5 Surprising Ways AQ Has Been Proven to be the Key to Success by Elon Musk

Why Adversity Quotient is More Important than Intelligence for Success

Success is a subjective term, but its pursuit is almost universal. Every individual aspires to achieve success in their own way. While some consider intelligence as the most important factor for success, real-life experience shows a different picture. Many individuals who scored high in class and had an exceptional intellect are struggling to stand out in the crowd today. This is where AQ, or Adversity Quotient, plays a decisive role. AQ is the “inability to consider failure” and is the key factor that separates successful individuals from others.

Jim Cantrell, the co-founder of SpaceX, emphasizes the significance of AQ in Elon Musk’s success story. When Jim Cantrell and others thought SpaceX would not work, including himself, Elon Musk’s lack of consideration for failure made a huge difference. Despite the challenges and obstacles, Elon Musk only thought about how to make things work. Jim Cantrell quit, while Elon Musk continued and succeeded.

While it is true that grand visions and extraordinary intelligence are crucial factors in success, what sets exceptionally successful people apart is their high AQ. In this article, we will delve deeper into how AQ can help individuals overcome challenging situations, and why it is essential for achieving success.

What is Adversity Quotient?

Adversity Quotient is a measure of an individual’s ability to overcome challenges and setbacks. It is the mental and emotional resilience that individuals possess to overcome personal or professional obstacles. AQ is not a fixed trait, and it can vary depending on circumstances and experiences.

High AQ individuals have the attitude of “never give up” and “failure is not an option.” They push through obstacles and find ways to overcome them. They are not deterred by setbacks, but instead, learn from them and adjust their actions accordingly.

However, individuals with low AQ tend to crumble under pressure and may give up easily. They often dwell on negative thoughts and are more likely to focus on their limitations rather than finding solutions to overcome them.

Why is AQ more important than intelligence for success?

Having a high intelligence quotient, or IQ, does not necessarily correlate with success. Most successful individuals have average or above-average IQs, but their AQ is what sets them apart from others. AQ is a critical component that individuals require to thrive in competitive environments and achieve their goals.

When it comes down to it, AQ is more important than intelligence because adversity is inevitable. Success is not a linear journey, and individuals will face various challenges and setbacks that require resilience and adaptability. In times of adversity, intelligence alone cannot provide a solution. High AQ individuals are better equipped to find innovative solutions to challenges and adapt quickly to changing circumstances.

For instance, Elon Musk’s journey was not smooth sailing. In 2008, his two companies nearly went bankrupt, and he was going through a divorce. His self-doubt and fear of failure began to take control of him. However, his high AQ helped him overcome these challenging times. He quickly decided to take swift actions and turned his companies around. His high AQ helped him stay focused on his goals, which ultimately led him to success.

How to increase your AQ?

Fortunately, AQ is not something you’re born with, and it’s not fixed. Anyone can increase their AQ with the right mindset and practice.

One way to increase your AQ is to write a list of negative thoughts and excuses that may arise during a challenging situation. Then, write down counter-arguments to persuade yourself to keep going towards your goals. For example, if you’re starting a new project, and the negative thought, “I may not have enough money to support the project if there are any incidents,” pops up, the counter-argument could be “I can try to get a loan from family and bank or even get a mortgage loan.” This exercise helps to prepare you to face challenges and keeps you motivated to continue towards your goals.

Another way to increase your AQ is to practice failure. Failures help individuals build resilience and learn from their mistakes. The more an individual experiences failures, the better equipped they become to find innovative solutions to overcome challenges. Reviewing and assessing past experiences and discussing the lessons learned from failures can also help individuals develop a growth mindset, which is vital to increasing AQ.


Many individuals believe that intelligence is a crucial factor in achieving success. While intelligence plays a vital role, AQ is equally important. Adversity is inevitable, and individuals need to develop unyielding resilience to overcome challenging circumstances.

High AQ individuals have the mentality of “never give up” and “failure is not an option.” They use their setbacks as opportunities to learn and improve. With practice and a growth mindset, anyone can increase their AQ and become more resilient to face adversity.

In conclusion, when it comes to achieving success, AQ is the key differentiator between exceptional individuals and others. It is not intelligence alone but the ability to face and overcome adversity that propels individuals towards success.

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