A few decades ago, most people believed that there was a simple formula to success; the higher your IQ, the more successful you were.
This turned out to be wrong.
Further studies discovered numerous factors that predicted success, including willpower and emotional intelligence (EQ).
These other factors are still under-emphasized to this day.
Here are 10 reasons why intelligent people underperform:
1. They Over-Analyze
Intelligence actually works as a stumbling block for social interactions.
The smarter you are, the more capable you are to over-prepare and over-analyze.
Dumb people actually have an advantage because they aren’t even aware of the consequences.
They just go in and talk to people. This lets them stay relaxed and confident, which improve their results.
So how do you solve this?
Take one piece of social skills advice at a time.
Focus on just improving executing on it because it avoids information overwhelm.
“We are dying from overthinking. We are slowly killing ourselves by thinking about everything.
Think. Think. Think.
You can never trust the human mind anyway. It’s a death trap.” – Anthony Hopkins.


2. They Rely Too Much On Intelligence
Many smart people end up using their intelligence as a crutch.
They reason, “I will just get smarter rather than work on my weaknesses.”
While it’s sometimes better to double down on your strengths, avoiding glaring weaknesses can keep you from improving.
For example, you can end up never improving your social skills.
This leads to severely off-putting lack of social intelligence that destroys earning opportunities.
This is a mistake because no matter what job you have, you will be interacting with people.


3. They Have An Ego
Have you ever heard someone say a certain sport is the best just because they play it?
Similarly, you can defend intelligence as the only key to success simply because it’s all you have.
Yet many people are smart and not rich. How come?
Ego overpowers reality.
Realize that other factors, like willpower, fitness, and EQ are worth improving.
Find someone who is just like you.
What advice you would give him?
I did this with a man who clearly needed to go to the gym. It turns out I need to do the same.


4. They Put Theory Over Practice
Book smarts are great, but the real word is different.
In the book Willpower Instinct, the author, a Stanford professor, discovered that her scientific theories didn’t always work in practice with students.
Over time, she discovered factors that the scientific process hadn’t accounted for, which allowed her to shape her teachings better.


5. They’re Scared of Change
The world’s top CEOs have expressed the importance of embracing change.
This includes Sam Walton, founder of Walmart, Jack Welch, CEO of GE, and Charles Koch, founder of Koch Industries.
Change is important because if you don’t keep innovating, your competitors will catch up with you.
You always have to stay vigilant. Most of us grew up in a risk-averse culture.
Rather than taking calculated risks that are worth it, they avoid all risks.


6. They Avoid Mistakes
The psychologist and world-famous TED speaker, Carol Dweck, wrote a book recommended by Bill Gates called Mindset: the Psychology of Success.
In the book, she discovered that unsuccessful people had something called a fixed mindset.
These people believed that they could never improve and didn’t see mistakes as learning lessons.
Do the opposite and you’ll start winning.


7. They Have an Entitlement Attitude
A top pattern I’ve seen among high achievers is that they never complain and never act like they deserve anything.
They work for it. Among average people, the opposite is true.
They feel entitled to all sorts of things from food to shelter to tuition.
Try to not complain about anything for 7 days. Ask yourself “How can I get this?” instead of just thinking, “I can’t get this.”


8. They’re Tempted By Too Many Goals
In the modern world, there are plenty of shiny objects to chase after.
You can fear missing out on something if you have to focus on something else. But this is wrong.
Here’s a story to illustrate. Once upon a time, there was a donkey.
He couldn’t decide whether to eat some hay or drink some water. He was stuck in the middle between them, paralyzed with what to do. He ended up starving to death.
If he had just focused on going to one first, he would have found that he had plenty of time later to go to the other one.
You must do the same in life. Focus on one thing for a few years. You have decades to spend.
“To succeed in your mission, you must have single-minded devotion to your goal.” – A.P.J Abdul Kalam.


9. They Lack Emotional Intelligence (EQ)
One of the key discoveries of the recent century was EQ.
It doesn’t have to do with numbers and math. It’s about how well you can recognize the emotions of others (and yourself) to better navigate situations.
What’s great about EQ is that it is learnable, unlike IQ.
Even to this day, EQ is swept under the rug.
Most people don’t bother to improve it and fail to achieve their potential in the areas EQ impacts, like wealth and relationships.


