Why is it that IQ has nothing to do with success? When a CEO looks around his company he will find there really is a Bell Curve. What’s a Bell Curve you ask? The term came from a book entitled, The Bell Curve: Intelligence and Class Structure in American Life is a 1994 book by American psychologist Richard J. Herrnstein and American political scientist Charles Murray. Those of us who are old enough will remember the hue and cry in the media because the book was controversial, arguing that IQ differences are genetic, and the battle lines were drawn for and against. The emotion became so great the intellectual arguments were lost in the fray which were:
“Intelligence exists and is accurately measurable across racial, language, and national boundaries.
Intelligence is one of, if not the most, important factors correlated to economic, social, and overall success in the United States, and its importance is increasing.
Intelligence is largely (40% to 80%) heritable.
No one has so far been able to manipulate IQ to a significant degree through changes in environmental factors—except for child adoption—and in light of these failures, future successful manipulations are unlikely.
The United States has been in denial of these facts. A better public understanding of the nature of intelligence and its social correlates is necessary to guide future policy decisions.”
So what’s so terrible about that? That doesn’t fit the agenda of the left which claims those at the bottom are being held there unfairly - they score poorly on tests because the tests are rigged - and being poor keeps them from getting the education necessary for performing well on IQ tests. Truth of the matter is none of that seems to be true, but does it really matter – and if not – what does?
Daniel Goleman, the Author of FOCUS: The Hidden Driver of Excellence, wrote an article entitled, “What PredictsSuccess? It's Not Your IQ”, on July 17, 2014 about a CEO at one of the world’s largest money management firms who wanted to know “why there was a Bell curve for performance among his employees.” There were a few that really stood out and some that performed poorly and all the rest were in the middle – the Bell Curve. How could this be happening since they only hired the best and brightest from the most prestigious schools?
This has equally confused researchers, especially since many graduates from “so-so” colleges with lower SAT scores were actually more successful. There is one fact that emerged clearly. Higher academic performance had nothing to do with how well someone was going to perform in life. There was one thing having good grades in school can’t quantify – “Grit”!
Many years ago I read an article that stated that most of the great leaders, innovators and really successful people were ‘C’ students. Admittedly the “A” and “B” students overall had good jobs, but the really big stuff came from the “C” students. Why? The study called the “A” and “B” students the “golden kids” because it all came easy to them, as a result they never had to struggle, and when they do struggle against difficult situations – which is inevitable in life - they become frustrated and give up. Nothing came easy for the “C” students. They struggled against the current all of their lives, and learned to deal with setback and disappointment, never giving up.
The article went on to say:
And a 30-year longitudinal study of more than a thousand kids – the gold standard for uncovering relationships between behavioral variables – found that those children with the best cognitive control had the greatest financial success in their 30s. Cognitive control predicted success better than a child’s IQ, and better than the wealth of the family they grew up in.
So what’s cognitive control? That means being willing to “delay gratification in pursuit of your goals, maintaining impulse control, managing upsetting emotions well, holding focus, and possessing a readiness to learn. Grit requires good cognitive control.”
There are other qualities rowing against the current generates including, “self-awareness, self-management, empathy, and social effectiveness,” “confidence, striving for goals despite setbacks, staying cool under pressure, harmony and collaboration, persuasion and influence..” In short they have developed “emotional intelligence”, and that is what’s found in “star” performers.
You don't have to be the brightest pebble in the brook to be successful in America, but you do have get up every day and go to work, be on time, and do your job if you wish to lead a successful life, providing for your family and have the enjoyment of being self sufficient.
I had the great good fortune of being raised by my grandparents who came here at the beginning of the 20th century not being able to speak, read or write English. They went to school to learn and became American citizens, and worked like dogs. My grandfather worked in the coal mines of Pennsylvania while owning a small farm where everything we ate with the exception of salt, pepper, sugar and other spices, came off the farm. Out of the five children who lived they raised a son who became an aeronautical engineer with forty engineers working for him, another son became a UAW President and another son owned his own horseshoeing business. And none of them finished high school.
I'd say my grandparents led a successful life.
Many years ago Calvin Coolidge noted that “Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan Press On! has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race.”