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A short while back I sent the following inquiry to a renowned physicist and professor at a very prestigious university:
“I have a question of which I hope you can share your opinion. Can a person with an average IQ become a great physicist if he or she works consistently hard at learning, or is the mastery of high-end physics beyond the reach of the ordinary student?”
Graciously, the professor took some time out of his busy schedule to respond to my question, and his answer was both thoughtful and insightful. Here is what he had to say:
“I would say that 99% of being a good physicist, like anything else, is hard work. You could get to the highest levels, even winning the Nobel prize, through hard work, networking, and of course a great deal of knowledge and intelligence, but not necessarily an innate ability. However, fundamental theoretical physics is now so advanced that to follow it you have to be able keep a lot of variables and summation indices in your head, and you have to be able to have insights about them. I find that very hard to do, and I might concede that in that case there is some ‘IQ’ or innate cognitive ability that is critical.”
As you can see, the professor expressed his opinion that 99% of all achievement comes from hard work. Said another way, it is within the reach of the average person to go extraordinarily far in any endeavor if he or she is willing to put forth consistent effort. Key to success is to make targeted and practical goals, stick to them, and work with concentrated focus every day to reach them. Above all, believe in yourself. As the late Napoleon Hill said, “Whatever the mind can conceive and believe, it can achieve.”
“Failure is not the end of success; it’s the beginning of a new triumph. Learn from your mistakes; grow from them; prosper from them.”
— R. Drucker
- Keep your thoughts to yourself.
- Stick to the status quo.
- Walk in line.
- Play it safe and avoid taking risks.
- Follow all rules.
- Suppress your passions.
- “Blend in” with a crowd.
- Avoid confrontation of any kind.
- Fear failure.
- Expect nothing.
- Accomplish nothing.
- Be nothing.
Here’s a career-building tip from Paul Lynn via his superb class on Udemy, The Superstar Manager Course.
“Harmony is achieved when the strategies executed below you align with the goals set above you and the vision set at the top.”
If you can establish such harmony with the people who work under you, your career is likely going to be a very profitable one. Sadly, this is truth which relatively few managers understand and even fewer live by.
“In all great successes we can trace the power of concentration, riveting every faculty upon one unwavering aim; perseverance in the pursuit of an undertaking in spite of every difficulty; and courage which enables one to bear up under all trials, disappointments, and temptations.”
These powerful words were uttered by Orison Swett Marden over 100 years ago. They are as true today as they were back then. Memorize them — live by them — and your success will be virtually unlimited.
“To be stimulated to break through mental barriers, and to perform at consistently higher levels, some unusual stimulus must fill you with emotional excitement or some idea of necessity must induce you to make the extra effort of will.”
— Mike Mentzer
“The role of chance, accident, and tradition in an individual’s life stands in inverse ratio to the power of his philosophical equipment.”
— Ayn Rand
Back in 1919, a woman named Sarah Grand offered some really sound success advice. She said,
“Just do a thing and don’t talk about it. This is the great secret of success in all enterprises. Talk means discussion; discussion means irritation; irritation means opposition, and opposition means hindrance always whether you are right or wrong.”
Take it from Ms. Grand — speak less and work more. Its results which count, not endless talk about what you plan to do.