achievers with little formal education. They are self-taught, as am I.

Traditional education failed me. My teachers were unable to recognize that I had a learning disability. Despite the fact that I was tested to have an IQ of 138, they all refused to treat me with any respect. I didn't conform to their concepts of a proper student, therefore I was treated harshly. I suffered socially as well.

I can only hope that today's educational system is more capable of recognizing that not every child can learn in the same exact pattern; that there is always a distribution of students into at least three categories: those that excel, those that are more or less normal, and those for whom the teaching method doesn't work. Intelligence and learning ability are not the same. High functioning minds don't necessarily intake data the same way as more normal minds do.

To be mainstream is a huge advantage. You will fit into the world. You will meet the expectations of those around you. You will be predictable and acceptable, even if you will be unexceptional.

To be continued...