Q & A - 5 Steps to make it Big - Part 3

How much does one’s IQ (intelligence quotient) really matter:

The creator of the standard IQ test was a young professor of psychology at Stanford University when he met Henry Cowell—a boy raised in poverty but a master of music having an IQ of above 140: near genius level. Fascinated by his discovery, the professor went on to conduct a series of exhaustive intelligence tests to select 1,470 children whose IQ’s ranged over 140, some as high as 200. These young geniuses were called “Termites” and became the subjects of one of the most famous psychological studies in the history. The professor believed the “termites” to be the future Nobel laureates of their fields, the heroes of the nation. Yet, as he charted the course of their lives, there were only a few who ended up being National figures, majority of them had ordinary careers and a surprising number ended up with failed careers.


Who was this Professor and what was the result of this finding that led psychologist Barry Schwartz to propose that elite schools should give up their tests altogether and simply hold a lottery for students scoring more than certain marks?


And the Answer is…

Lewis Terman was the professor. It was found that IQ matters only up to a point. Just like a basketball game, as a British psychologist Liam Hudson had said, where you need to be more than six or six one to have a real shot at playing, but after that it does not matter much whether you are six eight or six nine. What matters more, once this threshold is reached, are your other skills in the field. Similarly, you need to be only clever enough to get into Harvard or to win a Nobel Prize. Once you have reached the threshold, it’s your other skills-more practice, people skills etc. and the opportunities you get along the way that matter more and create all the difference.

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