I was interested to watch part of the Child Of Our Time programme this week about what makes us successful. The programme identified seven areas of skill that determine how successful we are, and gave tests and games to try to determine how good we were in those areas. I only saw the first 10 minutes or so, because I had to pick Esther up from the train station, but it was fascinating. The seven areas were musical ability, logical ability, understanding emotions, creativity, narrative ability, spatial awareness, and physical ability. For a more in-depth look, go to the BBC web site.

It was quite interesting testing myself in those areas, both while I was watching the programme and when I looked on the web page afterwards. Musical ability was no problem, which came as no surprise! Logic was fine up to a point – I fall down when it comes to numbers. I have always found mental arithmetic really challenging, and even simple addition can be a struggle even now. I tried some of the kiddie tests the BBC had online, where it was supposed to test your mathematical ability. It was clearly aimed at children, around the age of about 5-8 I guess, but I really struggled! I got all the questions right, but some of them took some time – in one case it took me about 5-10 minutes to add together three numbers!! Apparently, so I discovered from the BBC web site, there’s a name for it – dyscalculia. Seems to be a relative of dyslexia, and all of that family. So I might be dyscalculic. Not that it’s caused me too many problems so far, but it’s interesting to know!

Understanding emotions was the next skill area, and I scored well on those tests too. On the test linked to on the BBC web site I scored 128 out of 150, which is well above the average of 100. Actually, from other similar tests I’ve done, I seem to score well above the average for men, and just below the average for women! Creativity has never been something I’ve had any difficulty with, what with my interests in art, music and Lego as a child! Similarly, narrative ability has been something I’ve used a lot (I’m currently working on a sci-fi comedy novel, which at its current progress rate should be finished by about this time next year!). Spatial awareness is pretty good, dealing with shape transformations. And in the real world I find that if I’m trying to find my way to somewhere new in the car I’ll look at a road map first and memorise it, and I don’t normally get lost at all. Physical ability is passable – I’ve never done much in that area, but I know I can play sports if I feel like it, I just rarely get round to it!

So, in conclusion, it seems I don’t really have any one area of speciality. Jack of all trades, master of none. Oh, and please don’t consider this post as a boastful one, I’m not sure being reasonably good at everything is actually very helpful! Sure, it gives me plenty of possible vocations at the end of the day, but who’s to say which one I’d do best at?…

Categories: Miscellaneous


Phill · 8 February 2006 at 9:31 am

It was clearly aimed at children, around the age of about 5-8 I guess

Hmmm, it’s not *really* surprising that you did quite well on the tests, is it? 😉

Dad · 9 February 2006 at 4:29 pm

We always knew you’d turn out to be a bright guy…

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