Being smart can make you stupid

A parent recently bought my study book for her 15 year old son. Despite his high IQ 120 (which actually could be as high as 143) he struggles with being “ADD non hyperactive”. She explains that it rears its head in the typical way, lack of focus, organisation, etc. His weakest areas are working memory, visual memory, sequencing and auditory processing. Skills like targeting sports, math and science CONCEPTS are learned easily. His superior reasoning skills are in the 95th percentile and work well for him except when the topic has many details, rules and/or he is not interested in learning them.

Because he learns concepts quickly, he is overly confident (wrongly) thinking that he has learned it all, so he takes few notes.

He also has a writing deficiency, which combined with poor working memory makes it difficult to take notes and keep up with what’s being presented. As a result, details fall to the wayside and no longer exist as something that he must know. So he is convinced that
he knows the material and does not need to study. He used to do OK in earlier grades that required less detail retention and recall,but now he is failing courses that intellectually he should have no problem with.

The question the mother asked was:

“How can he apply the 80/20 concept when he doesn’t think there is a 20 percent that he doesn’t know and thinks he has it 100 percent down?”

One word – MindMapping.

Click on the hyperlink above and have a look around at a new program that I created with Visual artist – Paul Telling.

MindMapping will help him:

  • Focus on concepts without being distracted with details.
  • Get around any writing deficiencies since the elements are all graphical.
  • Peak his interest because drawing is always a challenge – it never gets dull.
  • It’s easy to start with simple lines and arrows.
  • It’s progressive, meaning he’ll improve quickly as he masters the steps.
  • Because the information is visually stored, retention and recall should be greatly improved.
  • Since the process is FAST, that will deal with the short attention span associated with ADD.

16 Responses to “Being smart can make you stupid”

  • i am looking for a copy of the book to preview before recommending the text to Year 1 students in our college.

    • Evelyn,
      Thank you for your request. We do not supply any sample books. As you can imagine, we get dozens of requests every week. If the sales product information page is not proof enough and you’re not willing to make the nominal investment (that comes with a 100% money-back guarantee), then this book is not for you or your students.

      There are more than 200 testimonials that I have just added to my blog.

      One last thing – my study book has been translated int o4 languages and is the #1 selling product in its category on ClickBank – the #1 Online Marketplace on the Internet.

      That should be more than enough proof this stuff works and that my study book is worth the investment.

      Recommend it to your students and watch their results improve – starting THIS semester.

  • I am that mother of the now 16 yr old. He switched to honors math to be more challenged and not bored. The class would move faster. He tested 99 percentile IQ in math, but is getting a “D” in Algelbra II. He says he has no problem on multiple choice answers but when she wants the problem written out she is brutal on grammar and details. My son says it is like explaining how you tie a shoe every time he answers a question. He knows the answer, shows the math work but gets points off on the written explanation and has trouble finishing the test.

    Teachers sure know how to kill a kids desire to learn. He now no longer wants to go further in math to pre-calculus. Another child’s potential squashed! No wonder Edison and others like him failed in school. Have schools learned nothing about how these curious inventors learn best. Math used to be his best class.

    He is doing better in English and History because of Marc’s study book, which he did not want to read. So I use the info as teachable moments when we talk about an issue.

    The biggest motivator for him has been the verbal and written comments of praise and recognition of his talent and ideas by the teacher. I asked his teachers to respond to even the smallest positive things in the beginning and then raise the bar. He began to feel safe to open up and participate in class and write with more expression, analysis and perception in English, his previously worst subject. Piaget had progressive behavior modification nailed! He feeds off of it and wants more of this reward for his work. He works harder to please the teacher and recently stepped in to tell an unruly classmate to knock it off! He used to be that unruly classmate.

    There is hope for my child as he begins to emerge at of the pit of hopelessness he felt. On our end as parents, we began therapy to strategize how to light the fire of reality of failure vs. achievement within him.

    I posted a comment last month about that. AND we read Marc’s book and ALL his blogs.
    Marc, Thank you for this post, your book, your outlook on life, success, hard work and balance that you share in your books and blog. It has been extremely helpful to us.

    • Renee,

      Thank you for investing the time in your son’s academic challenges. The two biggest problems with the ‘system’ today are teachers and parents. I say that without wanting to sound cynical or negative. Teachers (in general) simply don’t have the passion for the craft that they used to have. They are overworked, underpaid and under-trained. They forget that in high school, they are not teachers, but mentors. I was fortunate to have a life-changing mentor, “Mr. Lancione” who changed HUNDREDS of lives – including mine. He understood how to nurture intelligence and curiosity in the brightest as well as trigger everyone to take part – at whatever level they could. No one was left out.

