Why Is Motivation More Important Than Intelligence?


A woman working on her laptop in a kitchen.

Intelligence is highly prized in modern society, and for a good reason. High IQ can help you achieve great success in life and open many doors. However, you need more than intelligence to get what you want in life. Intelligence is important, but it can be rendered useless if you are not motivated to be successful. So, why is motivation more important than intelligence?

Intelligence will get you far in life, but it is only one facet to success and happiness. Motivation is more important than intelligence because motivation helps you perform better, gets you through tough times, provides you with meaning, pushes you to improve, and allows you to follow through on your goals.

Many people tend to underestimate the importance of motivation. Of course, intelligence and foresight are crucial in anything you do. Still, without motivation, you can’t follow through on your goals and dreams.

You can intelligently imagine how you will accomplish something all you want. But, if you don’t have the will power to enact your plans, you will be met with failure.

In short, motivation is instrumental in any area of life. Keep reading to better understand why motivation is more important than intelligence.

Why Motivation Is More Important Than Intelligence?

Library bookshelves filled with books.
You Cannot Use Your Intelligence Without First Being Motivated

So why exactly is motivation more important than intelligence? As previously mentioned, intelligence can have a big impact on your goals and career path. You need intelligence to be able to plan and strategize for your future.

Additionally, intelligence is also crucial if you want to pick up important work and life skills fast. However, intelligence is only one facet of success and happiness.

Intelligence can get you far in life, and people will respect you for your ability to solve problems and think in innovative ways. Still, intelligence does not guarantee you a career path or positive results.

Ultimately, you want more than a high IQ to get yourself places in life. You need something stable to cement your goals and get you on the right path.

Your motivation enables you to use your intelligence. If you aren’t first motivated to better yourself or achieve something, your intelligence isn’t much use.

Motivation does this for you and ensures that your aims are met. Considering all of this, intelligence is not the most important trait you need to succeed, motivation is.

You can be the smartest person in the room. But if you don’t have the drive to get things done, you will never be able to accomplish anything. As a result, motivation is far more pressing than a high level of intelligence.

You need a clear vision of your future, but you also need the incentive to act on your goals. If you don’t have the motive to work hard and chase after what you want, you have already failed.

For a long time, educators and other authority figures have ignored this fact. People have mistakenly thought that intelligence alone was enough.

However, if you look at how people succeed and thrive in society, you can see the truth, that motivation is far more important. There are many examples of this playing out in the world.

An Example Of Why Motivation Is More Important Than Intelligence

College dropout rates offer the perfect example of this statement in action. For instance, a student could get into a college. They get in on high entrance exam scores and do well in their classes because they have a natural affinity for book-based learning.

They are naturally smart, but if they don’t have the drive to continue their education, they end up dropping out of college.

In fact, many people who enter college are intelligent, but if they can’t find the motivation to finish their schooling and succeed. Therefore, they don’t graduate.

This doesn’t just apply to school. It applies to other avenues of life. You can be the most intelligent person in your workplace or in your social circle.

But if you don’t have the motivation to work hard and produce results, you will find that your life isn’t going how you planned.

Really, this is the primary reason why motivation is more important than intelligence. You have to be well rounded and motivated to become accomplished in anything you do.

Top Reasons Why Motivation Is More Important Than Intelligence

There are many reasons motivation is more important than intelligence. We briefly talked about these points in the previous section. But we’ll get into more in-depth reasons in this next part.

1. Motivation Helps You Perform Better

When you are motivated to do something, you are going to perform better. This is just a proven fact. Motivation changes your mindset and allows you to push yourself more.

You have a reason to work hard and utilize your natural talents and intelligence. And really, the more motivated you are to do something, the more passionate you become.

Naturally, you will experience a more successful outcome if you are motivated to do achieve some goal or ambition. You are less likely to care about your results if you are not motivated.

Motivation and passion work hand in hand. When you have the motivation to achieve something, you naturally become more passionate and successful. You can work more efficiently and create better results for yourself with motivation present.

In fact, researchers have started to study the impact of motivation more and more. And it has been found that motivation will up your performance. Whether you are at work, or getting a degree, or competing in a competition, motivation can help you.

