How smart do you have to be to succeed?

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 do you have to be smart to achieveX inspirational short stories, personal development, self improvement tips

Here is the secret of inspiration: Tell yourself that thousands and tens of thousands of people, not very intelligent and certainly no more intelligent than the rest of us, have mastered problems as difficult as those that now baffle you. 

William Feather

I somehow feel that it is a mass delusion about the concept of being intelligent and being able to make it big in LIFE. I was recently talking to my mom about a friend of mine and his job and the pay scale. This friend of mine is an extremely smart fellow who aced all along his student life, got great marks, great college seats and also topped those classes and got a decent job which he quit a little later, went on to study further for brighter specializations and got into another job. Now, the irony was that he ended up in a job he doesn’t really like and the pay is not that great either and it somehow feels as though it was a wrong move to make. Her question was this simple – ” How come he doesn’t earn more money than the rest of your classmates who are half as smart as him and the ones who are not that great?“. Well my answer was – to be frank – “It is his question too“.

Too many times I have been baffled by these questions which make me wonder – Is it the smartest and the most intelligent people who make it big in the world? Are all the achievers in the world who have been the best and the brightest in the class? I do agree that being smart and intelligent does start you on a very good platform to begin with. But isn’t that as far as it goes? Once you go into a different domain, you start with a fresher cleaner scale with nothing written on it. All your achievements of the past were the ones which got you there and that was the extent of it. It has nothing to do with how your life is going to pan out further. Granted that the past has shaped you, it has given you a lot of things to be proud of but that is not going to ensure you of anything else. It is just a way of saying that it acknowledges who you are and what all you have done. Probably give you enough confidence to look at the world through a better outlook.

Although I constantly maintain that my previous manager was a complete ass, I do remember the one statement that he used to constantly make – “No one cares what all you have done in the past, what you do now matters and that is the only thing that matters to me and the company and to the people around you! ” And I always thought he was an idiot to say this, but now I realize that he was not that wrong. There was some sense of truth in it. All our marks, our achievements, our accomplishments have played a fantastic role in getting us where we are. But that is their role, it has made us proud, it has made us believe in ourselves. That is the true extent of it. If you want something new and more in life, you cant point yourself to your past and say – I have done all these and hence I deserve this – The answer is clearly NO. You may have done all those, you may think you deserve it all – Good for you, but that doesn’t matter. What matters is what the person who gives you that thinks, if he thinks you are worthy enough, you will get it, if not – well, I guess you have to prove him that you are worthy enough.

I know it doesn’t sound fair at all, nothing ever does, esp when it is hurting us. But that is the beauty of it, you can always keep reinventing yourself, you can always be on that path to your achievement which keeps you alive, which defines what true success is. And truth as always is pretty plain and simple – the world has seen a lot of success with the simple ones too, so stop giving brilliance as a reason to do or not to do something. The reason to do something in life is always plain simple – YOU WANT IT! Well then, GO GET IT 🙂

related :

Why you are not going to have a great career? 


19 thoughts on “How smart do you have to be to succeed?

  1. Vinay, this time you seriously touched my heart with this blog. To be very frank your previous manager was not wrong, in fact no one bothers what you were or what you would be, they all matters only what you are at present.

    As far as this question “How come he doesn’t earn more money than the rest of your classmates who are half as smart as him and the ones who are not that great?” is concerned, I can simply say that pay scale of a person would not and never ever reflect the real worth of a person. What talent he does have will always remain with him and might not be found inside a person who is earning double than him.

    Frankly we do make mistakes in our life, while selecting a job offer, everything seems good at that time, but then once you joined there and spent some time, you might be able to realize that you made some mistakes by leaving your previous organization. But then you can’t be able to do anything.

    “Is it the smartest and the most intelligent people who make it big in the world?” To be very frank, no, I have seen some people to succeed in their life with their hard working only.

    1. Thank you Alok. I’m so glad to hear this from you. This is perhaps the best comment I have gotten so far. It is an incredible sense of satisfaction to know that a post touches someone and to know that it is someone whom you hold in high regard is an amazing feeling :)..

      I agree, after about 4 years, I now realize that he was not wrong at all, atleast in this aspect. Maybe I wasn’t ready to receive it yet, but he sure was right.

      And yes, money is a really bad market for the quality of a person. But unfortunately it seems like the society is inching a little toward that no matter how much I hate it. Even I sometimes feel like using that as a marker and then realize what I’m Doing is wrong!

      Like you said, it is all about the choices we make, how cleverly we process it and use it to our advantage. It’s a pretty ironical set of events don’t you think – all our growing up ages people keep constantly telling that it is about hard work and at a stage we realize that there are so many other factors which add up as well. It does take a lot to get to something ! 🙂

  2. Great Article…!! 🙂
    And first of all, I think getting good marks & getting good college do not have any connection with smartness or intelligence. So it is not like the one with good grades is smarter.
    Your boss rightly said No one cares what you have done in the past, today is the most important day & what we do today is what matters.
    To achieve what we want, the most important thing according to me is to be what we are and try to become more & more of ourselves, not necessarily try to become smarter.
    At last, I want to add to your simple philosophy- YOU WANT IT! Well then, GO GET IT by being yourself!!

  3. Very True Vinay, All those grades, awards have their own importance in our lives however it cannot feed us always. one dialogue I remember from the movie Luck by Chance – “Agar meetha khana hai to shakkar to daalna hi padega”…. :D. You have to act smart time to time to remain in a game…… Liked this post….. 🙂

    1. Thank you Priya :). Very very true, they cannot feed us, not always for sure. The more we grow up, the more we realize how important the other things are in life, the ones which are not spoken of, the ones which can take us a long long way :).

      He he he he, that’s a nice dialogue, very apt to this situation and the piece of writing :)..

      Thank you Priya, glad to know that you liked it 🙂

  4. Vinay, first and foremost one needs to figure out what is important to you in life. Material success or the feeling of satisfaction that only a job well done can bring about. Second, academic performance doesn’t get you very far in real life. There you have to learn to think on your feet and take decisions and the responsibility for those decisions. And that takes smarts as well as courage. Third, your ex-boss was right. It’s today that counts not just in professional but also personal life:)

    1. Thank you Lata :). Nice to hear from you.

      I am completely on board with you Lata, the most important thing is finding out what matters the most! And as for the academic achievement, I think I washed off my hands at acads after school. Although it did feel like the most important thing while studying, being at the job made me realize how wrong I was and how insignificant it was in the broader scope of things. In the end I feel it is the person who matters more and the personality which can make that difference!

  5. I loved this blog post. What you mentioned as a story as well as a message is worthy enough o give a thought on self. ‘Now’ factor has always been counted. And I am glad of that fact. It will always keep your soul purpose in track. Wonderful post Vinay!

    1. Thank you Tara :). True, the NOW is such a powerful thing. I am really glad you liked the stories and were able to relate to them. I was sorta getting the feeling that I might be doing what my grandfather was with his boring tales 😀 🙂

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