I met two Oxbridge grads for lunch, and during our meal I said: “You know, I don’t think Oxbridge grads are significantly innately smarter than the average person.”Both instantly laughed, with one almost choking on his food. Not because they thought I was talking BS, but because they agreed – they’d just never heard anyone say it.The world sees the grades, and the labels that go with them.
We saw the hard work.The thing is the effect of hard work compounds – as when you work hard you use your brain more, and so your brain becomes better, in exactly the same way a muscle responds to exercise. Our brains, like our muscles, are highly adaptive.Talent does matter, but hard work matters far more.Most struggle with maths or whatever and then stop trying. But if they worked hard for a few years they’d become pretty damn good once their brain is the equivalent of a body that has regularly been to the gym for a few years.It’s like people assume that Asians are born great at maths. Asians know that’s rubbish – they know exactly what’s going on at home. And it wasn’t “Son, that C was good, we’re proud of you.”Natural talent, Oxbridge grads and being Asian are overrated.