The Millionaire Next Door

Building Wealth is a Marathon, Not an SAT Score

In The Millionaire Mind, I said that the process of building wealth is a marathon.  How well you do in this race involves much more than grade point averages . . . .  Standardized testing [SATs, GREs,] cannot be substituted for actually running the race.  Otherwise our government could just redistribute our nation’s wealth each year- give it to all those with high IQs.  If they’re going to end up with it all anyway, why not just speed up the process? 

I was reminded of this after reading an article about the limitations of using standardized tests to predict variations in achievement over the course of an entire career.  The author points out that “from the SAT to the NFL’s “combine” the problem [is] with short term tests.” 

“It turns out that many of the most important factors for life success are character traits such as grit and self-control, these can’t be measured quickly. . . .grit. . . reflects a person’s commitment to long term goal[s].”

And, as I discussed in The Millionaire Mind, Professor David C. McClelland, a Harvard-based distinguished scholar of intelligence and achievement, discovered that traditional measures of intelligence do not account for a substantial portion of the variation in achievement and success in life.

What have I found out about multimillionaires who were not A students and didn’t generate high numbers on achievement tests?  They never allowed “academic odds makers” to dictate their performance in life.  They recognized that their creativity, hard work, discipline and certain social skills, including leadership, were more significant than grades and aptitude tests. 

The typical millionaire did not reach the 7-figure net worth threshold until he had worked for 59,800 hours [median]. Those are many more hours than it took him to complete his SAT! 

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