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Why Grit is More Important Than Intelligence

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Hey, super smart people. Got some news for you.

During a recent TED Talk, psychologist Angela Lee Duckworth said that while intelligence matters, a high IQ is not the greatest predictor of success. (Click here to Tweet this thought.) Rather, the key is to have grit, or determination — the willingness to push through even when the odds are against you.

Watch Duckworth’s short lecture, and then we’ll keep going:

OK, so grit matters more than any other talent or trait. That means a great deal for your career, especially in these top cities for job-seeking Millennials. Which means it’s time to start asking yourself some hard questions.

Do you have grit when…

You apply to 10 jobs and get no response? Can you find the motivation to keep firing off resumes until someone answers?

You send off a job application and want to make sure it was received? Do you ask via email or phone call, and do you refuse to let up until you get a response?

You sit down to write yet another cover letter? Do you have the discipline to make sure it’s tailored to the particular job — even though all that writing is tedious and a giant pain?

You prepare for a job interview? That means knowing the four questions to ask an employer and taking the time to research the company beforehand.

You have no energy, after a draining day of work, to attend a networking event? Do you dig deep and go anyway because you never know who you’ll meet?

You wrap up a networking situation? Grit means you take time to write a thank you note, even if someone only connects you from one person to another. (Use these templates to get started.)

You get passed over for a promotion? Gritty people then work twice as hard, rather than checking out mentally or looking for a new gig.

You realize you lack certain skills? Do you voluntarily teach yourself what you need, even if it won’t result in a raise or bonus?

You start a side hustle? Here are nine reasons why you should stick with it.

You hit a low point and life doesn’t seem to be working out? As Duckworth said, all the smarts in the world won’t save you. Your best weapon is a heavy dose of determination.

Do you think grit is more important than intelligence? Share your opinion in the comments!

This post originally appeared on News to Live By.

Danny Rubin is a PR professional in Virginia Beach. He also writes News To Live By, a blog that shows us the career advice that’s hidden in the day’s top stories. Danny is also the author of 25 Things Every Young Professional Should Know by Age 25, available on Amazon. Follow him at @NewsToLiveBy.

Brazen powers real-time, online events for leading organizations around the world. Our lifestyle and career blog, Brazen Life, offers fun and edgy ideas for ambitious professionals navigating the changing world of work.

  • CareerAddict

    Though there is a common misconception that the most intelligent gets the job – I believe that its definitely true you need a confident personality to back that intelligence up. There is also the type who don’t have the intelligence yet have enough confidence and ‘grit’ as above mentioned to convince anyone they do! This is what is happening in the world today, and with confidence and determination, you get noticed. You can be extremely intelligent but without pushing your way to the top you may remain unnoticed at the bottom of the career ladder. Of course ideally intelligence along with ‘grit’ is what makes a true leader! So the moral of the story is; If you have the intelligence – work on your grit, and vice versa. The more well rounded you are in this dog-eat-dog world the better!

  • Barbara Mckinney

    I’d agree that character is so much more important than IQ. Life is more than how much you know, it’s more about who you are.

  • jrandom421

    No job is fun all the time, and most careers have aspects that can’t be made easier by an intelligent approach. There are times you need to just get started and grind your way through with determination, tenacity, and patience, and there’s no way around it/
    Anyone saying different is lying to you.