Why Success Depends More on Personality than Intelligence

Does intelligence determine success?

You’ll be surprised to learn that, according to a study conducted by James Heckman, a Nobel Laureate, and his colleagues, intelligence doesn’t have much to do with your chances of success. It is your likeability factor.

What Do the Findings Suggest?

The researchers studied IQ scores, personality assessment tests, standardized test results, and grades of thousands of people in America, Britain, and the Netherlands to determine which of these factors were the closest in determining future earnings.

They came to the conclusion that personality is a better predictor of success as opposed to intelligence after taking traditional standardized tests into consideration. The findings showed that students that were found to be more conscientious and open to new experiences performed better than those who had a high IQ score.

This study comes as a great reminder for students who don’t think of themselves as smart by traditional measures that they may still become highly successful if they cultivate certain personality traits.

Since personality is known to be more malleable than intellect, students who struggle to perform well academically can significantly improve themselves. People who have IQ but struggle with their social skills can also cultivate these qualities and increase their chances of success.

What Characteristics Matter More When It Comes to Worldly Success?

The characteristics that matter the most when it comes to worldly success include conscientiousness and openness to experience. According to the study, these two characteristics are far better than intelligence in predicting life outcomes.

It was also found that grades and test results were also better at predicting success in adulthood than raw IQ scores. This is because grades are a reflection of intelligence and non-cognitive skills that include the ability to collaborate, perseverance, and efficient study habits.

Can You Change Your Personality?

If you’re curious about how much you can improve yourself, you’ll be happy to learn that you can change your personality if you’re willing to put in the time and effort. You should never consider your personality to be fixed or inflexible as you’ll hinder your own chances of self-growth this way.

Bottom Line

Instead of asking yourself if you’re smart enough to succeed, you should ask yourself if you have the attitude and character traits it takes to become successful in your academic and professional life.

You can always cultivate new qualities and social skills if you’re determined and curious about what you can achieve in this world.

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