In my high school there was a boy several years older than me who was academically right at the bottom of the year – I mean out of 100 in the year, he’d typically come in the bottom 5 or so in the end-of-year tests.At 13, he managed to scrape into senior school, at which point his wealthy father promised him that if he got into Oxford or Cambridge he could get ANY car he wanted. Ferrari, Lambo, whatever…
The boy needed to turn his 95th-ish position to around 1st or 2nd within 5 years, as typically only a couple of people from our high school made it to Oxbridge.
Nearly five years later, when he was applying to universities, the high school ‘supported his application’ to Oxford, which it only did for a handful of students it felt had a reasonable chance of getting in, and something that was pretty much needed to have a chance of getting in.
But in the end, he was rejected by Oxford. He didn’t get the Lambo, although his final grades put him in the top 5 or so in his year.So, from being in the bottom 5%, aged 13, barely scraping through into high school, he left high-school with grades that put him in the top 5%.
Not the star performer at work because you’re not smart enough? I doubt it. It’s because you didn’t want it enough.