Hard work will always beat intelligence, only if intelligence doesn’t work hard enough.
And this is a good thing.
Most intelligent people don’t work hard enough, they become complacent and feel entitled in their own bubble of superiority.
I’ve seen it so many times.
I’m a loser, but at least I know I’m smart. So I got that going on for me.
You cannot control how intelligent or gifted you are. What is intelligence? The ability to memorize a book word by word? Or the ability to rationalize and be creative in order to create new models for the world? It’s debatable and the IQ tests that make you match cubes and triangles are no clear predictors of what your actual “intellect” is capable of accomplishing.
What you can control instead is how hard you work. This is where you need to excel, if you create an outstanding work ethic for you that will compound over time, you will get further than any person who just bets the whole farm on their intelligence.
You might be outsmarted, but you cannot be outworked.
Will Smith said the following in an interview once:
“You might be faster than me, you might be better looking than me, you might be more talented than me, you might beat me in 9 out of 10 categories. But if we get on the treadmill together, there’s two things that can happen: You either get off first or I’m gonna die.”
The same applies for intelligence. Adversity and obstacles are the elements that create experiences and memories to know how to tackle situations better next time. A muscle grows only if it’s subjected to contractions.
If you are smart and you don’t encounter these obstacles in your path eventually you will be left behind by the people who decided to put in 150% more than you. Some smart people even make the mistake of only pursuing opportunities they know they can conquer, they fear to lose their highest sense of validation, their superior brains.
I once met a guy in his 40’s who told me that when he was a kid he achieved a high enough score (around 148 IQ) to join Mensa. After a bad experience he had in his childhood, he took the IQ test 10 years later and his IQ dropped to 135. He then told me that from that day on he never took an IQ test ever again because he was afraid to see his number go down. Also, he made sure never to go again through situations that challenged him in order to preserve his mental health.
Now I don’t know about you but that just sounds ridiculous. I would rather burn my brains out living an exciting life, working hard for my dreams and getting challenged every day in order to build a life I want even if I get Alzheimer in my 60’s instead of just living comfortably until I’m 90 to preserve my IQ.
Bobby Fischer was a chess prodigy. When he beat everyone in the US he started learning Russian and reading their chess magazines in order to learn their moves so that later he could beat them in international championships.
That’s when intelligence also meets hard work.
You cannot have it all, but you can achieve a lot if you just put in the extra mile.
“Working hard beats being smart. Working smart beats working hard.”
Do you see what the common denominator is in both these sentences?
There is no way around it.