Three habits to make you smarter than a fifth grader

First of all, never challenge a fifth grader, ever; you will lose.

The whole contest is rigged against you because you haven’t seen the fifth grade in forever; and we all know you learned everything you need to know about life in kindergarten; everything else in school was just busy work. Quick, tell me who was the 23rd US President? How many pints in a gallon? Which planet is closest to the sun? Carefully is an example of what type of word?

See, it’s bullspit. I can honestly say in my entire professional life I have never had one business deal that was predicated on me getting any of those answers right; I shaved my legs once, but that is an entirely different matter…And whereas the fifth grader is studying that stuff right now, it is so gone from your memory you will look like a fool being put on the spot. Potato, Dan Quayle

School is better suited to prepare you for all the bullspit you have to deal with in life as opposed to actually educating you. School is not fair, people will pick on you for no good reason, somebody will always be cooler and more popular, some people are nice, some are not. It’s a melting pot and if you keep the guns and crazies out, it is the best preparation for life you will ever get.

Even if you could care less which planet is closest to the sun.

How many think the traditional way our schools so rigidly stick to will become a thing of the past?

How many can tell by the tone of this post, maybe someone in this room wasn’t the best student?

Let the doctor offer some roadside assistance

  1. First and foremost, don’t do any Are you smarter than a fifth grader challenges; it’s a sucker bet. There is absolutely no upside so run away as fast as you can; I don’t care how smart you think you are.

If it’s a hardy har har bet among friends and there is some drinking going on, then maybe. But the last thing you want to do is perform in front of a live audience. Just the pressure alone will shut your mind down.

Trust me; no upside whatsoever. Run.

2. Read, and then read some more. It can be blogs, books, the newspaper, online, etc, the options are many, but just read. And don’t be afraid to get out of your comfort zone and try things that normally don’t interest you; whether it be self-help, business, fiction or non-fiction, history, etc. Turn that TV off…

A well read person can talk on many topics and appear much smarter than they are.

Being well read is the number one trick in being just smart enough. You don’t have to be the smartest person in the room, just be smart enough.

3. Write, and then write some more. All those crazy thoughts you have going on in your head? Put them down on paper. It’s amazing how much more creative you can be when you actually take the time to write something on a consistent basis. You get in the bonus round when somebody actually reads what you’ve written and comments on it.

Blogs are certainly one avenue to get this done, right? Although, I’m sure after some have read my masterpieces they question if I even made it to the fifth grade, but I think it was called a social promotion back in the day. Once I started driving in the fifth grade they thought it would probably be a good thing if they promoted me up. The nerve…

Notice I said nothing whatsoever about math. Math was cool until it married the alphabet.

Come back next week and you will have to pay to get into my house

Yep, as you can see I have finally found my niche as the self-help guru with the likes of The Amazing Revolutionary Diet and Fitness Programand 3 Reasons Insurance is a Brilliant Career Choice, But those were just teasers coupled with this fine piece of work and come next week the articles will be chock full of exceptional advice only I can give.

And for the introductory price of only a dollar three eighty seven directly deposited into my HeyPal account, it will give you Charter Member status and a year’s subscription.

Pretty awesome, huh? And don’t think everybody is getting this special offer; that’s a big no way Jose as this is for only my special peeps. Don’t delay…

How do you like them apples…..teach?


31 thoughts on “Three habits to make you smarter than a fifth grader

  1. I love to read and write, but regularly confuse numbers. Go figure…good one! I was sitting in the sun yesterday, contemplating taking the kids out of school indefinitely and doing a family history / education tour for a year. I’m sure they’d learn and retain more interesting and important things, but…I’d have to be the Bully and make sure they got their share of Hard Knocks. Right? Perhaps I could let them panhandle in NYC for a bit of a social education? Never know.

    • Did you have some sticky keys? I tried to fix it up; had a lot of T’s missing….:).

      I think panhandling in NYC would be a great experience. And if you are really bold, and I know you have large family, do the sailboat gig for a year with the whole family. I’m sure there are all kinds of lessons to be learned there.

      Who knows what the best way is, because what is best for you might not be best for me and that is the challenge with standardized education, making a one size fits all product.

  2. Your advice comes 34 or so years late, Bill. That reminds me of when Romanians would tell me they waited 60 years to meet an American and what took me so long. I’ve been taking on the fifth grader since fourth grade. And I don’t know if I can change now.

    • Now the Romanians are saying, “ok, enough is enough; when are you going back home”….:). Have you been able to see your son?

      Fifth grade was a relatively good grade for me; kind of nondescript as 6th grade was when girls and sports really started getting my attention.

    • Now that I have taken a half step back from social lately, it has opened up a lot more reading time at night for me. Fortunately it was something my mother instilled in me and I have always liked to read. It’s probably what saved me, because I was truly an indifferent student in high school and paid for it when I finally went to college after my 3-yrs of the Army.

    • Charter member too; why don’t you go ahead and give me your bank account and routing number and I’ll just take what I need and put it into my account and you should be good to go…

  3. My third grader regularly informs me what a moron I am in the way that only my own child could. Hey, I say, I USED to know all that stuff but I never USED it for anything and Pluto WAS a planet when I was your age. The best schooling I ever had was in high school when I fell into a girls’ school and all they did was teach us how to think. That part was money well spent.

