An IQ of 140 means something
Smarter than the rest - often a difficult fate
"I had few friends at school," says Heinrich Siemens. As he thinks about it, his forehead furrows. With an intelligence quotient of over 140, the 52-year-old is considered highly gifted - and with his temporary loneliness he at least fulfills a cliché that particularly intelligent people often struggle with.
Siemens sits in his cozy apartment in Bonn, surrounded by empty bottles, books and stacks of paper. He's actually a bit chaotic, he admits with a laugh - thereby fulfilling a second cliché. "But there is still some order within the chaos. Most of the time, I manage to find everything I'm looking for very quickly." In order not to have to talk further about the subject of order, he takes a long sip of tea from his cup.
Heinrich Siemens has an IQ of 140
The tall man only knew that he had an IQ of over 140 a few years ago when he took a test from the highly gifted Mensa association. Everyone with a value of 130 or more is considered highly gifted in Germany, because the quotient is then higher than 98 percent of the population. But the result didn't really surprise him, says Siemens: "I really enjoy playing mind games and puzzles. I had noticed beforehand that I'm much faster than others." He says that without any arrogance, but still firmly. Siemens knows what it can do: that it is smart.
Not challenged at school
It was not immediately discovered that Siemens is more intelligent than its peers. Unlike most of the 13,000 cafeteria members in Germany, he does not come from an academic family. At the age of eleven he came to Germany with his parents and four siblings as a Russian-German repatriate from Latvia. When he arrived in Neuwied, he was first sent to a secondary school - "as is the case with immigrant children who come to Germany."
His secondary school teachers quickly noticed, however, that he was under-challenged - "luckily," says Siemens, brushing his long, gray hair back from his face. To this day he is grateful to his teachers: After all, it is not uncommon for high intelligence not to be recognized. "Some highly gifted students do not even follow the lessons. Some of them even end up in special schools." Siemens is certain that gifted people would always attract attention: either as underchallenged or wrongly as overwhelmed. After two years of secondary school, he himself switched to a grammar school - there he incorporated himself without any problems and only got top grades up to the Abitur.
Gifted students often get bored at school and are mistakenly considered to be overwhelmed
Mathematics and languages - more similar than expected
Siemens studied mathematics and philosophy and received a doctorate in linguistics. "This combination sounds very strange," says Siemens with a slight smile, "but the subjects go together better than you think." Both languages and mathematics are based on a fundamental structure, relationships must be understood. This is precisely where his strength lies: "I see connections that others do not see. At the beginning I always wondered why things that I notice are not noticed by everyone. Obviously, this is a sign of my giftedness."
Today Siemens is an independent publisher, his specialty is Plautdietsch - a version of the Low German language that emerged in the Vistula Delta in what is now Poland in the 16th and 17th centuries. Siemens only speaks Plautdietsch to his parents. Even when he speaks High German, he rolls the "r" very hard.
Arrogant and 'weird'
In everyday life he understands some things faster than others. "I have often been accused of arrogance," says the publisher, "but I can live with that. I know that I am actually not arrogant." He hopes that his giftedness won't be particularly noticeable in everyday life, he says with a wink. Because another cliché about highly intelligent people is social conspicuousness. "I hope I don't live up to this stereotype of the gifted," he says and laughs. In general, there are many "weird types" among the highly intelligent, according to Siemens. Perhaps because of this, he doesn't tie his intelligence on everyone's nose. "I'm not hiding my giftedness, but I don't write it on my business card either."
The members of Mensa, the association for gifted people, meet regularly to exchange ideas
Even if he has to struggle with the prejudices of his fellow human beings from time to time - in general his giftedness is more of an enrichment than a burden for him. "Since I realized that I was gifted, I have been able to understand some things that have happened in my life more easily," says Siemens.
That is why he encourages anyone who appears to him to be above-average intelligent to take an IQ test: "If you have the feeling that you are different from the others - and other people give you this feeling too - it is easier to deal with it when you are has an explanation for it. "
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