I wanted to write 8 qualities that would be great indicators for success, however after further research most of the qualities I found could be boiled down to two.
I can expand on other qualities until the lights go out, and most books written about success do just that, but these two indicators are the main foundation of other qualities stemming from these or grown out of these two premises.
These two quality are vital indicators for success.
Put it simply, if we can spot these in ourselves or in others we are more likely to predict success. The best things about these indicators are that they can be learned. Once we cultivate them in us, we are on our way to becoming the best version of our self.
First Indicator of Success: Delayed Gratification.
This is an indicator of self-discipline. Self-discipline is vital to success in all endeavors.
In the mid-1960’s there was a well-known Stanford study conducted on children. It was known as the “Marshmallow Test.” This is also well-documented in this book: The Marshmallow Test: Why Self-Control Is the Engine of Success by Walter Mischel.
The experiment was set-up with the adult showing the kid a marshmallow on a plate (displaying the “reward” stimulus). The adult then ask the child the following question: “You can have one marshmallow now or if you can wait for 15 minutes you can have two instead of one.”
This is an example of the Marshmallow Test
The study then followed these children througout their life and it found that children who learned this delayed gratification early on were more successful later in life. These were the children that were able to wait 15 minutes to get the bigger reward: two marshmallows instead of one.
This test showed that delayed gratification is a great indicator of success. This study actually shows, in my opinion, the idea that self-discipline is a vital quality to become successful.
Self-discipline is the ability to withhold instant gratification in lieu of achieving a particular goal in the future. This is a great indicator of success primarily because self-discipline enable us to achieve our set goals.
Achieving goals require a lot of self-discipline, the ability to set aside distractions, handling any blockers, and our “must-have-it-now” mentality. It enable us to say NO to the things that does not lead to the fulfillment of our goals. It shows us what we need to DO in order to come closer to achieving our goal in the future.
Learn How to Delay Gratification
If we want to cultivate this success quality we start with a firm focus on our goal.
When we visualize ourselves advancing and accomplishing our goal, we have a better chance of fighting off the want of instant gratification.
Whether we are losing weight and saying “No” to dessert or saving money to accomplish our budget, we must start with the big picture. We must visualize ourselves accomplishing our goal and feel what that feels like, and then we can work ourselves backward.
The feeling of achieving our goal will begin to feel a lot better than that instant gratification. We begin to see that instant gratification is a hindrance that takes us away from what we want to accomplish.
Second Indicator of Success: Growth Mindset
This is an indicator of knowing that our abilities and skills are not fixed. They are instead developed through hard work and dedication.
I highly recommend Carol Dweck’s book: Mindset: The New Psychology of Success — this is a must read.
This is one of the books I keep in my library that has fundamentally changed my perspective about learning and success. I will do a write-up on this book in the future.
The premise of the book is that success in any endeavor has to do with Mindset.
The fixed mindset believe that basic abilities such as intelligence and talent are fixed from birth. You either have it or you don’t and there is nothing you can do about it.
This mindset not only drives how one approaches life but also drives how one deals with setbacks, problems, and failure.
The growth mindset believe that abilities can always be honed and developed regardless of the initial innate talent or abilities we have.
Through sheer hard work and resilience in learning, we can always get to the next stage based on how much we hard work we put into it. The difference between that two is how each mindset deal with failure. Their use of a feedback loop to differs in the mindsets.
The fixed mindset sees failure as a mark of their deficiency and this in turn pulls down their self-worth. The growth mindset uses failure to inform them of what to work on next to improve.
Learn to Develop a Growth Mindset
We either adopt a growth mindset or a fixed mindset.
The fixed mindset rely on feeding the ego. It thinks such thought as: “I am born this way and therefore I am great”, or “I do not have these qualities and therefore I can’t do anything about it”.
This mindset is a gateway to failure in most people.
The growth mindset believe that everything can be worked on and developed. This include every factors such as intelligence or any skill and ability.
The growth mindset believes: “If you apply yourself, you can get to the best YOU that you can be”.
The growth mindset shutting us to shut down our ego and to become down-to-earth. It require us to re-examine our failures and see them as as stepping stones to something that leads us to greater heights instead of affirms our lack.
We must continually improve ourselves through sheer hard-work and dedication. We must do it for the love of the work and to extend our abilities.