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The Most Important Factor Necessary for Success - Essay Example

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The author states that based on the arguments presented by Gladwell in his book, practical intelligence plays an important role in one’s success. Knowing how to communicate, building relationships and acting responsibly are some of the skills that practical intelligence instills in an individual. …
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The Most Important Factor Necessary for Success
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Lecturer Essay # THE MOST IMPORTANT FACTOR NECESSARY FOR SUCCESS In this book, Gladwell seems to discredit the notion that high IQautomatically translates into success. He however argues that if one wants to understand the chances of a person succeeding, it is important to look at more than intelligence. According to Gladwell , ‘practical intelligence’ is the single most important factor necessary for one to succeed. He defines this as the knowledge that allows an individual to read situations and get what he/she wants. Practical intelligence is the kind of knowledge that makes a person know what to say, when to say and how to say it. In this book, Gladwell uses the example of Robert Oppenheimer, a physicist, who even after attempting to murder his tutor, managed to convince the authorities and was removed from probation. Oppenheimer possessed the kind of practical intelligence that allowed him to get what he wanted from life. Gladwell contrasts Oppenheimer’s abilities to those of Chris Langan who despite having a high IQ, failed to convince his professors to move his classes from morning to the afternoon. Unlike IQ which comes from our genes, Gladwell points out that practical intelligence is the kind of knowledge that has to be learnt. In most cases, the skills and attitudes that make up the practical intelligence come from our families. The things that happen in families shape how individuals grow up and how they respond to challenges. These experiences help one to grow his/her practical intelligence, and this translates into success in future. For example, Gladwell reports the findings of the study by Terman, who showed that children raised in middle and upper class families tend to be alert, well dressed, poised and attractive compared to those raised in poor families (Gladwell, 112). These are the key aspects of practical intelligence that leads to success. Practical intelligence determines how a person presents him/herself to the world, and this affects his/her chances of success.
Based on the arguments presented by the author, I agree that practical intelligence plays an important role in one’s success. Knowing how to communicate, building relationships and acting responsibly are some of the critical skills that practical intelligence instills in an individual. As noted by the author, IQ only works to a given point, beyond which it does not provide any significant advantages to the individual. What is needed to provide the advantages beyond those provided by IQ is practical intelligence. The success of an individual is not solely based on the qualities and abilities he/she is born with but rather on what he/she learns. This knowledge is critical in making the person adapt to the world and understand how to deal with the challenges presented. Although Gladwell has mainly focused on practical intelligence, I believe that self drive is an important factor necessary for success. Even though artificial intelligence can be learnt from our families and those around us, one has to have the drive or desire to learn these skills. Even if one is brought up in the best family, this will not be of any advantage if he/she lacks self drive. In addition, although a person may possess a certain talent or ability, it requires self drive in order to fully nurture the talent. Success belongs to those people who are willing to learn and take up challenges and opportunities. This is achieved only when a person has the inner drive to do so.
Works Cited
Gladwell, Malcolm. Outliers: The Story of Success. Little, Brown and Company, 2008. Read More
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