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Why confidence always trumps intelligence

Sonal Mishra
30th Jul 2016
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Success surely comes after hard work, but early success could be the result of your confidence! You don't always need degrees and a high IQ to be successful. Given the emphasis placed on education and intelligence by society, it should naturally mean that the smartest people enjoy the most success and power. But this isn’t always the case. The world’s richest dropouts include Henry Ford, Richard Branson, Bill Gates, Steve Jobs and newer business icons like Tumblr’s founder, David Karp and the mastermind behind Wordpress, Matt Mullenweg. Even though there are a number of factors attributed to their success, confidence was, most likely, the most important one.

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Perhaps, a ridiculously high IQ might help you solve a complex problem in ten different ways, but it won’t be of any use if you are unable to communicate your reasoning with confidence. If you are a confident person, you would know how to pitch your tent in the right places. Being a ‘people’s person’ is a trait of highly confident people. If others are willing to lend your an ear, half your battle is won.

The same is applicable for entrepreneurs these days. It doesn't matter how good or bad your business idea is. If you know how to talk people into it with confidence, success will be yours. While some people are remarkably confident, rather genetically wired to be so, most struggle all their lives to induce self-confidence.

"It is confidence in our bodies, minds, and spirits that allows us to keep looking for new adventures." – Oprah Winfrey

According to David S. Rose, entrepreneur, angel investor and author of Angel Investing, it is very important for entrepreneurs to have an unreasonable level of confidence or they’ll never get started in the first place. “Starting a company is extraordinarily difficult, even agonising. You need the confidence to get through it,” he says.

Confidence pushes you to take risks

The fact that so many startups fail every year is no more a secret. The whole game is a gamble – some win, some lose. However, entrepreneurs are risk-takers, and this is the result of a confidence. A smart person with a high IQ but low confidence would primarily focus on financial stability and might fear taking risks. It takes a whole of lot of courage and self-confidence to take the amount of risks that entrepreneurs take.

The 18th century Irish-French economist Richard Cantillon, who coined the term ‘entrepreneur’, defined it as a “bearer of risk.”

Put another way, if entrepreneurs weren't confident enough to start a business, everyone would have been earning decent salaries and the power of innovation and inventions would have been confined to few hands. Therefore, to be a successful entrepreneur, you must cultivate confidence.

Confidence is about believing in oneself

When it comes to success, those who are self-reliant and practise good work ethic have better chances of success than the ones who only rely on their intelligence. People who believe that they can achieve results, regardless of hurdles and complexities that come along, often end up getting the desired outcome. While their intelligence helps them chart out the right strategies, their confidence and attitude towards their work make them virtually unstoppable.

Confidence is about fulfilling commitments

Success is not always about having the right answer. It’s about finishing what you started in the first place. Knowing how to accomplish isn't as valuable as the willingness to learn and grow throughout the journey. Confidence forms a big part of this journey. In fact, even those with modest intelligence have the ability to make a million-dollar business if they can channelise their will to make things happen.

If you are already convinced with the idea that confidence trumps intelligence, here are a few things that you can do to boost your confidence:

  1. Do not see success as a want but as a need. Unless and until you feel the dying need to achieve something, the goal will always look difficult to attain.
  2. Do not just wish for things. Prepare clear goals and work hard to achieve them.
  3. During times of failure, do not make excuses or wallow in disappointment. Learn from your failure and come up with a better plan.
  4. Never let others pull you down. You decide your own worth and others’ opinion about you should not make or break your confidence.

Confidence involves believing in yourself, knowing your strengths, acknowledging your weaknesses and understanding your abilities. It is an eagerness to learn and accept failures. This will only make you stronger as an entrepreneur and as a person.

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