Intelligence is like a knife. If you are intelligent, you are at a clear advantage against people who are not intelligent. But if you are intelligent, and another person is not as intelligent, but the other person is willing to train harder than you, the other person will very quickly overtake you in ability.
But there is a point where every intelligent person faces something that requires more than intelligence. It requires hard work, it requires the ability to fail, it requires being able to do tough tasks, boring tasks. For the first time in their life, in spite of their intelligence, these intelligent people are challenged, and they start failing. Like when they first attempt to create a startup.
I asked him: How did you do it? How did you start from being an immigrant to become executive material? He told me: I got this far because I’m intelligent. He continued: But there were many many people as intelligent as I am who graduated together with me. They are still engineers right now. The difference between me and them is that when I arrived, I knew that I did not have family here in france, I did not have connections. And I knew there were a lot of other people as intelligent as I was, and who had all these advantages. The only way to be successful then would be to gain a slight advantage over them – I had to work and train harder than they did, I had to get to know more people than they did, I had to learn more about more things that they did.
We started off equals, but at some point all the effort I put in started to pay off, and where they stopped improving themselves, I continued, and I got better and better.
If you think that just having a knife will make you win any battle you fight, then you will fail. This believe in your own inherent ability is what will kill your startup. Success comes from the work and ability you put in becoming better than the others, and not from some brilliance you feel you may have within you.
So don’t believe that the brilliance of your idea is what will make you successful. What will make you successful is when you are out there every day, doing something new, challenging yourself, trying new methods, studying new ways, having a lot of small failures, then getting better every day.