Scientific research shows that IQ, GPA, or how technically gifted you are do not determine your long term success. What does are three simple variables: your mindset, interpersonal skills (EQ), and ability to handle stress and adversity. Below you will find articles and further readings from the world’s top researchers and psychologists on the subject. Click on any one of the 3 success predictors below to learn more.
“Human beings, by changing the inner attitudes of their minds, can change the outer aspects of their lives.”
– William James, father of modern psychology
Having the 'right mindset' means being positive, proactive, resilient, having grit and persistence, and most of all, believing that your abilities and talents are not fixed but can grow and develop over time. (i.e. growth mindset). According to renowned psychologist and author Daniel Goleman, “academic abilities do not predict how well we do in life. Grit, focus and cognitive control does.”
Carol Dweck, one of the most respected psychologists of our time and the author of ‘Mindset’, has shown that “test scores and measures of achievement tell you where a student is, but they don’t tell you where a student could end up.” When it comes to research on grit and its connection to success, UPENN Psychologist Angela Duckworth provides ample evidence in her best-selling book, “Grit”. She writes; “Grit is important because it is a driver of achievement and success, independent of and beyond what talent and intelligence contribute. ... Without grit, talent may be nothing more than unmet potential. (2016) Finally, when it comes to the power of positivity, former Harvard professor Shawn Achor has shown “that when people work with a positive mindset; performance on nearly every level—productivity, creativity, engagement—improves.’ (Harvard Business Review)
Success and Emotional Intelligence
“No one cares how much you know, until they know how much you care.”
– Theodore Roosevelt
Emotional intelligence means being able to develop enduring relationships and interact with people in a positive way, by knowing how to manage your emotions and the emotions of others.
Emotional intelligence is therefore critical to building enduing relationships. Relationships serve three functions: They will help you overcome stress and adversity; they will determine your success in life based on the company you keep and the network you carry; and they will give meaning to your success by ensuring you have people to share it with. Here’s what the experts have to say:
“The higher you go up the (career) ladder the more emotional intelligence matters: for top leadership positions they are about 80 to 90 percent of distinguishing competences. It’s your expertise and intelligence that get you the job – but your emotional intelligence that makes you a success.”
– Daniel Goleman
Stress, Adversity & Success
“Hardships often prepare ordinary people for an extraordinary destiny.”
– C.S. Lewis
In today’s world, stress is almost inevitable. Some stress is good, but too much stress will disrupt your performance, focus, creativity, and productivity. Among university students, for example, studies have shown that “stress is more likely to hurt grades than drinking or loss of sleep.” Similarly in the corporate sector, ‘workplace stress costs employers $300 billion a year’ (BusinessInsider.com) due to sick days and lack of productivity.
Stress management and the ability to overcome adversity are critical skills for students and professionals. These skills aren’t developed in isolation however – and are connected to mindset, your social support network, and your habits and daily routines. Moreover, the more you encounter adversity; the better equipped you are to handle it and not get stressed over the small things.
“Opportunities to find deeper powers within ourselves come when life seems most challenging.”
– Joseph Campbell
“There is no better teacher than adversity. Every defeat, every heartbreak, every loss, contains its own seed, its own lesson on how to improve your performance the next time.”