What would you say is the Key Success Factor to live a thriving life?

We know there are different factors playing in anything’s or anyone’s success. But which are the main factors involved in it? Is it our IQ, our academic degrees, the universities we attend, our school grades, our families? What really is it that makes us thrive?

According to Angela Lee Duckworth, co-founder, chief scientist, and board member of Character Lab and professor of psychology at the University of Pennsylvania, the single KSF (Key Success Factor) for anything in life is grit, which she defines as the passion and perseverance for very long-term goals.

As well, Stanford professor of psychology Carol Dweck and her colleagues have shown that you’re more likely to achieve your life goals if you believe your intelligence, talents, and personality are malleable (changeable with effort) rather than fixed (innate and unchangeable). She calls this a growth mindset, and she’s demonstrated its imminent importance for success. People with a growth mindset simply don’t believe that failure is a permanent condition, and because of this, they try again once failure presents in any situation.

When thinking about what makes us successful, Professor Paula J. Caproni, from the University of Michigan, thinks we need to consider 3 important things:

  • Analytical intelligence, although important, is only one predictor of success.
  • We can increase our analytical intelligence along with many other skills through devoted practice.
  • Over-relying on intelligence can prevent you from learning new talents that are equally and sometimes more important to your success and well-being in life.

So, what is it then that makes us successful? Research has shown that successful people develop beliefs that propel them forward rather than hold them back, and an expertise that is meaningful to them, and that matters to others. They are self-motivated people, and they move steadily towards their goals despite the inevitable failures and setbacks they might encounter. And they do it by being conscientious and gritty. Also, not less importantly, they develop mutually supportive relationships through which they give and get resources that are necessary to their success and to the success of others around them.

So, what is it then? Is it a growth mindset? Grit? Supportive relationships? Our beliefs? Although there are obviously different factors that help us achieve success, a growth mindset has shown to play an indisputable role in it; while grit I believe, is a pivotal aspect of this kind of mindset and it enhances a person’s ability to grow. This being said, I think there are 2 questions we ought to ask ourselves. How would you consider your mindset? And are you doing enough to build and nurture your grit?

  1. Canal Stanford Alumni. (9 de octubre de 2014). Developing a Growth Mindset with Carol Dweck [Archivo de video]. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hiiEeMN7vbQ
  2. Duckworth, A. Angela Lee Duckworth: ¿La clave del éxito? Deteminación [Archivo de video]. Obtenido de https://www.ted.com/talks/angela_lee_duckworth_grit_the_power_of_passion_and_perseverance/transcript?language=es
  3. Caproni, J. (2016). The Science of Success: What Researchers Know that You Should Know. Van Rye Publishing, LLC 
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