Are You Too Smart To Be Successful In Business?

Can intelligence prevent you from being wildly successful in business? Researchers insist that it's highly probable.

Can intelligence prevent you from being wildly successful in business?

Researchers insist that it’s highly probable. “Having greater intelligence can actually make you a more foolish person because intelligence breeds hubris, according to sociologists who study how intelligent people make life decisions,” according to Big Think writer Orion Jones.

“When a person becomes aware that they are smart relative to those around them, they become blind to biases that plague our ability to understand the world. In this sense, intelligence is a kind of hindrance that keeps us from moving past our mistakes.”

Research proposes that intelligence can be burdensome in a couple of ways:


  • High intelligence cultivates mental blind spots.

    Studies suggest a harsh reality: “greater intelligence does not equate to wiser decisions; in fact, in some cases it might make your choices a little more foolish” (BBC). This is owed in part to the bias blind spot. “That is, they are less able to see their own flaws, even when though they are quite capable of criticizing the foibles of others.”

  • Above average intelligence creates leadership gaps.

    People who are intelligent – who are ‘deep thinkers’ – usually find themselves outside of the ‘social norm.’ While they are creative and think outside the box, many have trouble making friends. When people are not at the same mental level, it is extremely difficult to relate in any way.” For entrepreneurs this can prove problematic when the time comes to lead and grow a team.

“The main problem with high IQ [people] is they don’t understand, ‘A change in perspective is worth 80 IQ points,'” entrepreneur and investor Sizhao Zao Yang explains. “High IQ only measures processing power for a given person, but doesn’t measure rationality and perspective.”

Yang asserts, “Real life execution includes very specific expertise that may include: ethics, trust, product, engineering, bd, marketing expertise.  If you don’t know that rounded corners, gradients, and smooth animation make or break a product, it doesn’t even matter if you can do Math problems faster than other people.  You aren’t even aware that you’re incompetent in certain areas.”


Intellectual Humility

One way to overcome the stumbling blocks of high intelligence is to practice intellectual humility. “To achieve significant and challenging knowledge, you’ll need some virtues. One of those virtues is intellectual humility,” says Robert Roberts, a Professor of Ethics at Baylor University.

However, for some, that is easier said than done. “Humility is widely under-rated in most Western cultures… It’s also widely misunderstood – maybe that’s why it’s under-rated” (Psychology Today).

“Humility is less a matter of self-restraint and more a matter of self-esteem. The greater your sense of self-worth, the easier it is to appreciate others, to praise them, and to encourage them.”

Jeremie Kubicek, the founder of GiANT and author of “Making Your Leadership Come Alive: 7 Actions to Increase Your Influence” agrees: “True humility isn’t about lowering yourself for the sake of keeping up appearances simply because it’s impolite to brag—but to do so for the sake of serving others. ‘Humility isn’t about thinking less of yourself,’ as the British writer C.S. Lewis once put it, ‘but thinking of yourself less.'”


Building A Bridge

However, Thought Catalog contributor Kovie Biakolo asserts, “If calling myself intelligent offends you; well, build a bridge…”

Biakolo suggests, “It’s a lose-lose situation in terms of your identity. You can’t call yourself intelligent without being seen as an arrogant prick. But you also can’t also call yourself otherwise, without everyone seeing you as pretentious.”

Perhaps, “half the time, you’re not even defining yourself by your intelligence, other people are. But the minute you take the time to address it, you’re pompous. You’re silent? You’re summoned to speak. You talk? You’re being smug. Nope, you can’t win. Ever.”


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