Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Qualities of a Winner- Intelligence vs. Hard Work


What quality is more important for someone who is successful?  Is it intelligence or hard work & effort?  In the United States you can breeze by in terms of academics from K-8th grade.  A smart kid getting a public education assuming their living situation isn’t screwed up (i.e. broken home, homeless, etc.) should cruise through into high school.   The reason for this is the education system grades based on the national percentiles so a kid of above average intelligence will be able to crush the curve with little effort.  

In high school, smart kids can still get into a decent university purely based on their gifted IQs, just need to get a good SAT score and solid GPA.  The thing is if you want to get into a top 5 university then you will need to have a mix of intelligence and hard work.  You will now be competing against kids from around the nation for the few spots available in each school.  Princeton, Harvard, Yale, Stanford, and MIT have plenty of kids applying with 4.0 GPAs and high SAT scores but they look for things that make you stand out.  So kids who don’t have a perfect academic record need to put in the effort to do extracurricular activities and other stuff outside of just doing well in class to get in.

College & the Work Force
After high school, a hard worker will more often than not be more successful than someone who is just smart.
Here’s the reasons why intelligence won’t always equal success later in life:

Sense of entitlement- Gifted kids who sail through the early years of school may develop a sense that they should just succeed because they are better than everyone.  School is so easy for them growing up that when they finally are faced with challenges they don’t know how to handle it.

Loss of interest- After succeeding for so long school and studying may seem pointless.  Initially doing better than everyone may be motivational but after a while if they don’t develop larger goals their interest in continuing to excel can fade.  This can cause them to develop the bad habit of being lazy and procrastinating.

Inability of overcome challenges- If kids aren’t faced with challenges growing up then when they finally do fail at something; it can cause them to lose confidence and motivation.  They may develop a fear of failure since it is such an unknown feeling to them and rather than try and fail they might just rather give up than admit they that might be lacking in some way. 

Why hard workers can excel:

Ability to bounce back quickly:  They can go with the flow and chalk setbacks as a learning experience.  They are constantly striving for some new goal and by taking action they will develop skills that will help them along the way.

Constantly working towards the bigger goal- Gifted people sometimes only look at the “big picture” or that final goal.  They want to be a millionaire, billionaire, doctor, and lawyer, whatever the big dream is.  When they stumble along the way it they get depressed and if they do achieve a goal they tend to just relax for a long time.  Hard workers just aim for smaller goals while working towards that big final goal.  Example:  Smart kid gets into a good college, he feels proud of himself, and decided he should just kick back and relax since he earned it.  Hard working kid is happy that he got into a good college, takes a little time to enjoy something he likes but then starts working on looking for scholarships.

Finding new opportunities- Like in the example above since the hard workers are always in action they will find hidden opportunities, finding a job that no one knew about, a scholarship, an investment, there are endless opportunities waiting to be found but the first step is taking action.

In college and the real world, people are rewarded for action.   If applying to a job straight out of college who do you think will get it, applicant A: kid with a lot of internships during college and decent GPA or B: smart kid with no work experience but he’s really smart.  Most jobs don’t have some standardize test you can take to ace and impress them so you need to show them things you have done with good results to impress them.

All that being said, if you’re someone who is intelligent and hardworking then the possibilities are truly limitless.  Bill gates, Warren Buffet, Mark Zuckerberg are all billionaire who are extremely intelligent but back it up with a ridiculous work ethic.  Intelligence may be a very valuable asset on the road to becoming successful but like Thomas Edison said-
“There is no substitute for hard work.”


  1. No doubt intelligence and hard work are BOTH necessary to achieve anything nowadays. But don't forget about the "personality" factor. That's gotta figure in, as well.

  2. Thanks for sharing this post! Yeah right, intelligence and hardwork will really mean success. I have my own formula too, its PhP.. Prayer, hardwork, and success. But now I gonna add intelligence to that..

  3. Intelligence, hard work, perseverance, personality and a little luck; all these rolled into one will certainly help someone of the road to success. I enjoyed reading your blog post and agree with many of your thoughts regarding entitlement, not being able to handle adversity and challenges as being an issue for those who sail through school.

  4. This is awesome and ultimate!
    I like your post and your points...I wanna add some basic exercise modules (using home gyms)in the post.

  5. Intelligence can be defined as the innate ability for fast, accurate thought processing, which can be measured using the Intelligence Quotient. Clearly, both the innate ability and the training and practices are imporant in determining a student’s academic success, but whether nature or nuture has a larger influence on how well a student does in school has never been settled. The statement in question clearly lands support on nurturing the student by intense training and education, or what the statement calls “hard work”.
    Self Hypnosis

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