Financial success needs more than just intellect

Monday, May 13th, 2024 10:27 | By
Image used for illustration. PHOTO/Pexels
Image used for illustration. PHOTO/Pexels

We all know someone from our village or neighbourhood who struggled in school. They may not have appeared bright, were often troublemakers, and most people thought they would not achieve much in life. They lacked skills in various areas, and many other students were brighter, kinder, and more intelligent.  Yet, these same individuals are now running profitable businesses, travelling the world, and enjoying life to the fullest, while those who were labelled brilliant are in a rat race to make ends meet or work for one of them. How can nature be so cruel to the smart?

A study conducted in Sweden found that top earners have lower intelligence than the people and income levels directly below them. By analyzing professional earnings, the study sought to establish the link between intelligence and income, and the correlation was significant. Individuals with higher intelligence earned more money, but only $64,000 annually. What is it about these “dumb” people that enable them to accumulate more wealth?

People with intellect frequently find themselves in highly sought-after roles that do not always pay well. Those with extraordinary intelligence, such as academics and research scientists, are good examples of this phenomenon. They are intelligent, but they are usually not highly paid. This is because many exceptionally clever people choose prominent careers that may not draw large salaries. On the other hand, people who might be less intelligent frequently succeed in fields that call for bravery and excellent interpersonal skills. Though they lack some technical skills, like inventiveness or computer expertise, they are skilled at efficiently promoting themselves and establishing worthwhile contacts.

The willingness to take risks, a trait often associated with those perceived as less intelligent, can lead to unique opportunities and successes. By relying on instinct rather than over-analysing situations, these individuals can become successful entrepreneurs and amass wealth.

Highly intelligent with a high income desire face a slight disadvantage compared with those with moderate intelligence. Highly intelligent individuals, who follow well-compensated careers, are less likely to transition to business ownership due to their satisfaction with their income level and reluctance to risk starting a risky business.

Individuals with above-average intelligence who aspire to achieve high incomes in the top percentiles are often willing to take risks and pursue entrepreneurial ventures. These individuals are more likely to succeed in industries that are notoriously competitive and challenging to break into. Their drive, determination, and ability to think outside the box set them apart from the rest. 

Individuals who succeed financially frequently have an amazing capacity for recovery from setbacks. While highly intelligent people may get paralysed by analysis and linger on their errors, less intelligent people may be more flexible and prepared to change course after a setback. This resilience can result in better long-term success.

While “dumb” individuals are typically more gregarious and open to networking, smart people occasionally place a greater emphasis on learning than on forming relationships. Being able to network offers doors to mentorships, collaborations, and other chances that result in financial success. Wealth development heavily depends on connections, and those with larger networks frequently have the upper hand.

People with confidence and lack of shame often cross boundaries without fear of judgment, leading to audacious actions and risky choices. This lack of guilt often results in larger rewards, as they are self-assured and unrepentant.

A key factor in success is intelligence, but a diverse set of qualities can contribute to wealth.

- The writer is an Innovations Evangelist and a PhD Candidate; [email protected]

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