Success can be measured in a number of ways and I’m not going to get into that here, but let’s simply call success better than expected outcomes of any activity. It is often difficult to determine what factors contribute to success. Some say luck plays a part and that may be true, but intelligence, knowledge, experience and perseverance are mostly responsible. The synergy of these four attributes is powerful and each helps overcome shortcomings of the other.
Intelligence is genetic; thank your parents. Intelligence allows one to be intuitive, calculate, deduct and apply common sense. It is often thought of as the most important attribute of these four. That is not true, but it does provide a way for one to think his/her way through problems without the knowledge and experience needed with less intelligence.
Knowledge is learned information. Some call it book smarts. Intelligence facilitates efficiency in learning, but perseverance can almost overcome lack of intelligence. “Study hard and you can get the same grades as a smart kid,” my parents told me. Intelligence and knowledge can get you a long way towards success, but as every employer knows, dues still need to be paid to earn accomplishment and credibility.
“Nothing beats experience” is certainly a cliché and arguably true, but knowledge gained from experience alone can be limiting. An example is someone who only knows their job function. They may know it well, but cannot adapt to new challenges. However, knowledge gained from experience combined with intelligence and powered by perseverance is the ideal recipe for success. This Holy Grail of attributes can almost overcome any obstacle.
Without perseverance nothing else matters. It is the engine that drives success. Too many times we have seen the smart guy that doesn’t meet expectations, the senior person that always just skims by, or the know-it-all that can’t make it happen. Guided by goal setting, perseverance is most important and over time can overcome deficiencies in the other three attributes. The tortoise wins the race…I think I can…Try, try again… You get the picture.
The next time you face a challenge evaluate your cache of each of these attributes, then apply the most effort to the ones you have a deficit. This assures the best balance and arms you to achieve success.