Intelligence does not offer these same widespread benefits. Being smart can get you a better score on a test or help you create more innovative ideas at work. But intellect alone does not boost your ability to succeed. If you have no motivation, you won’t have a reason to use your intelligence in the first place.

2. Motivation Gets You Through Difficult Times

Not only does motivation help you perform at a higher level. This trait is helpful during difficult times. When you find yourself struggling, you need the motivation to survive and rise above your circumstances.

Life throws many curveballs. Out of nowhere, your personal or professional life can become more challenging and trying. Intelligence can help you work through a solution in hard times. But if you have no motivation to get yourself out of a rough patch, intelligence does you no good.

This is another primary reason you need to understand the importance of motivation. Without motivation, most people can’t meet the challenges of their life. Without motivation, it’s easy to stay at rock bottom, no matter how smart you are.

But why is this the case? Really, it’s difficult to find inspiration and hope when you are struggling. However, if you stay motivated throughout this time, you have already won half the battle.

Recognizing that things can get better is a motivating factor for you to work hard and change your situation. Intelligence can not do that.

Most people lose the will to do anything when they are struggling with their life. If you can stay motivated, you will have the strength and will to keep going.

Again, intelligence doesn’t offer this kind of support. Without motivation, you can’t use your intellect to solve complex issues. You need a reason to keep going and motivation gives you that.

3. Motivation Allows You To Follow Through On Your Goals

A motivated woman with her hands up excited at her achievements.
Your Motivation Gives You The Ability To Follow Through On Your Goals

Motivation doesn’t just help you get through rough times. It can also help you fully reach your goals and dreams.

As previously indicated, intelligence can help you map out a path towards success. But if you don’t have the motivation to take steps towards your goals, you will never get what you want.

In truth, it is near impossible to succeed in anything if you lack proper motivation. People who lack motivation always make excuses for themselves.

They get easily sidetracked and distracted by unrelated activities that interest them more. They don’t have a passion for what they do, and as a result, they fail to follow through on things.

As a result, it’s easy to fail when you don’t have motivation. You can be intelligent, but if you have nowhere to aim that intelligence it will go to waste.

That’s why you need to direct your talents and intelligence with motivation. This way you can realize your full potential. 

4. Motivation Provides You With Meaning

Life without motivation is passive and meaningless. Happiness isn’t something that you achieve by sitting around and waiting. Really, you need to be motivated to do something in order to give your life meaning.

Therefore, you want to build a sense of motivation and movement in your life. This way you are more likely to find your life’s purpose.

Intelligence can help you figure out where your talents will be best suited. But motivation does most of the heavy lifting. It propels you towards self-discovery and meaning.

Motivation is what enables you to progress in life and work towards something with meaning.

In reality, humans are not meant to stay in place. It is in your nature to strive for something more and move towards goals and dreams. Motivation creates the momentum needed to move forward in life.

Ultimately, it’s difficult to live a full and meaningful life without this key trait.

You should never underplay intelligence and its uses. But realize that motivation needs to be present in order for you to utilize your intellect. If you have no reason or will to search for a purpose in life, your intelligence cannot help you.

5. Motivation Pushes You To Be Better

Motivation is also essential for self-betterment. Everyone wants to be a better version of themselves. But this is not possible if you aren’t motivated to improve.

As previously stated, motivation is crucial for goal setting, planning, and taking action. Intelligence helps further these tasks and can help push you towards self-improvement. Still, IQ means nothing without motivation.

If you can stay motivated on the tasks and goals you set for yourself, you will see much greater improvements. Your self-image and confidence will naturally build up with motivation.

It’s difficult trying to change your life around. But when you are motivated to stick to your planes, improving yourself becomes easier. When you are motivated, you are one step closer to becoming your best self.


The realization that there are 86,400 seconds each day. What are you doing today, so that tomorrow you are a step closer to where you want to be? If not now, then when?

eightysixfourhundred, make them count


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James

Hi, I'm James! I want to help you make the most of your day by providing helpful tips and informative articles on motivation, time management, productivity, and happiness.

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