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RIGHT TURN

Students and Peter Principle

Super-competent people often fail in their own field super-incompetent persons get confused in their thoughts


Take on students' test of nerves



INTELLIGENCE COUNTS: Getting a solution need not always bail out.

When a student cannot tell what is the square of (B + A) even though he knows the answer for (A + B) or when a student confuses to answer when asked to face east and tell which side is Bay of Bengal, there may be two reasons. First reason may be the Cortisol, a brain chemical that is released under tension, or it may be due to lethargy to keep his brain sharp.

We are discussing various forms of sluggishness among people as observed by Dr. Peter, author of `Peter Principle', according to whom incompetence can be divided into four categories.

Blind warriors

"Solve the following ten problems, after reading the instructions at the end... " was the instruction given in an aptitude test. Time given was ten minutes. A student took almost half of the time just to solve the first two difficult problems. The last instruction at the end of the tenth question was, "You need not answer anything. Just submit the white answer sheet to get full marks."

Blind warriors suffer from hyperactive syndrome and eager to jump into the battlefield without listening to the instructions till the end. Contrary to them are "Strict rulers", who follow the rules by verbatim. A clerk at an office accepts only cheques and rejects bank drafts because he has been instructed to accept cheques `also' along with cash. A nurse waking up sleeping patients to give sleeping pills also falls under this category.

Some students are "Roller blinders" and have no eagerness to know anything other than their syllabus. A student who confidently tells the Archimedes Principle by heart, but may not be able to explain why a ship floats on water; a prolific lecturer who does not have minimum knowledge of other subjects, a railway booking clerk, who does not know where the enquiry counter is... are the best examples.

A 12-year-old boy repairs fan, tells why the commode is not functioning, knows the latest websites, good in arguing, remembers everything about songs and scores, intuitive and intelligent but never gets more than average marks. A cameraman used to give suggestions to his director, to art director, to the make-up man and even to the cook. He was replaced for the next movie. Super-competent people often fail in their own field.

Opposite to them are super-incompetent. A sales girl always spoils the bill books with reverse carbons due to tension. A student, when asked to tell few introductory sentences about himself in a group discussion, fumbles with words, confuses with the thoughts and finally cannot utter a single word.

Can we combat the ill effects of the Peter Principle? Certainly yes if we know the Four Noble Truths sermonised by Buddha philosophy, first being the reality (of the problem), second the cause (of the problem), third the effect (by the problem) and lastly the solution (to the problem). In physician's terms, it will be like: disease, cause of disease (diagnosis), treatment (prognosis) and the recovery.

YANDAMOORI VEERENDRANATH

www.yandamoori.com

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