I’ve been studying the world of “intelligence testing” for some work I’m doing. Other than my own experience as a small child being subjected to what I recall as two days of evaluation far from my home (actually i had a lot of fun and my mother recalls it as only a few hours), I really knew almost nothing about …
“Smarter” May Mean “Lower Performance” in Pressured Environments
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.
Don’t Think You’re Smart If You Want To Succeed
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.
Is Your “Giftedness” Making You Sicker
“Marcy” recently wrote about looking for a new psychotherapist in Northern Indiana, and talked about some judgments that she had about some of her previous therapists who didn’t fit with her. One of Marcy’s old therapists, with whom she did good work, wrote a book with the late Warren Rule, an Adlerian who for years was at Virginia Commonwealth; this …