Can hard work beat intelligence? Does it depend on the field? originally appeared on Quora - the place to gain and share knowledge, empowering people to learn from others and better understand the world.
"Intelligence" measured by IQ is a ridiculously over-rated parameter. I'm constantly meeting people who are clearly more intelligent than I am (in the IQ sense) who have had frustrating and non-productive lives.
Off the top of my memory, I can't think of a single highly-intelligent individual who was successful without very hard work. And I can think of many who would score low on a standard IQ test who have been very successful.
IQ measures a very narrow form of ability, typically the ability to think abstractly and solve abstract problems. Of course, there are many other forms of intelligence too: intelligence in evaluating people; intelligence in music; intelligence in understanding complexity; real-time intelligence (used in video games and fast-action sports). Most of these are ignored by the usual IQ test.
But few people have multi-dimensional intelligence, and they must make up for that by hard work. By hard work I don't mean putting in lots of hours. I mean using your intelligence (yet another kind!) to organize and run your life.
The most productive people in the world combine multi-dimensional intelligence (abstract, people, complex data, real-time) with very hard work.
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