This paper investigates the possible answers to what traits are predictors for success? I will be looking into the most common three indicators. First indicator is academic intelligence which is commonly tested by taking a intelligence quotient test. The first I.Q. test was developed by Alfred Binet and has evolved to a social status for the gfted rather than a weeding out test for slow learners as was the initial reason for development.
Next indictor is emotional intelligence. E.Q. is the ability to sort emotions of ourselves and others to allow us to make rational decisions and ascertain the latent motives for actions and thoughts that could help or hinder our career performances. Lastly, Grit is known to be as perseverance and dedication when faced with adversity. A gritty individual is not afraid to put in the time and effort needed to get to where they want to be, no matter how overwhleming it may seem. In conclusion, I.Q., E.Q., or Grit alone does not equal success. People need to have a good intellectual base to build from, enough sense to deal with the emotions of themselves and others, and an unwavering passion to succeed.
I.Q., E.Q. or Grit? Being rich, successful and intelligent are probably three of the most coveted and sought after attributes. To be rich, most people will agree you need to be successful first. To be successful, most people would agree you need to be intelligent. If intelligence is the key to success and riches, then what makes us intelligent? While their are many types of traits that enable a successful future, the specific ones detailed in this paper are the Intelligence Quotient (I.Q.), Emotional Intelligence (commonly referred to as E.Q.), and Grit (defined as perservance for long term goals.). Intelligence Quotient
The History and Use of I.Q. tests Alfred Binet was the creator of the very first widely used intelligence test after being asked by the French Ministry in 1904 to find a way to identify slow learning children so that they can set up a remedial education program for them. During his study of public school children he discovered that seemingly ‘bright children’ responded like older children, while ‘dull children’ responded like children that were chronologically younger than them. This led to development of tests to measure a child’s mental age which consists of questions measuring memory, vocabulary and perceptual discrimination.
The scoring system consists of dividing the child’s mental age by their chronological age which will gives them a number that represents their intelligence quotient. This method has been discovered to possess many flaws such as the generalization of age group scores. In younger children such as 1-3, the scores of the children who take the I.Q. test are tightly clustered around their age group average while the older a child gets, the greater the deviation from their age group average. The test was also not a great indicator of I.Q. for adults as the age group averages were highly unreliable which was especially apparent when a 50 year old person taking the test ended up with the same I.Q. level as a 30 year old making his score a ‘dull’ resulting one. This in turn led to revisions by american psychologists named Lewis Terman and David Wechsler. (Carole Wade, 2013)
Lewis Terman published the Stanford-Binet Intelligence Scale which with its testing questions has an escalating scale. The older the test-taker is, the more the test requires extraordinary verbal comprehension and fluency, spatial ability and reasoning. Another test designed for adults and children is the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Adults and Children.(Table 2) This test was produced by David Wechsler which gave the test-takers a general I.Q. score and also provided them with specific scores for the different kinds of abilities tested such as logic/reasoning, vocabulary, arithmetic, working memory, verbal comprehension, processing speed, and compare/contrast skills.(Table 1) While these tests of intelligence were mainly devised to weed out the slow learning learners from the bright learners, they have evolved into a social standard for intelligence.
What does a high I.Q. score really say about a person? I.Q. tests don’t measure intelligence the way a scale measures weight. They measure intelligence the way a race measures speed. A child can have a genius level I.Q. score of 150 and grow up to be a truck driver or a waitress, or a stay at home parent. A recent article listed well known musicians, actors, and singers as having genius level I.Q.’s. (Huffington Post, 2013) While they are all extremely successful, their career genres aren’t exactly the nuclear scientist type roles people envision highly intelligent people to have. Having an I.Q. score in the 130+ range isn’t the best indicator for success in life and it also doesn’t mean that they are destined to grow up to become scientists, doctors or physicists. In fact, there have many multiple studies done through out the years that have found that it takes more than just academic intelligence to be intelligent. (McClellen, 1973) (Mayer, 1990) (Duckworth, 2007) Emotional Intelligence
What is Emotional Intelligence? Emotional intelligence, often referred to as E.Q., is the ability to assess one’s own and others’ feelings and emotions to use them indiscriminately in guiding how one thinks and their actions. Social psychologists Mayer and Salovey (1990) conceptualized emotional intelligence as having three main branches; appraisal and expression of emotion, regulation of emotion, and utilization of emotion. (Table 3) Appraisal and expression of emotion is defined by Mayer and Salovey as those who are more accurate, can quickly percieve and respond to their own emotions, and express themselves better. These skills are emotionally intelligent because they require processing emotional information objectively rather than subjectively.
