8 Traits You Need to Be Successful (Your IQ Isn’t One of Them)

UPDATED: May 24, 2024
PUBLISHED: February 25, 2016

Is it possible that intelligence is overrated? Although a natural touch for acquiring and making sense of knowledge is undoubtedly a valuable trait in our professional and personal lives, research has shown that there are far more important factors at play when it comes to succeeding at our goals and duties. In fact, the Carnegie Institute of Technology claims that 85 percent of financial success can be attributed to people skills rather than raw brain power. And it makes sense that people prefer to do business with those they trust.

Related: 7 Qualities of People with High Emotional Intelligence

Elsewhere, Dr. Arthur E. Poropat identified five personality traits which—taking intelligence levels into account—can be shown to improve test results. Studying is of course recommended, but conscientiousness, openness, agreeableness, extraversion and emotional stability can also pay off with higher grades.

In the workplace, team-thinking and personal development should be key priorities, not afterthoughts to acquiring technical knowledge. Emotional awareness toward yourself, your colleagues and your clients sits at the core of an effective professional development strategy. In order to do that you need to do two things:

Know yourself. Manage your emotions, identify potential areas of improvement through training or research, take failure or mistakes as lessons and aim to grow.

Know others. Listen for their ideas and needs, work with these in mind even if you disagree with them, let your teammates and your customers see your passion.

Curiosity is a vastly underrated attribute that brings understanding, widens horizons and encourages fellowship. Taking time to study and develop the personality traits highlighted in the infographic below is a good sign in itself: These so-called “soft skills” are in fact fundamental to thriving in the business world. An open mind is endlessly more valuable than one rigidly stuffed with facts and unable to adapt to circumstances.

8 Things That are More Important for Success Than Intelligence

Source: Headway Capital

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