Being a Genius Is Due to Hard Work, Not High IQ

In fact, some geniuses have average IQ

By on April 17th, 2007 09:34 GMT
Do they call you dumb, a**hole, sucker, idiot and so on?

It does not matter, one day you could be (might become) a genius.

A roundup of IQ studies from Cambridge University Press, shows that being a genius means 99 % hard work. "There are international chess masters that have below-average IQs," said author Dr. K. Anders Ericsson, a professor of psychology at Florida State University in Tallahassee.

"Basically, there is no indication that people with higher IQ are able to reach the top faster. We are finding people who meet the criteria for being skilled surgeons, chess masters, athletes or magicians. Once you start looking at what makes them successful, IQ doesn't make any difference."

They challenge our criteria on evaluating the persons' potential by their IQ. "Instead of selecting children into an elite school based on IQ test, we might speak instead of expertise, talent or even greatness," said Ericsson.

"Examine closely even the most extreme examples - Mozart, Newton, Einstein, Stravinsky - and you find more hard-won mastery than gift. Geniuses are made, not born", the British journalist David Dobbs pointed out.

One research tracking adult graduates of New York City's Hunter College Elementary School, where an admission criterion was an IQ of at least 130, revealed that most of the graduates bore average lives, and very few scored on the top. "There were no superstars, no Pulitzer Prize or MacArthur Award winners, and only one or two familiar names," said lead researcher Rena Subotnik, a psychologist with the American Psychological Association.

The Cambridge analysis points the three keys to success: hard work, persistence and a solid upbringing.

And all the people who got international fame had invariably worked with a high level mentor. "Ability doesn't seem to have anything to do with it. You need to accumulate your experience. Perfect practice makes perfect. If you're out playing tennis and you miss an overhand volley, the game will go on. The next time the identical situation happens, you're not going to be more successful. In order to improve, you need a special training environment where a mentor will give you appropriate shots," said Erricsson.

Ericsson shows that genius status is achieved when one puts in five times extra work and 10 years of effort more than average people do. "A lot of people think (that) highly talented people can become good at anything rapidly. But what this study says(suggests) is that nobody has been able to rise without having practiced(practised) for 10 years. In [classical] music right now, it takes more than 15-20 years before they start winning in competitions", said Ericsson.

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