Work-Life Strategies & Solutions

On the Evolution of Work Systems in the Digital Economy

Tag Archives: intelligence

Here’s to the lazy ones. The slackers. The flaky. The unconscientious. The bumps on a log. The ones who cut corners. They’re not fond of duty…

For those who aren’t aware, the title of this post is stylized after Apple Inc.’s  “Think Different” (a/k/a “Crazy Ones”) advertising campaign quote. However, this isn’t a satirical piece but, instead, an exercise in challenging conventional wisdom. While conscientiousness, a Big 5 personality trait, is often cited as the single best predictor of career success, it’s not the end of the world if you aren’t naturally well-endowed with it. The catch is that you must possess some other extraordinary quality that is rewarded in the context of your work situation. I believe that General Kurt von Hammerstein-Equord would agree as he stated back in 1933:

I divide my officers into four classes; the clever, the lazy, the industrious, and the stupid. Each officer possesses at least two of these qualities. Those who are clever and industrious are fitted for the highest staff appointments. Use can be made of those who are stupid and lazy. The man who is clever and lazy however is for the very highest command; he has the temperament and nerves to deal with all situations. But whoever is stupid and industrious is a menace and must be removed immediately!

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Is our native intelligence being burdened by increasing complexity?

Are People Getting Dumber?: The World Grows More Complex” presents one of the funniest social commentaries I’ve ever read. At another level, I know it’s not a funny issue of course. Rather, this turns out to be an interesting one to think about. Here is an excerpt as written by Linda S. Gottfredson, a professor in the School of Education who studies the sociology of intelligence at the University of Delaware:

Many of us feel stupider by the year, if not the week. Age and ill health take their toll, but Mother Nature isn’t the culprit. It’s those clever people busily complicating our lives, innovation by innovation, upgrade upon upgrade. They don’t lower our native intelligence, but relentlessly burden it… Just ask a humorist. One “Frank and Ernest” comic strip shows a caveman pointing to an engraved stone tablet and saying: “Look! I just invented writing!” His companion says: “Thanks a lot! You just made everybody else in the world illiterate!” Read more of this post

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