Epipremnum pinnatum (refused entry sticker on box). (c) Forest & Kim Starr. (CC BY 3.0)

Why the iPhone Design Wouldn’t Have Flown With Another Firm

E. Forrest Christian Reviews - Articles, Underachievers Leave a Comment

SmartPlanet’s Andrew Nusca interviewe MAYA Design’s chief, Mickey McManus. McManus had some interesting things to say about making things so easy that they were intuitive, so easy that the user becomes “smug”:

We have a graph we write out. On one end is the customer that apologizes or make excuses. At the other end of the spectrum is smug. We want users to be smug. We’ll paper prototype it, then we’ll Wizard of Oz prototype it. After a few iterations, they’re smug. “This is so obvious, I don’t need to say it out loud.” And we want that.

If you think about it, this is something that Hidden High Potentials do regularly. (More on that below.) What’s even more interesting is his discussion of the Command & Control for the US Army. [full post]

Fake Smile (My son being funny with his fake smile. He makes the same face when he is showing off his muscles.) © 2007 by Eric Fleming. Via flickr (CC BY 2.0)

Depressed About Work? Positivity May Not Work

E. Forrest Christian Change, Underachievers Leave a Comment

Job hunters often get depressed from their hunt, and it’s probably even worse in a stagnant, depressed economy like we’re in today. One of the coping techniques that misguided but well-meaning people teach them is to use Positive Thinking. People regularly use these techniques and believe strongly that they are effective.

Nice, except that it will often backfire. [more]

Pressure cooker with a simple regulator and an oval lid". (c) 2009 Hustvedt (CC BY SA 2.0) Via Wikimedia Commons.

“Smarter” May Mean “Lower Performance” in Pressured Environments

E. Forrest Christian Learning, Underachievers Leave a Comment

There’s an interesting bit of research that New Scientist reported. It may be that people with verbal smarts are less likely to perform well in pressure cooker environments. The gene has also been linked to mental illness, anxiety and emotional vulnerability, which seems to reduce your ability to perform under pressure. There are serious implications for business, not the least of which is that if you are in an industry where high verbal skills count, eschewing the normal MBA-oriented pressure cooker environment will allow you to have better performance than you hyper-competitive competitors.

Fashion painting of models. 52nd Street New York, N.Y., ca. 1948. William P. Gottlieb. Public domain.

How Do You Know What You Can Do If There’s No One Modeling It?

E. Forrest Christian Careers, Underachievers Leave a Comment

Dan Ariely, in Predictably Irrational, says “We don’t even know what we want to do with our lives — until we find a relative or a friend who is doing just what we think we should be doing.” Hidden high potentials often never get a model like this. What should they then do?

"Driving over the Sino-Korean Friendship Bridge", (c) 2012 Roman Bansen-CC BY SA 2.0). Via Wikimedia.

How Being Stuck in Your Career Leads to Bitterness, Anger and Rage, Which Gets You Stuck Even Farther

E. Forrest Christian Underachievers Leave a Comment

Being a Hidden high potentials can lead to bitterness and anger, and left untreated to rage. People don’t recognize what you bring, what you do, who you are. It’s hard, frustrating and spiritually debilitating. But you need to let go of the bitterness and anger you feel about this, even though it just forces you to do more without compensation.

Man drawing complex diagrams on whiteboard. (c) alphaspirit. Shutterstock.

Young Stars vs. Systematic Innovators

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The Young Genius vs. Old Master ideas of David Galenson, professor of Economics at the University of Chicago. Probably a pretty straight-forward idea but one that troubles the fields of art and economics both. Hidden high potentials are often systematic innovators, and since these are less valued in our society, there are interesting implications.