In his “Trouble with Geniuses, Part I” chapter, Malcolm Gladwell begins to clarify his argument that we continually have trouble understanding outliers. Too often, researchers and an array of commentators rely too heavily on conventional measures of aptitude to predict the ingredients of those who become extraordinary successes. For example, we label those who perform exceptionally well on IQ tests “geniuses,” and that designation presumes (incorrectly according to Gladwell) that they will become highly successful.
But in order to do really well, Gladwell suggests that individuals hardly need to be exceptionally intelligent or super smart. They merely need to be “smart enough.” And those who are smart enough do not need to attend the very best schools to gain the knowledge and training to win, say, the Nobel Prize in Medicine. They just have to attend a school that is “good enough.”
In other words, you shouldn’t feel too bad about receiving those rejection letters from Harvard, Princeton, and Yale, especially if you and your educational institution are merely “good enough.”
So what, in your mind, is a crucial element in determining whether a collegiate environment meets the good enough threshold? Why is the element or factor you identify so vital?
Or, to approach "the trouble with geniuses" issue from a different angle, if many in our society, as Gladwell indicates, tend to overestimate the role of pure talent in determining success, then what is it that we regularly underestimate?