What separates geniuses from the rest of us? Are we born with the genius gift or is it developed? Does being a genius guarantee success? These are all questions that have haunted the minds of psychologists, academics, and entrepreneurs.
Knowing what makes a genius and more important what guarantees success can widen the gap between us and the top 1%. Perhaps we’re all capable of great success beyond our SAT scores and resulting careers. When scientists followed 5,000 gifted kids across 45 years in one of the biggest and longest studies ever, here’s what they learned about success.
The Most In Depth Study Of Top Success
In the 1970s, a team decided to get together and launch a full-scale study, identifying America’s gifted kids and tracking them throughout their lives. They called it the Study of Mathematically Precocious Youth.
The study never ended and is now almost 45 years in the making. It followed several kids from middle school all the way into their careers. The study watched them grow to become America’s top politicians, scientists, CEOs, engineers, and military leaders. It has become the biggest and most in-depth study on intellectual “precociousness.”
This study allows a deep insight into the minds and lives of those who make it all the way to the top to note what makes them special and whether we’re all capable of that kind of success and intelligence.
Gifts Have To Be fostered
One of the biggest lessons taken from this study is that it doesn’t matter if we’re born with the highest IQS because even the brightest kids need guidance in order to effectively use their gifts. There is a fine balance between fostering a kid’s talent and special ability at a young age and pushing them too hard that we actually harm them. A kid who gets no attention might also never know the depth of their capacities.
According to psychologist David Lubinski, kids don’t simply “find a way” to succeed even if their minds aren’t nurtured and developed. After all, geniuses are still human. “They’re kids,” he explains. “They need guidance. We all need guidance.”
Intelligence Doesn’t Mean Passion
Another takeaway from this study is that intelligence doesn’t matter by itself without passion. Success requires equal parts smarts and motivation. First of all, not all gifted kids automatically want to become scientists or doctors. They all have their unique personalities and drives. There is a risk in pushing them to pursue “smart” fields without listening to their interests.
“Quantitatively, gifted people vary widely in their passions,” Lubinski says. Some also want to be writers, musicians, or lawyers and should be encouraged to pursue what sparkles their eyes. “There are all kinds of ways to express intellectual talent,” Lubinski adds. This isn’t a waste of their gift but a way to channel it.
Anyone Can Get To The Top
The good news is you don’t have to be labeled a genius to succeed. The study found that “anyone can get to the top with enough focused effort of the right kind.” Lubinski warns that the study’s findings can be applied to all students.
All kids have potential and should be given equal opportunity. if we take these chances away simply on the assumption that they’re reserved for only a certain kind of child, we risk eliminating success for many future leaders of tomorrow.
“You have to find out where your child’s development is, how fast they learn, what are their strengths and relative weaknesses and tailor the curriculum accordingly,” Lubinski says. “It’s what you would want for all kids.
It Doesn’t Come Easy
It Can’t Be Forced
There is a chance that a non-genius who was given the same opportunity could have know equal success with the right tools and guidance. The study encourages achievement and happiness with patience.
The study’s co-director warns against pushing children to become geniuses as it can “lead to all sorts of social and emotional problems.” This is where drive, motivation, and passion play a big role. With passion, you can be the smartest person in the world and not get anywhere.
The Top 1%
What separates us from the 1% of the population? The elites multi-billionaires who know great success today weren’t just born into it. Some notable one-percenters who have passed through the center include Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, Google co-founder Sergey Brin and Lady Gaga.
These top leaders of our society were once children with a gift who were given an opportunity. Researchers also looked at additional factors like college enrollment and career paths later in life. They found that me most-gifted kids went on to earn doctorates and graduate degrees. In fact, Most sit among the top 5% of income earners.
It turns out that when nurtured and given the right tools, a genius can gain a lot of power and reach the top.“Whether we like it or not, these people really do control our society,” said Jonathan Wai, psychologist.
Intelligences Comes In Different Shapes
Just like people, Intelligence is highly varied and comes in all sorts of shapes and sizes. Being smart isn’t all about books. It’s not just about memory, rendition, and calculation. There is also an element of emotional intelligence ad a great capacity for spatial reasoning.
In fact, follow-up surveys found a strong connection between spatial-reasoning skills and the number of patents filed and peer-reviewed papers published. These people were able to visualize numbers, systems, ad maybe even entire books on the spot.
It’s All About Mindset
Psychologist Carol Dwecs found that successful people tend to keep a “growth mindset” as opposed to a “fixed mindset.” It’s not enough to be a genius. We need to be fluid beings capable of adapting and constantly seeking growth.
If there’s one takeaway here it’s that to reach great success, we need to take risks and never remain static. We need to find our natural abilities and use them to our advantage. We need to not only seek opportunities but create them. We have the capacity of widening the gap between us and the top 1%.
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Aria Misty is a recent university grad. She did her undergrad in media, information & technoculture with a Master in Journalism & Communications in 2018.
Aria has a particular interest in all things astrology and spirituality. This is driven by her desire to create healing. In fact, Aria went back to school for A master’s in counseling p[…]