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Why ‘Intelligence’ Is A Stupid Concept

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Have you ever thought that you’re not intelligent enough to do something? That you’re not as smart as another person so you can’t succeed like they have?

Research is showing us that our attitude towards intelligence is an important factor in being able to achieve our goals.

One of the greatest myths is that the most successful people are the most intelligent.

I believe this is one of the most damaging myths people have.

It’s a myth that many people fall back on when they encounter a failure of some sort — i.e. that this failure is evidence that we aren’t the smartest person in the room.




For some reason we forget that the stereotypical image of an ‘intelligent person’ — perhaps a physicist or a surgeon, are in reality defined by pushing past constant failures as they slave away trying to solve a problem.

These people choose to learn from their failures until they find the solution they were seeking for.

Perhaps an argument can be made that true intelligence requires a particular attitude toward failure — namely that failure is a useful opportunity to pause, reflect, learn and re-tackle a problem.

One of my biggest issues with the modern day education system is the arbitrary delineation it creates between ‘intelligent’ and ‘non-intelligent’ students.

From an early age, we’re told that the students who perform the best are the ones who are ‘naturally gifted’ — that they are simply born more intelligent than the rest of us.

In reality, top performers either put in more work (i.e. hours of study) or have more efficient ways of studying (i.e. are more productive).

A 2013 study of 3,520 students found that the two biggest factors in achieving long-term academic success were motivation and study strategies — not ‘intelligence’.

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Pass it on: Popular Science

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