In 1968, researchers began studying 12-year-old students who were in the sixth grade. They examined the influence of their intelligence, characteristics, behaviors and their parents’ socioeconomic status.
Then, 40 years later, they followed up with those students. Not surprisingly, the students who were described by teachers as “studious” were more likely to have prestigious jobs. But, the studious kids didn’t make the most money in adulthood.
The highest income earners were the “naughty kids.” The kids who broke the rules and defied parental authority became the highest income earners as adults.
Similarly, the Illinois Valedictorian Project found that valedictorians are less likely to become millionaires than their peers.
Of course, life isn’t all about money. But the implication here is something I have long suspected: those inclined to break rules and question authority are more likely to be successful.