(More) Powerful Thoughts from Robin Hanson

From Robin Hanson:

Watching this film twice made it clear to me that the main classroom dynamic, at least in inner city classrooms, is status moves. Teachers struggle to maintain control and respect, while students struggle to one-up one another and to avoid being dominated by teachers. When getting lower grades is the price of preserving their pride, it is a price most students are willing to pay.

I like where he’s going with this. Like Robin, vague promises of future ‘success’ were useless as motivational tools in my education. Unlike Robin, however, I didn’t really care for teacher-praise. Parental feedback had an effect, but only to get me to do the minimum to achieve what I now see as a similar relative status to them.

I found the prospect of being a leader intoxicating, however, and the only time I ever really broke out of my shell when working in groups. If I had to do outstanding work to assume leadership, then that was what I would do.

That doesn’t mean that I would do outstanding solo work in the hope of being put in charge of a group. That strategy is way too painful. You get the same result with less work by coasting into the group and turning on the jets to execute a coup.

The only job I seriously ever told anyone I wanted (since age 14 or so) was to be a CEO. Nothing else really mattered. And, contrary to my mother’ admonition, in small group settings you *can* be a CEO without any experience.

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