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Monday, June 22, 2009

Intelligence does not determine success

I answered quite a few questions the past couple weeks about surviving in the field of respiratory therapy, either in RT school or in the RT Cave. I described that success is not defined by how smart you are, but by how hard you work.

Of course this is common sense, but I did find this described in greater detail in a book I found in my basement: "The Psychologist's book of Self Tests." Thus, as the author describes, a high IQ score does not necessarily equate to success:

So, what does it mean if you obtained a high score on this test? Consider yourself fortunate. It is a clear advantage to be born intelligent. People with high IQ scores get better grades in school, score better on achievement tests, go further i school, and have a greater likelihood of having a professional career. Also, there is a tendency for extremely bright people to have higher self-esteem, more energy, more athletic ability, happier marriages, and even better sex lives. These people also have a lower than average incidence of a variety of problems, including severe psychological problems, alcoholism, and criminality. Of course there are exceptions, but taken as a whole, highly intelligent people do stand out in a number of ways.

You high scorers shouldn't be too smug, though. A high IQ score is by no means a guarantee of success. Every year countless college students with impressive Colllege Board Scores flunk out of school while their modestly endowed peers make the Deans list... the reality is that qualities such as motivation, perseverance, and curiosity more than make up for a modest IQ score. What you do with your life is much more important than how you score on a standardized test.

As evidence of the importance of personality characteristics, it has been demonstrated that while intelligence does predict one's level of occupational status, it does not predict one's degree of success within a particular occupation level. So if you are bright enough to make it through medical school, for example, you have as much of a chance to be a successful physician as your more intelligent classmates. It does require a certain level of intelligence to master complex material, but as long as you have the requisite mental ability, your personal qualities will then determine how good you are in your chosen field.

So, there you have it. Whether or not you succeed as an RT, or any other field for that matter, is not determined by how intelligent you are, it is determined by how hard you work.

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