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]

Marine Sgt. at New Orleans, La. By Howard R.Hollem. Library of Congress collection via Flickr.

Don’t Think You’re Smart If You Want To Succeed

E. Forrest Christian happiness, Motivation 5 Comments

One of the remarkable things that Carol Dweck showed is that students who thought that they succeeded because they were smart did more poorly in new tasks. They wouldn’t ask for help because they were supposed to be able to figure it out themselves, or perhaps because they thought that if they asked for help they would be shown as not being smart.

Of course, this can be mixed with a DIY attitude, to make it even worse. I’ll chime in here with a personal story: when I was in college, I wouldn’t go to the math profs’ office hours because I somehow believed that I shouldn’t ask for help. It could have been a result of believing I succeeded because I was smart. It was at least also a part of “don’t ask for help” that was a cultural thing with my family. Compound the latter with the former and you get someone who could have done much better in differential equations than he did. (It didn’t help that I really don’t have a strong aptitude for mathematical thinking, arriving at most of my conclusions through intuition and guesswork.)

So internally you need to think that you succeed because of effort.

Lots of people ignore this advice. This leaves them open to being manipulated by you to your advantage, as long as you are willing to not be the smartest person in the room.

"Black Dog being chased from the Admiral Benbow Inn by Captain Billy Bones" by N.C. Wyeth. From Treasure Island, 1911 (cropped)

Top Reasons Why High Potentials Have To Do Things Different For Job Security

E. Forrest Christian Careers, Coaching, Overachievers, Underachievers Leave a Comment

If you are a Hidden High Potential (HHP) and you never hear anything else from me, memorize this statement: What is safe for other people is dangerous for you; what is guaranteed to fail for most people is what’s most likely to succeed for you. Or, as Pippin in the Two Towers movie put it: The closer we are to …