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Do we need to be clever to be successful?

Do we need to be clever to be successful?

30/01/2017 - Amanda Potter

We are often led to believe that the only way to succeed is to have an exceptional IQ. Muhammad Ali had an IQ 78, Albert Einstein’s was estimated to be around 160 and Britney Spears has an IQ of 104. These scores are all extremely varied, however all of these people are successful within their own specific field. This poses the question; does intelligence really determine how talented an individual is?

In our recent Winning Attitudes the 42 winners from business, sports and entertainment, did not discuss intelligence as a factor that contributed towards their professional achievements. This suggests that Intelligence might not be a key ingredient for success either personally or professionally.

Research appears to agree with this as many psychologists have determined that Intelligence will only take us so far and therefore other ingredients, such as social development, passion and empathy, are more essential to reaching the top of our careers. Carnegie Institute of Technology have shown that only 15% of financial success is due to technical knowledge. Perhaps then, Emotional Intelligence is more important for success than our intellectual intelligence.

Emotional Intelligence is the ability to recognise and understand both our own and others’ emotions, as well as being able to influence the emotions of others. People with an average education and a high-level of emotional intelligence achieve better results at work than those who only had a high IQ. Besides, the IQ we are born with cannot be increased dramatically, however the same is not true for emotional intelligence, which can be developed greatly throughout our lifetime.

Interestingly when considering our Winning Attitudes whitepaper, the characteristics of an individual with a high level of emotional intelligence links to a number of the Internal Forces that resulted a Winning Attitude and success; one of these forces being Constant Curiosity. This relates to a Winner’s ability to understand others’ emotions which allows them to learn from others and develop new skills quickly, therefore setting them up to thrive within a work or personal environment. The link between the Winning Attitudes research and emotional intelligence indicates that peoples emotional intelligence matter more than intellectual intelligence when it comes to success.

To read more around what makes up a Winning Attitude from the point of view of 42 business savvy corporate CEOs and edgy entrepreneurs, committed Olympic and sporting stars through to charismatic media personalities, please take a look at our White Paper by clicking here.

Written by Dr Amanda Potter, Chartered Occupational Psychologist and CEO of BeTalent and Zircon Management Consulting


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