Category Archives: General

How do You Score on The Original Australian IQ Test?

Years ago, as a recruitment consultant, I administered a battery of tests, including intelligence tests, which comprised abstract reasoning and other areas. I never then considered the extent to which they were culturally biased. I now know that it is very difficult to develop tests that measure intelligence without cultural bias. Some such attempts have been to eliminate language by designing tests with demonstrations and pictures, or by designing culture-fair (rather than culture-free) tests.

By completing an intelligence test from a very different culture to ours, we can experience some of the difficulties involved with culturally biased methods of testing intelligence. Try to complete the following intelligence test, before you read the answers. PS – I failed miserably!

The Original Australian Test of Intelligence (source unknown)

These items relate to the culture of the Edward River Community in Far North Queensland

1. What number comes next in the sequence, one, two, three, __________?

2. How many lunar months are in a year?

3. As wallaby is to animal so cigarette is to __________

4. Three of the following items may be classified with salt-water crocodile. Which are they?

marine turtle brolga frilled lizard black snake (circle your answers)

5. Which items may be classified with sugar?

honey witchetty grub flour water-lillies (circle your answers)

6. We eat food and we __________ water.

7. Sam, Ben and Harry are sitting together. Sam faces Ben and Ben gives him a cigarette. Harry sits quietly with his back to both Ben and Sam and contributes nothing to the animated conversation going on between Sam and Ben. One of the men is Ben’s brother, the other is Ben’s sister’s child. Who is the nephew?

a. Sam b. Harry c. Ben (circle your answer)

8. Suppose your brother in his mid-forties dies unexpectedly. Would you attribute his death to (circle your answer):

a. God b. Fate c. Germs D. No-one e. Someone f. Your brother himself

9. You are out in the bush with your wife and young children and you are all hungry. You have a rifle and bullets. You see three animals all within range – a young emu, a large kangaroo and a small female wallaby. Which should you shoot for food? a. Young emu b. Large kangaroo c. Small female wallaby (circle your answer)

10. Why should you be careful of your cousins?

Scoring Sheet: Original Australian Test of Intelligence

1. One, two, three, many….the kuuk thaayorre system of counting only goes to three…thana, kuthir, pinalam, mong, mong, mong, etc. The word mong is best translated as “many” since it can mean any number between 4 and 9 or 10 after which yuur mong (many figures) would be more appropriate.

2. While thirteen is right in European terms, it is irrelevant in Edward River terms. Their people recognise the lunar month as the time between one phase of the moon and the next appearance of that phase. The annual cycle is described in terms of environmental rhythms rather than fixed divisions of time. The “year” then is the time between the onset of one wet season and the onset of the next wet season – since wet seasons may be early or late, who can be precise?

3. The right answer is “tree”. This stems from the kuuk thaayorre speakers early experience with tobacco which was “stick” tobacco, hence it is classified with tree.

4. Crocodiles, turtles, birds and frill necked lizards are all classified as minh (which broadly might be translated as animals). Snakes along with eels are classified as yak, which may be broadly translated as snake-like creatures.

5. All the items are classified with sugar as belong to the class of objects known as may. Broadly translated, this means vegetable food. Even witchetty grubs found in the roots of trees fall into this category – so does honey which is also associated with trees and hence fruit.

6. “Eat” is the right word – well sort of, anyway. Kuuk thaayorre does not distinguish between eating and drinking, and they use the same verb to describe both functions.

7. The clues are easy for kuuk thaayorre. An avoidance taboo operates between mother’s brother and sister’s son. Politeness requires that sister’s son should never directly face mother’s brother nor talk to him directly in company. Sam and Ben are obviously brothers because of their unrestrained interaction while Harry, with his back turned to both his uncles is obviously the respectful nephew.

8. God has been equated with a mythological character and he is definitely non-malevolent. Both fate and germs are concepts foreign to the kuuk thaayorre belief system. No-one dies without reason and suicide is unknown to them, so the right answer is SOMEONE – which is the case in this sorcery riddled society.

9. The small female wallaby is the right answer. Emu is a food that may be consumed only by very old people. Kangaroos (especially large ones) may not be eaten by parents or their children. The children will get sick otherwise. Everyone knows that….don’t they?

10 Because some of them have to be avoided like the plague. For example, a male must avoid his father’s sister’s daughter, or anyone classified with her. Such relations are called poison cousins in Aboriginal English.

Narayan van de Graaff

Zen and the Art of Sheer Determination

Thomas Edison

Virtually everyone will have heard of Thomas Edison (February 1847 – October 1931), an American inventor and businessman. He was a prolific inventor – in fact, the fourth most prolific inventor in history, with 1,093 US patents to his name.

While Edison is best-known for having developed a long-lasting, practical electric light bulb, he also developed many other devices with great influence on our planet.  These included the phonograph, motion picture camera, telecommunications and application of the principles of mass production and large-scale teamwork to the process of invention. He is often credited with the creation of the first industrial research laboratory.

Edison’s great entrepreneurial talents led him to found 14 companies, including General Electric, still one of the largest publicly traded companies in the world today. Much of what he said during his life still lives on today as memorable and well-known quotes (refer ttp://

These are just a few of them:

I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work. I am not discouraged, because every wrong attempt discarded is often a step forward.

Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time.

Genius is one percent inspiration and ninety-nine percent perspiration.

Many of life’s failures are people who did not realise how close they were to success when they gave up.

Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work

I never perfected an invention that I did not think about in terms of the service it might give others… I find out what the world needs, then I proceed to invent….


The above is a photo of a phonograph – this was invented by Edison in 1877 for the mechanical recording and reproduction of sound.

We can all be truly grateful to inventors and pioneers such as Edison and Bell. The great majority of us would normally never think about the challenges they faced in coming up with these incredible inventions which we now take so for granted and use in our every-day lives.

Questions for today:

When have you given up, when you were maybe so close to success?

Do you need more inspiration and perspiration in your life?

Narayan van de Graaff

0438 792 300

Humour is No Laughing Matter!


I gave a presentation some time ago to around 180 lawyers and managers from a large organisation. The title was Developing a Culture of Respect. I was asked to incorporate stress management into my presentation, and as part of this, I included the importance of humour. I drew on the findings of the Mayo Clinic ( By the way, it is the largest integrated nonprofit medical group practice in the world, employing over 3,800 physicians and scientists, and 50,900 allied health staff. It ranked No. 1 on the 2014-2015 U.S. News & World Report List of “Best Hospitals”, and is widely regarded as one of the world’s premier medical practices.

So what does the Mayo Clinic say about the benefits of humour?

Short-term benefits:

  • It stimulates many organs. Laughter enhances your intake of oxygen-rich air, stimulates your heart, lungs and muscles, and increases the endorphins released by your brain.
  • It activates and relieves your stress response. A rollicking laugh fires up and then cools down your stress response and increases your heart rate and blood pressure. The result? A good, relaxed feeling.
  • Soothe tension. Laughter can also stimulate circulation and aid muscle relaxation.

Long-term benefits: Laughter is also good for you over the longer term. It may:

  • Improve your immune system. Negative thoughts manifest into chemical reactions that can affect your body by bringing more stress into your system and decreasing your immunity. In contrast, positive thoughts actually release neuropeptides that help fight stress and potentially more-serious illnesses.
  • Relieve pain. Laughter may ease pain by causing the body to produce its own natural painkillers. Laughter may also break the pain-spasm cycle common to some muscle disorders.
  • Increase personal satisfaction. Laughter can also make it easier to cope with difficult situations. It also helps you connect with other people.
  • Improve your mood. Many people experience depression, sometimes due to chronic illnesses. Laughter can help lessen your depression and anxiety and make you feel happier.

Norman Cousins is proof of the importance of humour. He was the editor of the Saturday Review for 30 years, and is sometimes referred to as the modern father of laughter therapy. Cousins had been diagnosed with a very painful, life-threatening form of arthritis and doctors gave him little chance of recovery. When traditional medicine failed to relieve his pain, Cousins watched Marx Brothers films and TV sitcoms, finding that 10 minutes of “belly laughter” allowed him two hours of pain-free sleep. He eventually recovered and wrote a series of best-selling books on humour and healing. So there you have it. It’s no joke that humour can seriously reduce your stress levels and have many other benefits as well.

Narayan van de Graaff

You can download our brochure and/or any of our 44 workshop templates. Go to:


LicensedtoSkill Blog One!

“The journey of a thousand blogs begins with the first blog.”   (apologies to Lao Tzu!)

Welcome to the first of many blogs that will be written over the coming months.  We are very excited about providing you with information that is designed to interest, stimulate and even provoke you!  We are also seeking to make it interactive, so that we can all learn from each other.

Who are we?

IMG_6951 - Copy

We are Sydney-based management consultants, working throughout Australia and overseas as needed.  Narayan has worked in HR, management training and management consulting for around 27 years, and has provided training in several dozen areas for clients in the public, private, educational and not-for-profit sectors during those years.

Tulsi has worked as a management consultant for some years, with a strong background in areas such as mediation, conflict resolution, legal issues for non-lawyers, capacity training and child protection.

We also have associates with extensive experience, who may write blogs from time to time.

Blog Scope

We will be covering a broad range of topics, which are linked to the following triangle of offerings – this can be found on our website  Templates are available for the many workshops linked to each area.  Feel free to download a brochure from the website which elaborates on what we do – either the one specifically for councils, or the other for all other organisations.

Workshop Templates

Each of the areas in the triangle has a range of related topics and future blogs. For instance, Getting Win-Win Outcomes encompasses a range of topics such as:

  • Crucial conversations
  • Conflict resolution
  • Empathy/assertiveness
  • Dealing with difficult people
  • Principled negotiation

We are passionate about what we do – we believe in the material and the messages that we communicate in our workshops, conference presentations and the blogs.  We love to make a sustained difference with our clients, and trust our enthusiasm and passion will inspire and benefit you.

We read a book some time ago on presentation skills, in which the author said that we are all tuned into the radio station: WII-FM.  This stands for “What’s In It For Me?”  We aim to tune into your frequency, and trust you will derive real benefit from our weekly blogs, and also our tweets, which will be closely linked to the blogs.  Happy reading!

Narayan and Tulsi