      The second and even bigger problem is parents. Most would have given up a long time ago. Not sure why people have kids and then do that, but it’s happening more than ever. They too are overworked, but then again that’s part of the problem. They want the second car, the boat, big screen TV, the new iPhone… But they neglect their kids. I did a FREE study seminar about 2 years ago, as a favour for a friend. The small room was more than half empty. We scheduled it at a convenient time, we paid for the venue. All they needed to do was come with their kids… Parents told other parents… But MOST couldn’t be bothered.

      Apathy is the culprit. That’s why I don’t do “study events” anymore. It’s too hard to get parents to invest in their kids’ education, training and development. Once they’ve paid for school fees (private school), they’ve ticked the box.

      What I suggest you do is make sure the teacher in question is dealt with via the school’s administration – bring the exams and tests to the attention of the principal and/or department head. There is no excuse for what you are describing. There might be another side to the story, but high school has subjects and each one a FOCUS. Math is math, English is English and Geography is Geography. Of course when your son gets to college, he will need to deal with his English skills, but if he’s a math whiz, he won’t be penalised if he does a math, science or engineering degree.

      That being said, written skills are mission critical for anyone interested in a professional career. I’ve blogged about it several times because I see it every day. Smart, capable, accomplished business entrepreneurs who can’t write a single paragraph without grammatical or typographical errors.

      It’s paralysing. It destroys their brand, their stature and their self-esteem. They feel second-rate. Because they are. It’s almost impossible to fix “after-the-fact” – bad habits are much harder to change than creating good ones in the first place. Part of this problem is due to people who speak multiple languages, but often it’s unilingual people who struggle with the basics.

      In closing, thank you for being the beacon of inspiration for so many others who are like you and your son. Perseverance, tenacity and commitment gets rewarded. It is worth it in the end. It might take years, but the payoff is there for those who have the vision and self-belief that they are worthy of the investment.

      Stick with it and keep me/us posted on developments – THOUSANDS of readers of this blog are on your side, rooting for you and your son.

      Onward and upward!

  • Thank you for your response and support. One of our biggest obstacles is my son’s peers parents are apathetic or have given up. It’s like a tug of war. If all the parents would stand up to their kids at the same time, we could be a united force!

    I met with the priciple about math, no support was offered. I asked him to consider a parent group to share strategies with their kids and as a unified group. He said he would consider it.

    • Have you purchased my Study Mastermind Book? That’s what you need – a small group (not all) of parents to help you help the kids. 3 or 4 parents with the teacher and principal…

      Today’s society is filled with apathy – I see it every day with business people I come across. People who have money and time invested in their own companies and lack the drive and motivation to do what I consider to be the basics. It’s due to technology creating a sense of entitlement mixed with instant self-gratification. Why invest to get something when you can do less and get an ‘instant’ reward?

      Video games started this phenomenon when I was a teenager and the Internet and TV has made it even worse.

      It’s an uphill battle, but one worth fighting for because kids are only young once. If they are not trained NOW, it’s very unlikely they will adopt the discipline later on.

      That is why I take my products to help students get better grades so seriously – it’s THAT IMPORTANT.

      Please stay in touch!

  • Parent group with a teacher and the principle is an excellent idea! You Have an Incredible Mind. Thanks for sharing it with us! SAT’s are coming, any thoughts for an inspiring blog entry on approaches, hints or preparation for this type of testing?

  • How have I been an educator for so long and never heard of this? I have dozens of students with this mindset every year, and I know, I just KNOW that mind mapping would help at least 75% of them. I will need to do some more research on it to know how to best utilize it in our schools, but I am almost certain that this is the program I will be asking we instill for this next grade year.

  • Making it exciting really is a huge key here. Getting kids to stay engaged means making things just a titch beyond their level so they have to stretch. I will be e-mailing this to my educational department heads. I think they would appreciated this tool for better learning and teaching.

  • Amanda you are true trailblazer! It’s one thing to see a new concept and think “That’s a neat concept” and then move on back to what’s easy and status quo, because it’s too much effort to push for utilizing it!

