To paraphrase Calvin Coolidge, there are plenty of unsuccessful talented people, unrewarded geniuses, and well-educated failures in this world, and nothing will take the place of persistence.
Now, there’s some science to back that up. A paper by Angela Lee Duckworth, published in Psychological Science and appropriately titled Self-Discipline Outdoes IQ in Predicting Academic Performance in Adolescents, proves that self-discipline was a better predictor of final marks than a student’s IQ.
Essentially, Duckworth, a psychologist and former teacher, noticed that some of her brightest students struggled the most, and some of her best students weren’t especially bright. She then conducted a longitudinal study of 140 eighth graders, taking IQs, attendance, teacher reporting, student reporting, parent reporting, and doing a behavioural delay-of-gratification test, and found that self-discipline was twice as important as IQ in predicting student’s success.
“Well, duh,” you’re probably chuckling, maybe from your corner office, definitely in your bespoke suit, “What good is this to me?”
Well, send this TED video to the lazy genius in your life the next time they whine about their idiot boss. They’ll take the hint; they’re a genius, after all.