Bad Genius: Knowledge for Success

(Warning: This post contains some spoilers for the movie).

Knowledge is defined as the skills and information that is gained through experience or education. There are endless things in the world that we can fill our minds with. We can explore the world and use what we have learned to make daily tasks more interesting or easier. It is essentially one of the greatest tools for success when used right.

We see much of this show by Lynn in the movie, Bad Genius.

Just in case you haven’t watched the movie. Here is a very short summary of the movie:

Lynn is a genius in her studies. She initially gave answers to her friend, Grace, during a test. She then gets roped into a whole scheme of charging students to help them cheat in their exams. It eventually reaches the level of an internationally standardized entry exams called the STIC exams (something like the SATs) where she makes millions.

In other words, Lynn uses her brains to earn money.

Now, while most of us want to become millionaires, we do not encourage or condone the act of cheating to do so. However, we have plucked out some nuggets from the movie which we want to share with you.

1) Knowledge Trumps All

Home of knowledge, the library

The British Library: Second largest library in the world (Picture Credit: The Malaysian Times)

Remember those days of trying to squeeze a semester or a years’ worth of information in a day before exams? I’m sure that most of us have. At some point you probably said “why do I need to learn how to calculate x(2x – 5) = 2x – 1”, and then you realized you needed it to become an engineer, a researcher or a pilot.

But enough of conventional reasoning (at least to me). We know that to become a doctor you need to know biology and to become a lawyer, you need to study law.

But let us look at something different, cooking. Contestants on MasterChef are often presented with very common ingredients like potatoes. Each contestant somehow comes up with unique dishes while we sit at home thinking of frying them into French fries. Not forgetting that none of them are professional chefs.

Expanding your knowledge allows you to create many opportunities and advantages. Just like Lynn, she started with knowledge based on academics and learned how to run a business (sort off). You and I may not become the best at one thing but there is a quote which I find really powerful. That is:

“Jack of all trades is a master of none, but oftentimes better than a master of one.”

2) The Smarter You Are, The More Shots You Call

Leaders of Star Wars

Princess Leia: One of the top rebel leaders in Star Wars. (Picture Credit: The Daily Mail UK)

Remember how you thought “nerds” were always at the mercy of “bullies” in high school? Well, that is the total opposite in the working world. As commonly quoted, knowledge is definitely power. It is even recognized and thought as one of the main sources of power in management studies (Expert Power).

However, do not fully assume that all smart people are guaranteed success and power in life. Having knowledge is one thing, applying it is a whole different topic.

Anyway, as someone new or a fresh grad in a company, you often start at the more basic ranks in a company. From there you work your way up and you learn things. As you learn things (and work hard), you slowly find yourself becoming a leader. So long as you have people working for you, you are a “leader”.

At this point, you are looked up to as a leader because you know what to do, when to do something and some best practices. You can share all you’ve learned with your juniors and know how to do it because you were once in their shoes.

In the case of Lynn, she knew what the people wanted and she knew how to use that to her advantage. She knew students needed answers and she knew Bank needed the money. So she leveraged on that to earn money.

Knowledge is a powerful tool. In a business, knowing and keeping up with societal trends, expectations, and wants can help a company grow. You give the people what they want, you build up your reputation and you grow.

3. Keep Calm and Think

Breath and then think (Picture Credits: HundredMelanie on Deviant Art)

You feel an overwhelming sense of hopelessness, breathlessness, and franticness. Then suddenly you see your life flash before your eyes! (Too much drama). These are all common symptoms of stress.

When you are stressed out, everything seems like it is out of control. You will not be able to focus and that is when you struggle.

Imagine having to complete a task for your colleagues in 30 minutes but have to do it discreetly while your boss walks around. That is what Lynn did. With what time she had left, she did her best to stay calm. She finished up the second exam paper set and got the answers to her “friends” just in time.

Imagine if she had lost her cool and went berserk. She would not have finished the task. Life is often full of stressful situations. How you and I choose to react to it makes a world of difference. If you can collect your thoughts, you can overcome those situations.

Some tips to help you would be to get enough rest (whether at night or in between tasks) and to remember to breathe properly.

Here are some really helpful tips to help you cope with stressful situations.

4) Knowledge is a Game of Business

Evolution of Phones as a result of increased knowledge and evolving technology

The Evolution of Phones (Picture Credit: Easy Technology Now)

I want you to take a few seconds to focus your attention on the device you are looking at right now (your phone or pc). Now think about how you can access the internet and do so many other things. Finally, think about how many different companies have basically earned money from you.

Most people would always think of ways to earn money. In Bad Genius, Lynn saw an opportunity to make money off helping others cheat.  She knew what they wanted, and she found a way to deliver it (from flying to Australia, texting in toilets and making fake puke).

The world we live in revolves around knowledge. We read, we learn, we experience and then we develop (well some people do). On your phone, you are already unconsciously supporting a whole bunch of companies. From your telco provider, internet service provider, companies advertising through games or YouTube videos and so on.

All these companies were started by someone (or a few of them) who had an idea. They had a lightbulb moment and then they researched and developed something. And now they are making money off you or the products and services you use.

How many of us really thought it’d be possible to make face-scanning a feature to unlock a phone? Or even simpler, designing a mechanical pencil with weights in it (a “shaker”) would make a world of a difference when people used it.

A little bit of interest and knowledge somewhere could lead to something new. I personally love going back to food the industry. At how something small like adding coloring to food inspired interesting creations like the rainbow grilled cheese sandwich (which was a thing at some point).

New ideas can be born from even the most basic of knowledge in something.

Concluding Thoughts

Once again, knowledge is important. It can be hard to find inspiration now but do not be discouraged. Life is an eternal journey of learning. You might find something that inspires you along the way. You might even become the next Steve Jobs or Mark Zuckerberg.

Never stop learning, and never feel disheartened if someone claims to know more than you. We each have different interests, but should not limit our learning to that one area. Go explore the world (or the internet) and discover new things. Knowledge is not limited to anyone.

I conclude with this one key message to everyone out there:

You should keep learning new things and expand your knowledge. Find something that you are truly passionate about or are inspired by and work more on that. Leverage your personal interests and knowledge and grow!

All the best in your future, dear reader.