We're all familiar with names like George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Samuel Adams and John Hancock. These men, along with others, were our forefathers and the founders of our nation. They signed the Declaration of Independence and wrote the Constitution. They won the Revolutionary War.
Not only that, but their incredible accomplishments weren't limited to their adult lives. John Hancock entered Harvard University when he was 13 years old. Samuel Adams completed his master's degree before he turned 21. Thomas Jefferson frequently studied 15 hours a day during his time at the College of William and Mary.
Of course, at this point it's easy for all of us normal people to place these guys in the "superhuman" or "so-smart-it's-disgusting" category and move on. However, there's a danger in thinking that God simply blessed America with a generation chock-full of patriotic super-nerds just in time to write the Constitution.
You see, once we label people as a "geniuses" we usually cease to feel the need to learn from them or to be challenged by their example. The truth is that our forefathers weren't nerds and their early college entrances were not unusual for their time.
John Hancock entered Harvard University when he was 13 years old. Thomas Jefferson frequently studied 15 hours a day during his time at the College of William and Mary. George Washington held a $100k per year job at 17 and was Commander in Chief of the entire Virginia Militia at 23. David Farragut, who became the U.S. Navy's first Admiral at age 65, was given command of his first ship at age 12.
Why do we have such low expectations of those in their teens, twenties, and thirties? These men prove that we should expect so much more of ourselves, that we really can accomplish more than our society tells us.