Published On: Tue, Apr 18th, 2017

Always bite off more than you can chew

dekker_0Not always the people who start out the smartest end up the smartest. Contrary to general belief, intelligence is not an immutable given, determined by nature or nurture, genes or environment.

You can always substantially change how intelligent you are. You can always change basic things about the kind of person you are. The key to development is your mindset; do you have a fixed or growth mindset?

Every person can learn, but not everyone wants to learn. Many individuals with a fixed mindset avoid challenges and everything that cost any effort. They limit themselves to their given ability.

The main problem fighting generational poverty is the avoidance behavior of these people. They will avoid every challenges, effort and hard work since they believe that ”it does not work “ for them.

During the early 1900s, the French government asked  Dr. Alfred Binet  ( 1857-1911) to develop a method to identify students,  most likely to experience difficulty in school. Under the new education laws, all French children had to attend school and to identify early on, children who would need specialized assistance, was necessary.

Binet and colleague Theodore Simon developed a series of tests designed to assess mental abilities.  They thought they could determine intelligence by measuring the size of the human skull. They assumed that the larger the skull, the smarter the person.

Around the same time, scientist Wilhelm Wundt (1932-1920) used introspection - the human ability to reflect on their thoughts - as the measure of intelligence. Nowadays, their methods and ideas are outmoded and no longer used for IQ tests.  American psychologist Lewis Terman at Stanford University revised the Binet-Simon scale, which resulted in the Stanford-Binet Intelligence Scales (1916). It became the most famous test in the United States for decades.

The score of these tests became known as the Intelligent Quotient or IQ-score of a child. Soon the world believed that the IQ of a child was an immutable, fixed inborn degree of intelligence.  Millions of people limited their chances in life, simply by accepting the IQ-verdict, they received at age 12 in school and never questioned.

Note, Binet himself did not believe that his test measured a permanent degree of intelligence (Kamin, 1995). According to Binet, an individual's score can vary (Fancher, 1996).  Motivation can shape the attitude of an individual, and attitude can result in behavior change. With effort, a person can change his IQ. Pose a challenge!!

So be hungry and always bite off more than you can chew.

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