Just prior to completing The Millionaire Mind, I received a letter that was ideally suited for inclusion in the chapter about success factors.
I have read your most recent works. I have an extremely high mathematical aptitude. I hold advanced degrees in advanced math. . . . I’m currently in transition. Eventually I want to pursue a different career path. . . . I’m intensely interested in becoming a math tutor for the children of the wealthy. Can you supply me with the names and mailing addresses in the following areas: ______?
I’ve have often said that I am not in the mailing list business. But even if I was I would not want to supply this character with such a list. Why not? The letter goes on:
I’m currently in prison. . . . I’m scheduled for release next September.
The message here is simple. There are people like this convict who are intellectually gifted, but who don’t necessarily have high integrity. The halo that surrounds smart people often blinds us. Too often we automatically think they are better in all of life’s key dimensions.
It is unfortunate that some people with high analytic intellect use this gift for less than honorable purposes. It was reported in The New York Times that a 19 year old college sophomore alledgedly “took the [SAT] test for five [high school students] . . . . They paid him a fee of up to $2,500. [The] students had B to B- grades and SAT scores in the 97th percentile raising suspicion. A handwriting analysis by E.T.S. determined that one student had taken [all the] tests.”
My surveys of highly successful people reveal that integrity is paramount in becoming successful. Also, high analytic intellect is not a required ingredient in the success formula. It is likely that the people who are involved in this scandal will find out the hard way that integrity is much more important than having high analytic intellect.