“Successful people are always smart.” Sorry, please play again. I have news for you: being intelligent doesn’t necessarily imply success, and likewise, success doesn’t necessarily imply intelligence. Many discount their strengths and deem themselves incapable of accomplishing great deeds simply based on their intelligence level.
Those who have all of the tools and skills necessary to succeed shouldn’t give up simply based on the false assumption that those who are accomplished are smarter and better than they are. It’s a terribly wrong outlook and it should be illegal to think this way! Okay, well maybe not, but you get the point.
Successful people are often decisive, ambitious, motivated, focused, have intense work ethics and have the ability of attracting the right people. You certainly don’t need to be the smartest or the most popular person, but you do need to be willing to make sacrifices, work smartly, and seek out the right people to support you.
As an example, think of high school or university. You can probably remember a few people who were the brightest people you’ve ever met but weren’t succeeding. Perhaps they got involved in the wrong crowd, or maybe they had an honors degree in procrastination. Whatever the excuse, their knowledge was wasted.
On the flip side, you may know of others who were having success after success but most certainly weren’t the sharpest knives in the drawer. Instead, they had something that many successful people have and continually strived for; they knew the secret recipe for success.
Let’s find out more about the real reasons why intellectual ability isn’t a pre-requisite for success and what typical skills and characteristics you need to achieve prosperity.
The Recipe for Success
Decision Making Initiative Work Ethic Motivation Focus Like-Minded People
Do you see “intelligence” or “intellect” or “smart” in that list? I don’t! Although the recipe above isn’t an exhaustive list, it’s clear that intelligence is somewhere near the bottom of the list.
Just because someone can retain and recite knowledge easily doesn’t mean that they’re equally good decision makers. It certainly doesn’t mean they’ll have a strong work ethic or can take initiative. And even some geniuses have problems with motivation or have trouble selecting positive, like-minded people to surround them.
I’m sure you’ve seen some of the smartest people also make the poorest decisions or be the laziest people you’ve ever met. Are you one of them? Be honest! It’s okay, there’s still hope!
No Intelligence Required
Wait a second, so the most successful people may not be the smartest? Yes, exactly! The highest achiever in your class may not be the smartest, but rather she could have a very strong work ethic. The richest person you know may not be the most intelligent, but rather surrounds himself with intelligent and loyal people. Even you may not be able to solve all of science’s deep mysteries, but does that mean you should pack up and give up all hope in succeeding in your travels? Not a chance!
No train conductor ever said: “Hello passengers, to board the success train please have your ticket ready along with your IQ score, and skill testing questions answered.” If that were true you’d never hear stories of people going from “rags to riches.” And you’d never hear stories of the “Average Joe” succeeding and making a difference in the lives of their own and others around them.
Don’t be fooled by the scare tactics that you’ve heard throughout your life at school, in the workplace or from friends and family. It’s not true! You don’t need to be the best in math, psychology, or writing. You don’t need an A+. The reason people become successful has more to do with a drastic change in their work ethic. It has more to do with an improvement in their decision-making. It has more to do with a positive change in the calibre of people in their environment. It certainly has very little to do with a change in their intellect level.
So what do you need to do? First off, start believing that you can achieve success in anything that you put your mind to. Zero in on what you want, then figure out how to get there. Slowly you’ll improve, grow and experience so much that you’ll begin displaying some of the characteristics of successful people.
The Unintentional Side Effect
While I said that “no intelligence is required,” I must admit, when you start adopting the characteristics aforementioned, there is a serious threat of a common side effect. You might find yourself gaining confidence, sharpening your skills and becoming (*gasp*) smarter. This is a welcomed side effect, so don’t panic and start killing brain cells! It’s a good thing!
The reasoning behind this is that you’ll begin displaying many of the characteristics that are commonly associated with successful people. You’ll begin making better decisions with a more disciplined and focused work ethic. In essence, you’ll begin exhibiting success-tendencies, so don’t be surprised! It’s expected to encounter this positive side effect.
Success isn’t unattainable unless you make it out to be, so don’t believe the myth that you need to be clever in order for you to make a difference. You can make a difference but only if you make a conscious decision to challenge yourself. It’s your move, what will you do?