Can most of us, with enough persistent effort, get pretty good at anything?
Effort, as psychologist Angela Duckworth has shown, counts twice: talent x effort = skill, and skill x effort = achievement. And though both talent and our willingness to exert persistent effort may be at least partially genetic, only a minority of our personality is inherited.
High performers don’t rely on either nature or nurture, but on a combination of the two — and they are really good at nurturing their nature.
Brad Stulberg has recently written in New York Magazine’s Science of Us, about fascinating new research that helps explain why some people keep going and become champions while others become almost-champions.
The difference appears to be at least partially driven by one specific thing — how each group responds to adversity.
- Champions rise to the challenge and put in persistent effort.
- They are driven from within.
- Their primary concern is self-improvement.
- They hold themselves to high standards, but judge themselves against prior versions of themselves, not against others.
Almost-champions are more likely to be focused on external benchmarks, like national rankings or how they compare to rivals, a mind-set the researchers speculate explains why they get discouraged, lose steam and regress during rough patches.
Read Brad Stulberg’s 1,241-word discussion, What Separates Champions from ‘Almost Champions‘.
Get EVEN UNDER PRESSURE as a book or eBook, to enhance your ability to respond to and navigate through adversity, recover from setbacks, and find composure in stressful times.
Enjoy a short, thoughtful chapter from The Obstacle Is The Way – Turning Adversity Into Advantage, by Ryan Holiday.