Courage or Intelligence: Which would you pick more of?

Heroic Unschooling Series #3:

Intelligence vs Courage

One of the reasons the majority clings to the myth that our education system works is, well, the proof that it works.

At least for some.

Look!  The top doctors, lawyers, accountants, authors, consultants, and experts almost all went to the best colleges and universities.  Their ‘obvious’ success is proof that our education system prepared them for success.

As a die hard advocate for heroic unschooling I’ll be the first to acknowledge that if you want one of those careers, you’re going to have to get great grades, and you’ll probably need well above average intelligence (as traditionally measured).

I’m a serious optimist and even I’ll acknowledge that the odds of gaining entry into that ‘club’ through the back door are extremely low.

But let’s unpack some variables here.


As a former executive who has spent millions of dollars hiring these supposed academic elite, there have been many, many times where I wondered how it was possible that some of them got where they did.

How many different types of intelligence are there?  Google says 9.  Who knows for sure, but the SAT is missing on a large chunk of the intelligence spectrum.  You can bank on that.


We take it as a given that when a person is successful when they earn a high degree, or title or riches or fame etc.  But is that true?  Robin Williams was a beyond incredible actor and comedian.  But was he a successful human being?

We have to look at success holistically; Love, family, health, satisfaction, contribution, and of course even finance and professional accomplishment.  But not just finances and professional accomplishment.


It’s clear that academic success is required to gain a seat at certain musical chair games.  But is your child doomed if that’s not in the cards for them?

One of the elements, perhaps it’s an intelligence, that consistently beats academic intelligence in terms of success on any level is courage.  It takes guts to face our fears.  It takes guts and conviction to the face rejection and ridicule and failure that are a certainty when it comes to innovation and heroic contribution.

 The people with courage are the ones who manage to create lives of personal and professional meaning.

When you grow up you tend to get told the world is the way it is and you’re life is just to live your life inside the world.

Try not to bash into the walls too much. Try to have a nice family, have fun, save a little money.

That’s a very limited life.

Life can be much broader once you discover one simple fact: Everything around you that you call life was made up by people that were no smarter than you and you can change it, you can influence it, you can build your own things that other people can use.

Once you learn that, you’ll never be the same again.
— Steve Jobs

Does your child have a courage curriculum?

Don't sweat it if you're not sure, because we built one for you, and preregistration for it starts President's Day (Monday February 15th)