    • Unfortunately, most teaching now is how to take a test. The teachers who taught us to think and taught us life lessons as well are the teachers I remember the most. For the most part, I had some pretty good teachers in elementary school.

  4. Yes, I helped my three kids with fifth grade homework so I know there’s a lot I don’t know. They were in an International school in England at the times so they were learning the metric system. Guess who was learning right along with them?

    Thanks for the solid advice. You really need to publish an ebook on The World According to Bill. Your HeyPal account would really grow large then!

    • I like that, The World According to Bill….you might be the only one to buy it and if I do an e-book and offer the first day for free you just might luck out….

      Fortunately my wife was good in math; it’s not that I found it difficult, it could never keep my attention enough for me to really ‘learn’ it.

    • No insurance lesson there; I have been on a 3 tangent and this was something that came to mind. I’m so random in my topics I’m predictable I believe…:).

      Who knows what the next will bring; I actually have about 5 in draft but don’t know if they are quite ready yet or not.

      Hola ma’am.

  5. Hardy har har har……..not sure what you’re saying here. I took your advice and quit after kindergarten. I never learned to read. With the advent of the internet and those awesome apps I can talk into a device which translates everything into writing and vice versa.

    Wasn’t there a pro hockey coach who came out late in life saying he couldn’t read. He was Canadian. I hang my head in shame.

    • But I’ll bet you are good with pictures, huh?

      Reading truly did save me because then as is now, I’m so much more interested in playing and back in the day, that didn’t make for the best student. Somehow I was able to make it through and even get a college degree and have to say it was being well read that made it possible.

  6. Hi Bill

    What the heck…you didn’t like algebra? Fell in love with math in grade 5. Learned the times tables and thought it was fun. Learned algebra in 7th grade. Math saved me from failing a grade. Oh, so now we have to pay for your higher education expertise? lol

    As for the 5th grader challenge. I have never met a very smart highly educated one. They had to have been given the material they needed to study. There are those Einstein types that are in University when they are not old enough to drive…but they are not the ones on the show.


    • Truth be known, I didn’t fall in love with any subject. If I’d had my druthers I would have been a professional athlete and all I’d have to do is play. Every single subject, whether it be math, English or History; they always had to booger it up and make it just hard enough to make it no fun anymore. For me at least, reading truly was my savior, and no, it wasn’t textbook reading either…:).

  7. If 5th graders are so smart, how come they have to ask permission to use the restroom and we don’t? Just sayin…

    Loved this piece Bill, but I do think you were trying to goad me with this one: “How many think the traditional way our schools so rigidly stick to will become a thing of the past?” Something has to give with the edu system in this country. We are falling so far behind in economic competitiveness. There are so many good-paying jobs that are unfilled here in the US because we don’t have the skilled workforce to do them. Okay, I’m done.

    PS. I think summer started yesterday. We need to get out there some morning in May before someone turns the dial to Roast.

    • If you were Rip Van Winkle and had been asleep for 100 years and woke up today, the one thing that would still look and feel familiar would be the classroom. In some ways, it has changed very little. Personally, I feel the ‘system’ turns off many bright kids who just don’t happen to fit the mold of ‘traditional’ student.

      Fix that, will ya?

      I didn’t fit the mold and it wasn’t because I hated school, disinterested would be a better description. But the thing I did like, the people…and the girls in particular. Imagine that, me being social…:).

      If I can find some shotgun shells, how does May 4 sound?

  8. Great post, Bill! I agree, grades 1-12 were primarily memorization and regurgitation. There were a number of teachers that stood out as authentic educators, but it wasn’t until college and university that I was really taught how to learn on my own. I love your description: “Math was cool until it married the alphabet.” That’s gold!
    I always enjoy the comments on your posts, too. 🙂

    • I can poke fun because I was not a good student. I wasn’t a dummy, but I wasn’t really interested in it either. My love of reading truly kept me afloat and plugged the holes for my lack of studying.

      The one thing I did look forward to? The people and more specifically, the girls…:). Imagine that, huh?

  9. Hey Bill

    I’ve always loved Maths (sorry Math we’re talking US here) and I think that’s why I’ve always had a love if music; playing it, writing it, studying it, listening to it. Music to me is very mathematical in some ways.

    Pity I didn’t go down that career route. Still, I can teach my kids to play the piano at least!

    • It’s a proven fact that math and music go hand in hand. Maybe that’s why I never got beyond the listening stage, huh? Actually, it’s not that I don’t like math and even considered being a CPA at one time, but I don’t have the patience to pay enough attention to detail like that.

      I’m probably where I need to be; sales, and painting a picture with my words instead of actually doing any work…:).

  10. My favorite two lines:

    Being well read is the number one trick in being just smart enough. You don’t have to be the smartest person in the room, just be smart enough.

    Life of a consultant, my friend. In some cases, I just need to be one chapter ahead of you…to be a NINJA GURU EXPERT.

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