Education and/or Intelligence, and Psychological Bravery, are in large part interchangeable traits; and when it comes to understanding what causes success, in the abstract sense, the latter by far has the edge.
Fun, often unacknowledged, eye-opening, and controversial truth: Education and psychological bravery are, in large part, interchangeable traits; each can compensate for the other’s lacking and/or shortcomings.
Despite how comforting it is to believe, intelligence correlates poorly with success; on the other hand, the correlations of doggedness, pragmatism, care, passion, and hard work, are so strong, that it is practically impossible to not call them Causes.
The achievements of intelligent people, on average, continuously fail to match the achievements of the soldiers and supremely confident folk; and the sentiments of entitlement found so commonly nested in the minds of educated and high-IQ persons, are the primary reason they fall short; so, if you want to do well, whether you are gifted intellectually or not, learn to be brave, dogged, pragmatic, persuasive, hard-working, caring.
Another truth, perhaps a less admirable one, about life, is that confidence and charisma often outweighs truth on the persuasion scale — and that makes all the difference, because in order to get what you want in life, you need other people to believe in and support you, which means that you have to be able to communicate your ideas strongly and compellingly. What this also means, of course, is that mental bravery can be used for perverse intentions, and for evil, and by ignoramuses, nincompoops, twerps, idiots, wing nuts, narcissists, and all other folk with inhumane or self-interested objectives. Don’t be one of these people. Be on guard against them. Defeat them, by being better than them; and, if that isn’t possible, then by exposing their emptiness, shallowness, fakery. Don’t preach entitlement and rid yourself of any conscious notions of it. Work hard, but don’t work with pigs, because pigs like mud, and you’ll get filthy. And yes, be confident and charismatic and charming, but first live the Truth, because if you don’t, your forwardness will eventually destroy your integrity, reputation, your circle of ‘trust’, and soon thereafter, your own soul.
The upshot: education and psychological bravery are interchangeable traits, which is advantageous, because every person can become good at at least one; but, pushed to extremis, bravery seems to win more often than education. This can be used for both good and bad. Use it for good, and expose the bad when you see it.