Smarts and Success

Here’s the problem with success.

A lot of people are not successful because they are not smart.

Yet you meet a lot of successful people who are not smart.

By smart we do not mean IQ, we mean the more general “know what they’re doing” and “aren’t totally delusional head cases.”

It’s obviously hard to draw a clear line around who is what but it’s not an outrageous statement to say that people are often their own worst enemies…many achieve things blissfully unaware of this fact, or on occasion, in spite of it.

This is not so much a paradox as it is the factor of luck (God favors fools, as they say). Or you could call it injustice, I suppose, because sometimes on days where stuff isn’t going well for that rest of us, that’s just how it feels.

But you cannot let this fact of life discourage you. You can never let it be a reason for slacking off or not having your act together. That some idiot might have be rewarded says what, exactly?

That you wish you were more like them? I don’t think so.

Focus on yourself. Attend to the areas where lack of understanding or skills are holding you back. Let the others be “lucky.”

Written by Ryan Holiday
Ryan Holiday is the bestselling author of Trust Me, I’m Lying, The Obstacle Is The Way, Ego Is The Enemy, and other books about marketing, culture, and the human condition. His work has been translated into thirty languages and has appeared everywhere from the Columbia Journalism Review to Fast Company. His company, Brass Check, has advised companies such as Google, TASER, and Complex, as well as Grammy Award winning musicians and some of the biggest authors in the world. He lives in Austin, Texas.