Your high IQ will kill your startup

    This is my translation of Max Klein's article - Your high IQ will kill your startup . Honestly, I don’t know who he is. Just looking through the morning, the Delicious hotlist saw his article and, after reading it, wanted to share it with you.


    In 2004, while in Brazil, I went down the hill to Lapa for lunch. I had a friend with whom I met at the hotel - his name was Ofer. The topic of our conversation was intelligence and its role in success.

    A man came out to meet us, from the side of the road. He held a knife in one hand and a bottle in the other. In Portuguese, he told us to give our things back. I was confused and did not know what to do. And Ofer began to quickly tell him not to rob us.

    I must tell you that Ofer was an Israeli soldier. He hated violence in any form, but he knew how to be tough.

    The robber broke the bottle on the ground and rushed at us. I ran, and Ofer stayed and tried to persuade the attacker not to commit a crime. The robber made several attacks, and each time Ofer simply dodged to the side.

    And finally, Ofer knocked out his weapon, hit him, and he fell to the ground. Then he told me to run, and we ran down the hill to the restaurant.

    When we sat, Ofer continued to talk about our topic. He said: this confirms what I was talking about. The man with the knife did not know how to use this knife. If he had been trained in knife fighting, just like melee, he could have killed me. But he just had a tool that gave him a sense of superiority, but this is nothing compared to a man without a tool, but who knows how to use what he has.

    The mind is like a knife. If you are smart, then you have a clear advantage over those who are not very smart. But if you are smart, and the other person (not smart) will train more than you, then he will quickly compare with your abilities.

    How your intellect will destroy you

    People who were born smart, all beginnings are given easily. They don’t need to strain to get good grades, they don’t need to spend a lot of effort to move forward. The main occupation in youth is school, and it is intended for ordinary people. Therefore, smarts just flow with the flow.

    But the time comes when every smart person is faced with something that requires more than just intelligence. It requires hard work, it requires the ability to survive failure, it requires boring tasks in harsh conditions. For the first time in their lives, despite their intelligence, they are being questioned, and they fail. For example, when you first try to create a startup.

    And here most of them recede. They focus on things that they cannot do, and forget about other, more important things. They begin to look for the guilty (for example, the education system). They linger. They do not face new problems, because they think that they will not be able to cope with them, and this does not fit into their worldview that they are invincible.

    Now let me tell you another story.
    In 2007, I had lunch with my friend’s father in Paris. He is currently vice president of one of the top 5 consulting companies in the world. He is a Jewish immigrant from Morocco. Arriving in France in the 70s without money and connections, he did what allowed him to become vice president, despite the fact that he studied as an engineer.

    I asked him: how did you do this? How did you start with an immigrant, and became the head of the company?
    He answered me: I have achieved this because I am smart. But there were many as smart when I graduated. They are still engineers. The difference between us is that when I came here, I realized that I have no family here, no connections. And there were a lot of smart guys who had all these advantages. The only way to become successful then was to get an advantage over them - I had to work and prepare more than I needed, I had to get to know more people than them, I had to learn more than they did.

    We started on an equal footing, but at some point all the efforts that I made began to pay off, where others stopped and stopped improving themselves, I continued, and my situation was getting better and better. Where they were afraid to try new things, out of fear that they could not succeed, I tried and I felt better. Thus, I gained experience and knowledge until I became good enough for the work that I now have.

    What does this have to do with you

    Being smart is like having a knife. If you exercise every day, you will be invulnerable. But if you think that just having a knife can win any battle, then you will lose. This blind faith in your own abilities will destroy your startup. Success comes with work and your ability to become a little better than others, and not because of the genius that is in you, as you think.

    Therefore, do not think that if you have a brilliant idea, this is all that is needed for success. Successful daily classes, searches for new ways, learning new ways that have many small failures will make you successful. All this will make you the best.

    UPD: Moved to translations.

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