Tag Archives: success

The curse of knowledge

I came upon an article titled Are You Suffering From the Curse of Knowledge? recently in a reddit thread.

Another famous example is that of an extremely successful salesman for IBM who was asked by an interviewer why he was so good at sales, to which he responded, “It’s because I stopped coughing!”

A couple of experts in sales were so confounded by his answer that they decided to examine him more closely. After a while they found that he was actually doing a lot of things really well—he was using a ton of sales tactics brilliantly, he just wasn’t aware of it. He was naturally talented at sales.

The moral of this little story is that the IBM sales guy falsely attributed the reasons for why he was so successful.

The secrets of success from the top scorers in an examination might actually not be the secret sauce that led them to those results. Sometimes it’s not obvious why someone is doing really good.