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How do people who aren’t smart, succeed?

likefunnyhelpful
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This is actually a great question. My knee jerk reaction has to be specialization. If you notice some of the absolute smartest people you know are worldly, traveled, know a little bit about a lot, are generally good with people, and read a lot. Or some large subset of that list.

Those who can’t fit all that in can still be very successful, but in limited areas. The more you specialize, the more value you bring IN context. And since we as a society confuse value with being smart, they look smart.

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Raw intelligence is overrated. Most people who fall in the standard distribution of cleverness / intellect can be fantastically successful simply through good diligence. This job isn't rocket science.

Very smart people in my experience often run into a crisis as they transition from individual contribution to management. They are so used to being able to getting all their work done that when we start giving them accountability for more work than they can do on their own, they struggle to delegate effectively and try to hold it all themselves. I see plenty of very sharp people get burned out because they just can't handle it.

likesmart
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Simple answer, they just work harder.

likeupliftingfunnyhelpfulsmart

I disagree tbh. I think a lot of people are inefficient due to poor scope, management, or lack of willingness to ask clarifying questions. While yes there are times where we work hard and the hours suck, it shouldn’t be like that all the time.

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Networking

likehelpfulfunny

Lots of people just hang around for a few years, then parlay their experience into a new job somewhere else.

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Learn the art of BS-ing ... and networking .... social ability can take you a long way. sometimes being a people person is more valuable that being smart.

likesmartfunny

Agree that if you’re super good with words you can go extremely far

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“Being smart” is subjective

likefunny

I scored highly on all standardized tests Ive taken (97th/98th percentile). I went to a top 20 undergrad (albeit a 3.5 gpa, horrible student), went to a t2 and received a couple promos, and now in FAANG data science.

As Aristotle said, the more I know the more I realize I don’t know. I do not consider myself to be smart, despite a strong vocabulary and a decent pedigree. Being “successful” is really a function of hard work and, in my case, a lot of luck (or possibly divine intervention).

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Kiss my ass

funnylikeupliftingsmart

😘 🍑

funnylike

You have to be good at something to succeed. Politics, technical skills, people skills, rich parents, etc.

likefunny

My girlfriend has rich parents and works in private equity. Be good at being an accidental gold digger?

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They may simply be more likely to get started and try.

Analysis paralysis, over reflecting on risk profiles, shooting for perfect, etc might be less common to that group.

Note that survivorship bias needs to be considered here too.

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I think this hits the nail on the head

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A lot of people who aren’t academically smart are street smart. So even if they can’t build a good model they are super like-able. And often at the end of the day people want to promote those they like.

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They learn to be resourceful by finding people that can do the job- the classic PM style. You don’t need to know everything but you should be able to find someone that does.

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Great sales pitch to hire consultants

More importantly, how do people who ARE smart, fail?

Case in point: Fredo Corleone. Very smart. Not dumb like everyone says.

likesmart

Similar to my previous answer, but opposite response. Poor people skills. I’ve met some insanely smart SWEs but I couldn’t stand being in a room with them for more than a couple of minutes.

Emotional intelligence

likesmart

I'd rather work with people who are fun to be around and can communicate than people who are "smart".

Example- I work with a sr manager and a sr analyst, both of them know their stuff, but the analyst has soft skills, understands the objective, and can explain the path to get to the necessary result. The SM talks out of his ass and spins in circles with no direction from point a to point b and it's a nightmare to try to follow.

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Only fans

likefunny

Define smart.
Dedicated, hard working, honest, relatable, social, funny, caring,... I can go on, but all elements which matter and aren’t mutually exclusive with “smart”.
Why do you think so many clients dislike (strategy) consultants?

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Low IQ, use commas incorrectly

funnylikesmart

I’m not smart by any means, personally I learned to be quiet and listen. I’ve failed almost every certification I’ve sat for at least once, but my perseverance always gets me through. Finally, I rely heavily on manners and a positive personality. You can be dumb as a post, but if you smile, people will let it slide lol

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By asking questions.

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Success is relative. When I first started my career I believed success was in money and titles. Now I believe it is in satisfaction and happiness.

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Take calculated risks, fail quickly and move on.

like

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