You Don’t Have to be Smart to be Successful

For a long time, the acquisition of knowledge has been a part of my success strategy. For much of my first career, all I needed to do was to be a little bit ahead of the game, to possess the bit of knowledge that the people around me didn’t have. I became something of an expert (although I don’t really like the term) in several fields and learned how to acquire knowledge not just from traditional sources such as reading, but also from processes such as introspection, trial and error and problem solving.

In recent years though, I have come to realise that really successful people often do not possess a lot of knowledge, they are not usually any smarter than the rest of us, they simply are completely focussed on achieving what they set out to do. If that is smart, then ok, perhaps they are kind of smart, but not in the conventional sense of the word. This, of course, is good news for the rest of us: we simply don’t need a great deal of knowledge to become really successful.

Actually I remember, way back, listening to one of those motivational tapes when someone – I don’t remember who – actually said something to the same effect. I remember it as, ‘I started to taste success when I came to realise that it did not depend upon my ability but my desire’. That’s quite a profound statement when you come to think about it. Of course, the statement fits in very well with what Napoleon Hill said about desire. You may recall that it was one of his 13 principles of success:

• Desire
• Faith
• Auto-Suggestion
• Specialised Knowledge
• Imagination
• Organised Planning
• Decision
• Persistence
• The Mastermind
• Transmutation
• Subconscious
• The Brain
• 6th Sense

As you can see from the above, specialised knowledge was there too, so it’s not as if you can abandon the acquisition of the knowledge you will need in your chosen field. However, Hill suggests that there are other equally important elements you need to think about. Although I don’t, personally, buy everything on that list, it’s nevertheless interesting and thought-provoking.

Hill says that desire is the starting point for success. It is very difficult to deny that. You really have to want success before you can have it, but there’s more to it than just wanting success. There are many youngsters who appear on TV reality shows telling us just how much they want success. When asked why the viewers should vote for them, it is quite common to hear them say something like that.

Yes, you have got to want it, but you have also got to earn it. You need desire, but you also need belief, or faith, if you prefer. However, you also need to have the necessary ability. When you have those three things (desire, belief and ability) you have at least the capacity to achieve your goals. Without any one of these three things, I believe you are ill-equipped.

You can have the desire and the belief, but without ability, all that wanting will get you nowhere. You can have all the ability in the world and all the faith you need, but without desire, you won’t find the motivation. You can want or desire success and you can have the ability too, but without belief you do not possess that essential mental attribute that separates champions from the remainder of the field.

Do you have all three attributes? If so, you have a great chance. If not, the question becomes: can you acquire these things? The ability, sure, I am convinced that you can learn everything you need in order to be successful. You can certainly acquire knowledge and skills to the necessary level if you are persistent. What about faith? Well, I think you can acquire faith too. You can develop your self-confidence (self-belief) in various ways.

But what about desire: can you acquire desire? I am not so sure. Personally, I think it has to be there – inside you. But, do you know something? I think it is there, already inside you, waiting to be discovered. Somewhere, deep within, there is a desire, the fulfillment of which will bring you all the satisfaction you ever wanted. The desire that is within you – the Deepest Desire of Your Heart – is your life-purpose, your vocation or your calling. You are not here by accident. Life holds a purpose for you and the most important thing you can do is to find it.

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