Failures and breakthroughs – exposed, reflected, considered

Why do intelligent and smart people fail?

with 2 comments

What is the difference between smart and intelligent people?. Intelligence has more to do with our genetics and inborn abilities whereas smartness is generally a skill which can be built on top of intelligence. Or, put it more succinctly:

If we imagine intelligence as the capacity of our brain, smartness would be the art of filling it. In other words, maybe your room ( intelligence) isn’t really big but you are very good in filling it and using it most effectively ( smartness).

However smart and intelligent a person might be, he/she is still prone to fail.

According to In Search of Human Mind (by Robert Sternberg), intelligent people fail because of one or few of the reasons below:

  1. Lack of motivation
  2. Lack of impulse control
  3. Lack of perseverance
  4. Using wrong abilities
  5. Inability to translate thought into action
  6. Lack of product orientation
  7. Inability to complete tasks
  8. Failure to initiate
  9. Fear of failure
  10. Procrastination
  11. Misattribution of blame
  12. Excessive self-pity
  13. Excessive dependency
  14. Wallowing in personal difficulties
  15. Distraction and lack of concentration
  16. Spreading oneself too thin or too thick
  17. Inability to delay gratification
  18. Inability to see the forest for the trees
  19. Lack of balance between critical, analytical thinking and creative, synthetic thinking
  20. Too little or too much self-confidence

Smart people have a different set of potential reasons directly or indirectly overlapping with the reasons of failure for intelligent:

  1. Their goals are lot bigger
  2. What makes them smart makes them ineffective competitors
  3. They falsely mistake most people as being more like them than they are
  4. Thinking by itself is not a success
  5. They require different kinds of stimulation

What other reasons can you think of that make intelligent and smart people fail?

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Written by Hayk

March 3, 2009 at 10:14 am

2 Responses

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  1. The jealousy and enmity of others

    Pasta Salad

    March 9, 2012 at 3:19 am

  2. the know-it-all sydrome that pevents them from discovering the strengths of delegation and working in a team

    ijeoma

    April 12, 2012 at 4:02 pm


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