Psychologists from James Madison University also became interested. So they handed out similar logic tests to hundreds of people and then compared the accuracy of their answers to their intelligence. Ironically, the researchers found that the smartest people were mostly wrong because they were psychologically incapable of solving mindfulness problems.
Intellectuals are more likely to make stupid mistakes because there are blind spots in their logic. These spots arise because smart people overestimate their ability to reason rationally. That is, they are so accustomed to always being right and giving out lightning-fast answers that they do not even understand where they “got it.”
But the complete ignoramuses coped with the problem of the bat and the ball with excellent marks. Isn’t it a shame that more than half of the students at Harvard, Princeton, and MIT answered the same question incorrectly?
The smartest people do not want to admit their own mistakes. Regardless of the level of intelligence, we are all subject to the so-called “blind spot” effect. In other words, we easily notice other people’s mistakes and refuse to see ours.
The more stupid the mistake, the more difficult it is for an intelligent person to accept that he has made it. Although no one sits all day on tricky problems like the beat and ball test, they involve the same brain regions that are used in everyday thinking. Thus, the tendency to do stupid things haunts talented people at work as well.
Consider the most common cases when smart people manage to do themselves a disservice.
1. Talented people are overconfident
Years of praise lead them to believe unconditionally in their extraordinary abilities. With so many ego-tickling achievements counting, it’s natural to expect everything to always work out.
However, this is a dangerous expectation. Talented people often do not admit that they need help, and if they do, they doubt that someone will be able to provide it.
2. They push people too hard
Talented people become “super effective” because they do things easily.
They simply do not understand how hard others have to work in order to achieve the same results, and therefore put too much pressure on people. They set the bar prohibitively high, and when colleagues fail to meet deadlines or give poor results, they think they are simply lazy. Then they push even harder and miss the opportunity to help others achieve their goals.
3. They must always be right.
It is not easy for any of us to put up with our own mistakes. It is even harder for talented people, because they are so used to always being at their best that it has become part of their identity. They take their slightest mistake as a personal insult, and rightness as a matter of course.
4. They have low emotional intelligence.
Although intelligence quotient (IQ) and emotional intelligence (EQ) are fundamentally different concepts (on average, talented individuals have the same EQ as everyone else), when a gifted person has a weak EQ, it is doubly insulting.
For people with high IQs and low EQs, the world is a meritocracy, a system ruled by an educated elite. Achievements are everything, people and emotions are nothing. This is simply ridiculous, because the TalentSmart poll, which was attended by millions of audiences, including geniuses, showed that it is the people with the highest EQ that achieve great success.
5. They give up at the first failure.
If you watch sports events at least occasionally, then you probably saw the shocked faces of the losing athletes, from whom everyone expected to win. Talented people easily fall into the same trap and see defeat as the end of the world, because the constant success has generated high expectations within them.
Those who have to work hard for each achievement have made more than one attempt and learned to cope with failure. They accept them calmly, because they know that these are “steps” on the ladder to success.
6. They lack tenacity
When everything works out with a snap of their fingers, people begin to treat laborious work as torture.
If talented individuals cannot handle something without much effort, they become frustrated and embarrassed. And so they come to the wrong conclusion: since I failed something, something is wrong with me. As a result, they drop out halfway and take on a task that reinforces their sense of worth. They often don’t even try to develop the perseverance required to rise to the next level.
7. They are used to multitasking
Talented people think much faster than others, which makes them impatient. They love to take on everything at once, so that there is no downtime. They develop a vigorous activity, and then it seems as if multitasking is really useful, because a person is doing more.
However, a Stanford University study showed the opposite. First, multitasking reduces productivity. Second, people who often grasp multiple tasks at the same time and think they are good at it actually perform much worse than those who prefer to take turns doing everything.
8. They do not accept advice and comments.
Talented people tend to underestimate the opinions of others – they do not believe that someone else is competent enough to give them useful advice. This not only prevents them from growing and improving the quality of their work, but also destroys relationships – both professional and personal.
While it might seem like the purpose of this article is to shame talented people, it is not. Sometimes priceless gifts of fate, including extraordinary intelligence, come with tests. And if someone does not want to treat himself objectively, he simply exchanges his talent for trifles. And that’s certainly not smart at all.