Tag Archives: world

Being Intelligent Does Not Guarantee Success



When I was a  young child, I was always taught that in order to be successful in school, work and in life in general, I needed to be intelligent. High I.Q. according to my first teachers, equals a high grade. However, as I went through high school to graduate school and now as an educator, I discovered that having a high I.Q. does not guarantee that individuals will succeed. Intelligent students do not always get the highest marks/ grades, and the not-so-smart ones do not always get the average or lowest grades.

Life events and well-being immediately come into people’s minds when asked why this is the case. In addition to these, Angela Duckworth proposed that success depends on another important factor: Grit, defined as the ‘perseverance and passion for long-term goals’. Watch her TED talk below:


To read Angela Duckworth’s seminal research on Grit, click HERE


Derren Brown’s Apocalypse and our Susceptible Perception of Reality


One of the UK’s most famous magician/TV personality, Derren Brown has teamed up with Channel 4 to create one of the most entertaining two-part shows I have ever seen, named Derren Brown’s Apocalypse. In this series, Derren and his team led Steven Brosnan to believe that the world is about to end. Steven was fed false information about a meteor that was about to strike the world through tweets, news coverage and TV advertisements- all manufactured by Derren Brown and his team, with the help of Steven’s family (the show reminded me of The Truman Show- trailer below). Steven then rode a bus with his brother- also one of Brown’s accomplice- with the belief that he was going to a gig by The Killers. The bus stopped due to some problems and they witnessed explosion after explosion. After being hypnotized by Brown, Steven woke up in what looked like a hospital room filled with zombies and a young girl named Leona, who was not ‘infected’. You can watch the rest by clicking the links below.

What is Reality?

Regardless of whether the show was faked or not, what happened to Steven actually creates a good platform in which people can discuss what reality really is. Think about it for a minute. Steven was fed false information on every medium possible. When he read his Twitter feed, he saw people including Prof. Brian Cox (whose account was hacked by Brown) tweeting about the meteor strike. When he watched TV, listened to the radio, even when he spoke to the people around him, all they have mentioned was the proposed day of doom. Steven’s situation and surroundings were constructed in a way which leaves very little room for doubt. Everywhere he went, there were information about what Brown wanted him to believe. When he woke up in that forsaken hospital, he was connected to a drip, surrounded by zombie-like creatures.

Steven’s experience made me ask myself, who really decides what is real and what is not? Is it the person who is experiencing the events/ sensations, or is it the observer? Everyone who watched the show knew that Steven’s situation was fake. Everyone involved in the programme knew what was going on, except Steven. Steven thought all of it were real because everything that he perceived confirmed the apocalypse- again, much like The Truman Show. I am aware that our senses trick us all the time. Take visual illusions for instance. What was different in Steven’s case was that it could have affected his whole life. Imagine the psychological scars it may have caused!

This reminded me of the situation that people with schizoprenia and other psychotic conditions may have. Their perceptions of reality is distorted and unjustified in the eyes of an outsider, but yet, they swear that what they see, feel, hear and experience is real. If only there is a magic pill.


I got the links below from Channel 4’s own Youtube Channel, therefore embedding was disallowed. Nevertheless, you can still click ‘Watch on Youtube’ to enjoy the programme.

Part 1:

Part 2:

Communication difficulties in Autism- my personal view.

First things first. I want to wish everyone of you a happy World Autism Awareness Day!

Autism affects between 1/100 to 1/88 individuals and yet those who are affected are still often misunderstood. Indeed, students with Autism are more likely to be bullied in school compared to any other ‘groups’ of students. Perhaps a reason for the high rates of bullying stems from people’s lack of understanding of the condition. Individuals with Autism experience difficulties in Social Interactions, Communication and Imagination/Flexibiity of Thought. It is also important to note that it is a lifelong disorder- a child with Autism will become an adult with autism. Furthermore, Autism manifests in many different ways. As Francesca Happe said recently, “once you’ve met one person with Autism, you’ve met ONE person with Autism”.

An individual with Autism’s difficulties in communication (in my experience) is the one that makes day-to-day activities challenging. For instance, a student with Autism might burst out crying in the middle of a lesson in school because he/she is tired or bored. In extreme instances, individuals with Autism may physically hurt another person just because they wore a different pair of shoes which unsettlled them. in other cases, people with ASC may not speak at all (either by choice or not). I know that these are extreme, bordering on ‘stereotypical’ and I acknowledge that not every single person with Autism will behave in these ways. These are just examples.

Whilst it is important to be aware that communication difficulties is a part of Autism, to me it is important to acknowledge that we too have a difficulty. They know what they want and don’t want. They know what they want to get across. They know what they feel. What they find challenging is finding a way to let us know what those thoughts and feelings are. Whilst they have a difficulty in producing the ‘right’ ways of communication, we struggle with understanding what they want to get across. Communication is a two-way process and since it is us (“neurotypicals”) who (ideally) have more capacity to be flexible and adaptable to situations, the responsibility to communicate effectively falls into our hands.

It is of paramount importance for us to actively search for ways of  understanding those who have Autism that we regularly have contact with. As I’ve mentioned earlier, people with Autism are as unique as you and I. Communicating with one will almost definitely be diferent from another. We should take time to understand the patterns of their behaviour, know what triggers distress and observe body language. Our initial guesses may be wrong, but an active pursuit will go a long way.


More on Autism:

He flaps his hands and screams a lot but he doesn’t mean to annoy you

Optimum Outcomes for people with Autism

DSM 5 and its implications to ASD diagnosis

Diagnosing Autism: What you need to know

Vote for Miss Montana 2012, Alexis Wineman

What does Autism mean?

What is PDD-NOS?

Big Bang Theory’s Sheldon Cooper: Asperger’s Syndrome’s Poster Boy?

Still unsure if Sheldon has Asperger’s?

DSM-V and Autism

The Autistic Me: BBC Documentary

Temple Grandin: The world needs all kinds of minds

Autism in the classroom:

Guide to parents of students with ASD on coping with the first day back to school

Common signs of Autism in the classroom

First day back to school: Top tips for parents of children with Autism

Practical tips to make your classroom Autism-Friendly

Inspiring People with Autism:

Dr. Temple Grandin

Jessica-Jane Applegate (British Paralympian)

Satoshi Tajiri (Pokemon creator)

Carly Fleischmann

More on Savants:

The Psychology of Savants: Memory Masters

Artists with Autism

The Einstein Effect: Is there a link between having Autism and being a genius?