Are Good Grades the Key to Success?

When you make a list of the qualities necessary to become successful in your career, or life or pursuit of your dream, most of us would be tempted to place intelligence pretty high on that list. When I mean intelligence, I am referring to getting good grades, having a high IQ or scoring well on college entrance exams.  The truth is, this is not a good predictor of someone’s success. In fact, it can actually be an indication that someone may not become successful.

Let me explain. In Thomas Stanley’s book, The Millionaire Mind, he details the criteria of successful people that have built a significant amount of wealth over their lifetime. With the exception of Doctors and Lawyers where excellent grades and very high aptitudes will be required, good grades and high scores actually rank pretty low on the list of requirements. This may come as a shock to many of us. We are taught that the smartest among us and the ones that get the best grades will have the best chance to go the farthest.

Here are some of the items that are ranked highest on the list of required Character Traits:

  • Honesty – Being honest with people was ranked number one. It was tied with…
  • Being Well Disciplined – This is very important among those who have reached high levels of wealth and material success. They don’t waste time doing unnecessary things. However, time with family and friends is very important as well.
  • Getting Along with People – Interesting that millionaires see this as being so important, isn’t it? Don’t we view the wealthy as being heartless and cold, and only out for a buck? Perhaps we could learn a great deal from them…
  • Having a Supportive Spouse – Another great qualification that may surprise some of us.
  • Working harder than Everyone Else – This one tells us why getting good grades is not a guarantee of success. Those that have to work hard for their grades are being well trained for a future of hard work and doing what is necessary to succeed.  It is not the grade that makes the difference, but the hard work in pursuit of doing your best.

I write this so that you will be encouraged. If you think you are of average intelligence and are not likely to graduate with a GPA over 3.0, then you should be excited. The average GPA of all millionaires surveyed is 2.92. Clearly a high GPA is not required! Now, is this a good reason not to strive for high scores in school? Absolutely not! That is the point.  It is about doing the work and developing discipline that is the training ground for succeeding later in life. When you put this together with great social skills, a supportive family and complete honesty, then you have a recipe for success!

About The Author

Duane Rockensock

Duane (Rocky) Rockensock is a husband, a dad, and the National Reconditioning Manager for AmeriGas Propane. Since he was a teenager, Duane has loved hearing the stories of how people have started creative businesses or found ways to use their talents to accomplish amazing things. For that reason he started this blog to encourage teens and adults to find their purpose and to provide the tools and resources to make that happen!

  • Nate

    Very good post. Quite interesting.

  • Duane

    Thanks Nate. I am glad you liked it. Grab a copy of the book when you get a chance. The author will really get you thinking. You will discover a lot of great ideas, old fashioned ones, but great ideas nonetheless. You will be inspired, I am sure of it. Great to hear from you!