“5 Shocking Truths You Need to Know About Success – Why Talent Alone Is Overrated”

The Illusion of Success: Why Resilience Trumps IQ


When applying for a writer’s position, the last thing one expects is an IQ test. But this was the case for me, and my score of 146 was deemed sufficient to join the team. However, relying solely on IQ scores to judge success is not always a wise decision. This article will explore why resilience is a more critical factor for success than intelligence quotient.

IQ Tests: Limited in Scope

IQ tests have been a popular method to judge intelligence since their inception in the early 1900s by Alfred Binet. Yet, Binet was quick to point out that intellect was too broad to quantify accurately, and his creation has continued to receive criticism for the narrow scope of measuring intelligence. Many successful individuals have not scored well on IQ tests and may not have the traditional markers of success, such as a formal education or a high income. Talent and intelligence are only a fraction of the equation for success, with resilience being the key determinant.

Understanding Resilience

Resilience is the ability for an individual to cope with obstacles and setbacks, essential components towards achieving success. Bill Gates, Stephen King, and Oprah are just a few of the many examples of successful individuals with remarkable resilience. Many others, less fortunate, with even higher IQs have failed to succeed because they lack the essential elements of resilience that contribute to success.

Research supporting the Importance of Resilience

The University of Pennsylvania conducted a thirty-year study which found that cognitive control had a far greater influence on the child’s success than their IQ or wealth. In this study, children with high cognitive control demonstrated goal-orientation, self-confidence, and perseverance, key factors that helped them succeed more than those with high IQs. Failure is not a deterrent to those who are resilient, but instead, it motivates them to find an alternative solution. Resilience fuels the longevity and consistency necessary for success.

The Illusion of IQ

Many people equate intelligence with success, but the reality is that this is not always the case. Take the example of Colonel Sanders, the founder of KFC, who didn’t develop his famous recipe until he was fifty years old. He was a retired cook living off his social security cheques when he began pitching his recipe to restaurants. It took him 12 years and over 1000 rejections to pitch his idea to the restaurant that eventually agreed to his proposal. He spent the next ten years perfecting his recipe and expanding his franchise. Today, KFC is one of the most successful fast-food chains globally.

Resilience in Action

The key to having resilience is to have flexible thinking, not taking failure personally, practice mindfulness and not have time limits. When things don’t work out in one way, there are always other alternatives to consider. Taking risks and maintaining a positive attitude towards achieving goals is a vital part of being resilient. Embracing failures and learning to take lessons from them is an essential part of the process. Mindfulness and living in the present allow us to live in the moment and not worry about the future, freeing up our energy to work towards our goals.


IQ tests are not a complete picture of one’s intelligence, and success is not solely determined by one’s intellect. The most significant component of success is resilience. Those who possess flexible thinking, do not take rejection personally, do not have self-imposed time limits and practice mindfulness are the ones more likely to achieve their goals. The examples of successful individuals with lower IQs prove that anyone can achieve success if they possess the necessary resilience traits.

Resilience is a critical component of the equation of success. While intelligence and talent offer an added advantage, resilience is the driving factor that propels individuals towards achieving their goals. IQ tests are limited, and their applicability in today’s dynamic world can be questioned. Instead of relying solely on these metrics, we should focus on cultivating resilience in ourselves and our children, ensuring a better world built on an understanding of what truly drives success.

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