10. They Lack Social Intelligence
Similar to EQ, social intelligence is about effectively navigating social interactions and conversation.
IQ is still over-emphasized in the modern world and social intelligence is just acknowledged as something that is there, which can’t be improved.
But the opposite is true.
Social intelligence is critical to most of our lives.
We are navigating with people all the time. This doesn’t mean that you have to become an extrovert.
There are socially skilled introverts as well as shy extroverts.
You can improve it.
Put yourself in more social situations in your career or free time.
Join an improved class or get a job with more social interactions, like a salesman, waiter or a Network marketer.
Reflect on how you could have done better everyday and you will improve over time.
Which one of these are you currently guilty of? How are you going to improve it? Leave your thoughts below!
Credit: Will Chou and Nelson Nwamara
Edited: James Hilary Chukwuemeka


  1. Just like me my two professions have not resume fully fashinon design and teaching so I decided not to remain ideal doing liquid soap and selling it whole sale

      1. Just like me my two professions have not resume fully fashinon design and teaching so I decided not to remain ideal doing liquid soap and selling it whole

      2. Just like me my two professions have not resume fully fashinon design and teaching so I decided not to remain ideal doing liquid soap and selling it whole

      1. Wow …I really value no 5 and 6 ….we ave to keep changing so how competitiors don’t meet up with us …and to be successful in life ,we will have to make a mistake

  2. Wow this is the best truth have ever come across in my life, with all the point pointed out by Tmc this things is really affect most intelligent people in becoming successful in life.

  3. Wow this is the best truth have ever come across in my life, with all the point pointed out by Tmc this things is really affect most intelligent people in becoming successful in life.

  4. Hmmmmm…… I just love your inspirational and motivational talk everyday
    Thanks so much admin for inspiring and motivating us everyday

  5. It took me six good minutes to assimilate everything written in the above article, reasons being that, I was comparing everything that was written with my present life, to see where I might be lacking behind…..thank you TMC for this eye opening message.

  6. Hmmmm, when you are too smart and too intelligent you think too wide than seeing possibilities. That is why the adage says a foolish dog kill ls the animal that proofs to be wise

  7. No 6 was really true with me, until I read a book …Failing Forward. This has greatly improve my attitude on success and failure. I have learn to fail forward and improved greatly.

  8. Wowww this is the best truth have ever come across in my life, with all the point pointed out by this great TMCities this is really affecting most intelligent people in becoming successful nowadays.

  9. This is lovely and awesome
    This writeup is interesting
    This is so true, intelligent people are actually that way, but we learn everyday, thank you TMC.

  10. Well said. The number 4 actually captivated and drew my attention.. Truely, they most time deal with theories forgetting the practical aspect which I believe most time is the best aspect. Thanks TMC for this nice piece.

  11. Yes. Once you are too intellectual there will always be problem in putting things right, because of over confidence. Such people don’t take advice because they so much believe in their self

  12. Absolutely, these are the major problem this set of people has, forgetting that we grow or succeed by learning. Thanks themainceos

  13. Intelligent has tts nothing to do with success if one can not work hard therefore intelligent +hardworking with prayer =God big success which is mine.thanks to TMC

  14. True talk!
    Intelligence indeed has nothing to do with success, even the Bible says God will bless the work of your hand, therefore one must work hard to receive God’s blessings!
    God bless themainceos!

  15. This is so true……I agree with this 100%…..human being will always want to defend what ever they do……most of them will never think of checking their faults……but rather they will conclude that what they do is just the best.thank you TMC for this great update

  16. Kudos to the writer. The mentality of majority of us is to read hard and study big courses in school. I tell you, all we need is to be smart and find pleasure in anything we’re doing.

  17. True talk.. They feel their intellect is enough for them to make them successful not knowing they are other actual stuffs required. This is also a lesson to me. Thank you Tmc

  18. Yes it’s a quite true and reality, too much of knowledge do sometimes affect those intelligent people and at the end of the day dey get zero

  19. Overconfidence and ego therefore causes downfall..A
    wonderful platform to learn and earn, keep doing a good work TMC, the Lord enrich you for touching lives

  20. Relying on your intelligence alone in most cases brings stagnancy to one’s Life, Ego they say is a destiny killer… thanks so much for sharing such wonderful words

  21. This is the best truth have ever come across in my life, with all the point pointed out by Tmc this things is really affect most intelligent…..

  22. This is really great, sometimes I made some of these mistake thinking that am doing it right, but now I will try to be cuation of myself
    Thanks a lot l love this.

  23. Too much deep insights in this write up and they are all true from first to last point… nobody is perfect and there’s a reason why…people just ignore that statement

  24. Thanks for the eye opener while most people don’t achieve success is because they are so proud of themselves forgetting that you can’t know it all.Peace!!

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