    You are an awesome person who really wants to help students improve! I liked your comment about stretching and challenging students and it seems that you keep the stretch as a reachable goal.

    Some of my son’s teachers made it impossible to succeed with “out of the ballpark” expectations with a small time period to accomplish the project. He would become anxious, suffer severe stomach and bowel issues and be paralyzedand unable to do his work.

    This started in 5th grade. His English teacher had him doing three major outside of class projects simultaneously. One of which was a 12 part project on DaVinci. Each part had a different component, like a play, a crossword puzzle, a drawing, etc. WHY? He hated DaVinci by the time he was finished!

    Setting him up to fail only served to further damage his desire to even try.

    Good luck and I hope your dept heads have flexible and open minds!


    • Rennee and Amanda,

      I agree with the SMART goal setting philosophy

      S pecific
      M easurable
      A ttainable
      R ealistic
      T ime bound

      The worst thing ANYONE can do is set UNREALISTIC goals – the mind instantly gives up as a defence mechanism.

      Teachers should know better, but often, they don’t know because they’ve never been taught or WORSE — this is how THEY were taught – perpetuating what doesn’t work on to another generation of students!

      At least we can do our share and let people know there is a SMARTer way of doing things!

      Onward and upward!

  • I wanted to revisit your initial blog entry. You made the statement that in high school teachers take on more of a mentoring role.

    My husband also struggled in school until he had a biology teacher that saw what lay beneath and gave him tips, worked with him, but mostly conveyed that he believed in him.

    This person changed his life. I have heard this from many adults over the years. We all remember those special teachers, not so much for the content or presentation of the material, but for who tbey were as a person, role-model or secret mentor to us who inspired us.

    My son has found his mentor and he and his game have changed 180 degrees. He now knows what career direction he wants to pursue and is enrolled in an AP Psych course. I have not seen him so energized, hard working and HAPPY! All A’s so far this quarter. All because 1 teacher in 1 class said to him, “Although you are not getting good grades on your work, you have are perceptive and eloquent in the expression of the meaning beneath the surface” (referring to an essay on a book they were reading).

    Later she said to him, after class, “It’s a pleasure to have you in my class, you offer great insights when you contribute to the class’ discussion”.

    This was English, his worst class for the past 5 years. He got a B+ last semester! Previously a D student, this mentor lifted his self esteem and it spread to all of his classes and his personal life. He just finished a group project, which was always difficult for him. He assumed a leader role, as he has with his friends, and felt awesome and eager to do the project well.

    I know mentors are found, not paired artificially. Do teachers GET how important that can be?

    If they could take the time to be open and offer any positive comment to their struggling students, they might be rewarded by the discovery that their small effort will afford them the lifelong memory of the “kid in their class they made a difference for”. Bad English on that last sentence. You know the kid that comes back to visit ten years later to tell you how you changed their life!


    • Renee,
      Thank you for your on-going dialogue and priceless insights. I am sure readers are enthralled by the discussion.

      I had a mentor as a teacher – Mr Lancione, a physics teacher who taught us much more than formulas. He changed students’ lives – hundreds of us thanked him at multiple high school reunions.

      The problem today is that teachers have too many of their own problems – pay is too low, they are not respected by students, they can’t discipline students and have ‘problem children’ of their own. I feel for them, but that’s no excuse.

      We’re reasons or we’re results.

      You are either part of the problem or part of the solution.

      That is the ONLY decision a teacher needs to make to become a MENTOR.

      I explain the difference between a mentor and motivator in a recent blog post (click on the hyperlink).

      Here’s the thing teachers will realise once they become a mentor:

      It’s a privilege and honour.
      Respect and admiration will come naturally.
      The burden will transform into a responsibility that transforms your job into a calling.
      It’s easier to be a mentor that a strict disciplinarian.
      Students want to follow a mentor’s guidance – NOT a teacher’s lecturing (and posturing).
      Leading by example creates the destiny you want for yourself, so it’s a win-win proposition.

      I just wished more teachers (and others) understood this more – the world would be a different place.

      Thanks for sharing!

  • Hi Marc,

    I am a mechanical engineering student. Sir will this book help me improve my grades? I am asking you because I’ve seen many blogs that were uploaded by students from school or from high school!

    Please let me know as soon as possible.

    Thank you.

    • Adnan,
      I graduated with a Bachelor of Civil Engineering and HUNDREDS of other Engineering students have used my book to get through engineering school.

      Good luck and keep up posted on your success!

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