High IQ success rate
A high IQ isn’t everything. Image: vchal/Shutterstock

Want to be successful? It’s about more than IQ

25 Nov 2016

We’ve been led to believe that high intellect and hard work are the keys to success. But where does that leave those who weren’t blessed with a high IQ? As it turns out, there are a lot of other factors that are much more important when it comes to success in life.

You might have spent your life thinking you needed to be smart to be successful. In fact, you might have winced at IQ tests and worried about what your future career might look like compared to those you would consider to be more intelligent than you.

However, research shows that IQ is not everything. When considering the ingredients for success, Dr Steve Bressert believes that IQ counts for roughly 10pc – at best 25pc – while the rest depends on everything else, including emotional intelligence.

In fact, there are eight key personality traits, including openness, resilience and social skills that will get you much further in life than intellect.

Not only do these factors matter more than intelligence at a ‘big-picture level’, but individuals with higher levels of certain key personality traits were more likely to score higher grades than those who had higher standardised test scores.

So, those who were not blessed with high IQs can take solace in the fact that it won’t have a major bearing on your success in the future. It’s much more important that you’re able to approach problems and challenges with an open mind, deal with negative situations rationally and have empathy for people you deal with.

Higher IQs don’t guarantee emotional intelligence or stability; and resilience, passion and conscientiousness are all key traits that lead to success, but don’t necessarily come built into a high IQ.

These eight essential traits, outlined in the below infographic from Headway Capital, are also things that can be enhanced and developed, whereas intelligence can only improve so much over the course of your life. If you continue to develop the personal skills below, you will be on the right track to be as successful, if not more so, than your more intellectual peers.

Infographic: Headway Capital

Infographic: Headway Capital

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Jenny Darmody
By Jenny Darmody

Jenny Darmody became the editor of Silicon Republic in 2023, having worked as the deputy editor since February 2020. When she’s not writing about the science and tech industry, she’s writing short stories and attempting novels. She continuously buys more books than she can read in a lifetime and pretty stationery is her kryptonite. She also believes seagulls to be the root of all evil and her baking is the stuff of legends.

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