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Are you smarter than average too?

Are you smarter than average too?An interesting thing about Human beings is our tendency to think we’re smarter than most other Human beings!

But the evidence doesn’t always support our beliefs.

You’ve heard of the Darwin awards, the tongue-in-cheek accolades given to people who’ve done something incredibly stupid and have died as a result?

The burglars who attempted to steal my iMac, or ‘Big Mac’, as I like to call it, and parked their getaway car, facing the wrong way at the end of our cul-de-sac, obliging them to make a 3-point turn to execute their get-away, having been surprised by the neighbours… doesn’t count! Because, though the stolen getaway car ended up in the river – no one actually died. (Except, presumably, of embarrassment!)

But many other people easily manage to fulfil the strict criteria for the award.

You may have heard of the chap who took a swig from a jar at a party, only to discover it was fuel for the BBQ. Having spat it out (predominantly over his clothing) he attempted to steady his nerves with a cigarette. His pleasure was short-lived…

Or the woman, on top of a cliff, the edge of which was marked by a fence, who jumped over it to catch a feather wafting in the breeze…

Or the two men who attempted to adorn a tiger with a marigold garland to celebrate New Year. They should have thought twice – the tiger was named after Shiva, the god of destruction…

Or the lawyer (considered one of the brightest and best solicitors of his company) who, to demonstrate the shatterproof windows in his office, hurled himself against them, and to his demise, 24 floors below…

It’s easy to identify crass stupidity in others, but it’s equally easy to overestimate our ability too. There are situations in which, if you simply go on ‘gut instinct’ you’ll probably be wrong, and will come a cropper further down the line.

Therefore having calibration tools to measure how well you have learned something, tools that cannot lie, that you can rely on, will help you develop the skill of good judgement. That means you’ll know exactly what you know and don’t know; you’ll be able to develop robust learning strategies that really work, and as a result, you’ll make real and tangible progress.

I cannot emphasise enough, how easy it is to be seduced by the automatic, unconscious part of the brain that just wants you to feel comfortable, and so let you off any hard work. It makes you feel over-confident and complacent – a recipe for disappointment.

Think about the number of reports you’ve heard, of pilots believing their navigation equipment to be faulty, rather than realise they’ve succumbed to their own sensory error, not altogether uncommon when flying a plane. It’s so common, there are at least twenty or thirty conditions that have their own names. Look up ‘the leans’ or ‘graveyard spiral’ or ‘inversion illusion’ to see what I mean.

If it can happen to them, when they’re fully cognisant of the various tricks the mind can play, it can happen to you too!

So the message here is, use the Genius Material calibration tools, rather than a feeling you might have that you know. Relying on your own judgment is more likely to reflect that you’re familiar with the material, and that simply won’t be good enough to see you through your exam.

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