When most people had no or very little education, and some people had access to private tutors is it surprise some of them end up exceptional?
I mean you are talking about pre internet era and era where people were relatively less knowledgeable.
Today private tutoring still gives edge anyways. As you can personalize the needs of pupils.
I cannot imagine someone having several private tutors since childhood and not being exceptional in some regard or above average at least in knowledge if not intellect.
When driving good drivers are invisible to us.
Bad drivers are seemingly everywhere. :D
If people judge what they judge is their own knowledge they are familiar with, against what they see as most critical failing of people around.
People who are wrong are alien to us.
People who are right and agree with us don't make us emotional.
SO they are not that obvious.
As far as observations go, small talk from my point of view is to see other peoples attitudes, but information value of small talks drops after a while as everything was said.
Small talk does not mean people will like you though or know you better or necessarily lead to anything good. It just means that if by chance someone shares your attitudes you might bond over the fact you have same attitudes and then conversation leads to better chance of having something more meaningful to say.
However people are from different walks of life often times live different lives and have different habits.
Why should people with "power saving mode" be sick?
If you were farmer in Northern climate and you had low crop yield it could mean starving whole winter with little food. Would exercising help then?
If you were in Southern climate and worked in heat all the time, and burned out all your calories would you call it smart? What if a flood came on the Nile and took your crop.
So I would argue laziness is a good survival strategy. Helps people stop from killing themselves by overworking.
On flip side body builds equilibrium. If person exercises since childhood exercise becomes the norm.
Stop exercising and in few months "power saving mode" kicks in and you won't lift a finger.
Start exercising and the body will resist until exercise becomes the new norm.
For person who hates exercising this could take months before exercising becomes new norm.
For someone who exercises all the time a bit of lazy time does not stop them from exercising next time.
Body wants balance, but it integrates balance from the environment.
I have cheated on tests.
Not very successfully.
The problem is sometimes you actually learn more by cheating, because making strategies on how to cheat actually makes you remember more.
Its actually creative activity.
Also sometimes cheating actually made me able to remember the stuff more as it gave me a chance.
On other hand the long term benefits of cheating are tiny.
Obviously the best strategy is to learn, cheating or not.
The key important thing is whether cheating is viable strategy in real life.
On other hand cheating is kind of ambiguous concept.
Rules are many. If you make notes in math class and they are permitted then its not cheating.
Some teachers explicitly allowed people to use books and look up answers.
This would obviously be cheating in most other classes.
But if the end game is knowledge then its either about the process or the result.
If its about process both methods are OK, if its purely about result then the best technique, is to simply do it as fast as possible in little time as possible as soon as possible.
This in and of its self is actually valued approach.
As for shoplifting I have done something like that.
Not sure I actually enjoyed it. I think I just did it, because you kind of think, hey its possible?
First time I was certainly dumb enough to get duped.
Not sure even why.
Mind fallacy is interesting concept.
The approach is probably simply done, because its the easiest way to approach people.
Or at least it seems.
People are complex, so without trying to assume things you kind of work out what the common ground is.
Unfortunately there are so many ways to, not figure this out.
What makes people tick is something I just don't get.
Or more accurately I get it, but I actually don't know how that translates to real life approaching people.
I started writing down things I am tracking.
I actually never realized I am tracking so many things.
The problem and issue is, I rarely remember or know what to do with the tracked information.
Lets say I am trying to be engaging and have a discussion.
There could be a number of things to track, from motives, meanings, or specific reasons something is said.
Other thing to track is filling in the gaps. Lets say someone says something incomplete, one should when engaged fill in the gaps and ask question or find a way to follow up.
Another thing is to know you are actually communicating the things you think you are communicating.
Or further when you track your words whether they actually are understood or misinterpreted while maybe simultaneously trying to get feedback form the person, be it verbal or non verbal reaction.
For me big part is also facial expression, or being properly engaged.
Lets say I have a good focus and aim to do this.
Well realistically this will have no real impact as its a massive number of tasks.
Not to mention being self conscious in the moment about the various errors.
The other key factor for me is keep track of communication to know that whatever I said or made clear, is actually inline with my intent.
I also have to track what not to say or do. Which depends on context and that can be rather trick to figure in the moment now.
On account of sounding dumb, but needing to point out, progress is set by baseline of some sort.
However qualitatively our society does live differently in many ways.
Most things in the past required huge time investment, there was low security for life, and generally the product be it crops, or food, were small compared to these days.
So the constraints people dealt with were huge.
Its fallacy though to think we don't have the exact same issues in today's world.
We have washing machines and microwaves and tools that speed things up so we can do the more progressive things so to speak.
The problem is we are subject to biological evolution and therefore progress needs more than quantity.
For instance dinosaurs are extinct yet I bet most dinosaurs would boast that they are huge and bigger than other dinosaurs therefore they made more progress and therefore are the bestests of all.
Human evolution can be the same issue.
On scale of evolution the danger we face is not that we are so good at adaptation and use of tools and changing environments.
We face the problem of change.
All change leads to extinction of some sort. Change is dangerous, but we live in a world were change is becoming a constant variable.
And there is no amount of progress that protects humans from this tricky problem.
If not today 1000 years from now, we might be just as extinct as dinosaurs and from the wood works will crawl out some weird creature of tiny stature like mammals did.
We should therefore not assume the fallacy that bit of fossil fuels, and combustion engines or rocketry will make us better at surviving.
We have better chance of surviving today as individuals, but the behemoth civilization became, is by far something that has never existed before.
Its also not something humans ever did on this mass world wide scale with such pacing and such incredible complex balance of activity.
So yes once people overcame certain constraints that were constant we grew.
So as with all things considering something new, you need lots of trail and error to know what works.
In this sense nature does not have friends or good side.
Nature can kill off anything, and there were creatures that lived for millions of years and went in way of dodo in a single instance as if they never existed.
We have to understand that progress in many ways is limited in certain dimensions for all people.
We as humans are extremely good at predicting certain catastrophic scenarios, but we should not think for one second that nature cannot do more than we can imagine.
We have funny things like bees dying off.
A single species could end our civilization.
And this assuming bees are the only species.
Who knows what other species could die off and kill humanity in basically few years.
So my basic question is what progress really is?
If its survival we made some progress, but we added a layer of problems that never threatened humanity.
If its number of humans on this planet and their long life, that is progress, but it comes at a cost.
Cost we will have to pay back at some point in worlds history to simply go on.