Regulation of emotion leads to more adaptive and reinforcing mood states. This is one area of emotional intelligence that Mayer and Salovey stress that individuals be especially adept at. Motivation of others leads to happy endings while mismanagement of emotions can lead to manipulative, sociopathical, nefarious ends.
Utilization of emotions is the harnessing of ones own emotions in order to solve problems. Emotion swings that people experience help to facilitate generation of ones future plans, while positive emotions has the ability to alter memory organization so that the information is better integrated and diverse ideas can be linked together. Emotion is known to interrupt the thought process leading away from the complex thought processes to focus on more pressing needs. Those three branches help enhance the following skills; flexible planning, creative thinking, redirected attention and motivation. (Mayer, 1990)
Approaching life tasks with emotional intelligence puts individuals at an advantage when solving problems that require flexibility and adaptibility. People who develop these skills understand and express their own emotions, recognize emotions in others, and use moods and emotion to motivate. Just as E.Q. can provide someone with the abilities to gain success in life similarily to I.Q., sometimes it all boils down to how a person gets to where they want to be. If there is no drive or ambition to achieve, then people can live and die floating on their plateaus. (Mayer, 1990) Grit
What is Grit? Intellectual and emotional prowess is well established as markers for success but the most under-rated is something called grit. Grit is defined as perserverance and passion for long-term goals. This entails committing strenous work ethic towards challenges, and the ability to maintain an unwavering level of interest over copious amount of years despite all the adversity and plateaus they may come across in their life journies. Picture life as a marathon, you start from point A and need to get to point B. No matter how far away point B seems, no matter how tired you become, no matter how many people who started this journey with you give up along they way beckoning you to join them, you do whatever it takes to get to the end. People with grit are faithful to the end with their stamina as their biggest advantage.
In a study done by Benjamin Bloom regarding the development of world-class pianists, neurologists, swimmers, chess players, mathematicians, and sculptors, he noted that very few were seen as prodigies by their parents, teachers and peers during their youth. The highly accomplished individuals spent years working their way up to the top of their careers never deterred by the obstacles that slid into their paths. These individuals possessed a high level of accomplishment in their respective fields, and a willingness to put in the copious amount of time and effort needed to get to the top. He interestingly noted that the peers in the study who were seen as highly gifted in their youth encompassing all the promise in the world were faced with surprise from their classmates when they did not end within the upper echelons of their field. (Bloom, 1985) Grit and the studies of grit helps to explain the deviations between individuals who make use of small parts of their resources and others who push themselves to their limits. (Duckworth, 2007) Conclusion
So what does traits are good predictors for success? Academic success? Intuitive people skills? Passion? Neither I.Q., E.Q. or Grit alone makes someone successful. While a high I.Q. does indicate a innate ability to process information differently and faster than lower I.Q. scores, it does not mean that you are set to become the worlds next greatest mind. And while an emotionally intelligent individual can sort and sift through the behaviors of themselves and others in a rational way, unless they have a certain amount of grit it does not propell them to achieve. If a person wants to be successful and they have the basic smarts, people skills and motivation to get it, they will be successful. But without a good intellectual framework to build from, or an intuitive sense of emotions and perseverance to make it over every hurdle along the way, we just end up running the same race over and over not going anywhere.
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