The most recent episode in G’day Worlds “Melbourne’s Leaders” series – Brian Watson, Investment Banker – is fascinating for a number of reasons and everybody should go check it out, however one thing in particular got me thinking. Early on in the show they get talking about luck in business and Cam mentioned a lesson he’d been teaching his boys: “Being intelligent is terrific but being intelligent in and of itself doesn’t get you anywhere you need to work hard as well you can’t just coast on the fact that you’re intelligent”.
I am an intelligent person. I’m not telling you this to boast, and I’m not making this statement without anything to support it either. I have several learning disabilities and in the course of diagnosing them I’ve had more than a few IQ tests and its right up there, but that’s not the point.
I’ve been coasting on my intelligence my entire life. Throughout high school I did virtually no homework and I payed minimal attention at school. I was far more likely to be found reading a book under my desk than taking notes in class.
My reports always went along the lines of “Miriam’s natural linguistic ability has allowed her to achieve high results in her listening and speaking exams; however…” (that was my french teacher) and “Miriam has the ability to top the year in maths; however…”
In year 12 I was diagnosed with ADHD which sort of explained my difficulty concentrating and studying and once I got on my Ritalin things picked up a bit. I did hundreds of past papers and achieved fairly well in the HSC.
But the really stupid thing?? I’m not on my Ritalin anymore. I ran out of scripts almost two years ago and haven’t gotten around to getting another one. So here I am again, riding on my intelligence, and when you have 12 weeks to learn all the content for four subjects, intelligence doesn’t cut it. So my uni results went from good, to mediocre, to poor… and then I failed a subject last semester.
So here’s my advice to you. If you’re fairly average, remember that hard work will get you 90% of the way; and If you’re intelligent, keep in mind that even if intelligence has taken you this far by itself it will fail you eventually. Most of all though, if there is a barrier to your success and you know about it, do something about it!
Now perhaps if I’m very lucky, I might be able to take my own advice this semester.