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The Future of Self-Improvement, Part I: Grit Is More Important Than Talent

The Future of Self-Improvement, Part I: Grit Is More Important Than Talent
In the late ’60s, Stanford psychologist Walter Mischel performed a now-iconic experiment called the Marshmallow Test, which analyzed the ability of four year olds to exhibit “delayed gratification.” Here’s what happened: Each child was brought into the room and sat down at a table with a delicious treat on it (maybe a marshmallow, maybe a donut). The scientists told the children that they could have a treat now, or, if they waited 15 minutes, they could have two treats. All of the children wanted to wait. (Who doesn’t want more treats?) But many couldn’t. When the researchers subsequently checked in on these same children in high school, it turned out that those with more self-control — that is, those who held out for 15 minutes — were better behaved, less prone to addiction, and scored higher on the SAT. It’s not difficult to see how self-control would be predictive of success in certain spheres. In essence, Twitter is the new marshmallow. And yet: Self-control isn’t the whole story.

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True Grit: The Best Measure of Success and How to Teach It Can you predict academic success or whether a child will graduate? You can, but not how you might think. When psychologist Angela Duckworth studied people in various challenging situations, including National Spelling Bee participants, rookie teachers in tough neighborhoods, and West Point cadets, she found: One characteristic emerged as a significant predictor of success. And it wasn't social intelligence. The secret of self-control In the late nineteen-sixties, Carolyn Weisz, a four-year-old with long brown hair, was invited into a “game room” at the Bing Nursery School, on the campus of Stanford University. The room was little more than a large closet, containing a desk and a chair. Carolyn was asked to sit down in the chair and pick a treat from a tray of marshmallows, cookies, and pretzel sticks. Carolyn chose the marshmallow. Although she’s now forty-four, Carolyn still has a weakness for those air-puffed balls of corn syrup and gelatine. “I know I shouldn’t like them,” she says.

Maslow's hierarchy of needs Maslow's hierarchy of needs, represented as a pyramid with the more basic needs at the bottom[1] Maslow's hierarchy of needs is a theory in psychology proposed by Abraham Maslow in his 1943 paper "A Theory of Human Motivation" in Psychological Review.[2] Maslow subsequently extended the idea to include his observations of humans' innate curiosity. His theories parallel many other theories of human developmental psychology, some of which focus on describing the stages of growth in humans. Maslow used the terms "physiological", "safety", "belongingness" and "love", "esteem", "self-actualization", and "self-transcendence" to describe the pattern that human motivations generally move through. Maslow's theory was fully expressed in his 1954 book Motivation and Personality.[5] The hierarchy remains a very popular framework in sociology research, management training[6] and secondary and higher psychology instruction. Hierarchy

The Science of Developing Mental Toughness in Health, Work, and Life Have you ever wondered what makes someone a good athlete? Or a good leader? Or a good parent? Neuroplasticity: Learning Physically Changes the Brain How lessons and experiences can shape and grow your students' brains over time. Credit: iStockphoto "There are a few broad principles that we can state come out of neuroscience," says Kurt Fischer, education professor and director of the Mind, Brain, and Education Program at Harvard University. Number one? "The brain is remarkably plastic," Fischer explains.

12 Business Leadership Lessons from Stuart Lancaster and Brendan Rodgers 12 Leadership Secrets for Business from Brendan Rodgers and Stuart Lancaster By Toby Babb Both England Rugby and Liverpool Football Club have made tremendous progress in 2014. Stuart Lancaster has led a cultural revolution in English Rugby, “re-connecting the players to the shirt” and restoring a brand of rugby missing for so many years. Brendan Rodgers has broken record after record with Liverpool surpassing any expectations (including his own) of where Liverpool would finish in the league. Whilst not the finished article yet (England were runners up to Ireland in the Six Nations and Liverpool look set to miss out by the closest of margins to Manchester City in the Premier League) both leaders have restored pride and have overseen vast improvements in their teams. Reading about both Rodgers and Lancaster has been fascinating throughout the year.

The One Quality Great Teammates Have in Common “Coach, can I talk to you?” “Sure,” I said. “What’s on your mind today Michael?” “Well, I just want to know what I can do so I get to start more games and get more playing time as a center midfielder. I don’t think I am showing my best as a winger, and my parents tell me I am not going to get noticed by the college scouts unless something changes.” How to Increase Mental Toughness: 4 Secrets From Navy SEALs and Olympians Know what’s really interesting? Learning how Navy SEALs build mental toughness to handle deadly situations. Know what else is really interesting? Learning how Olympic athletes deal with the pressure of competition when the entire world is watching. Know what’s the most interesting of all?

Have our kids gotten soft? Five ways to teach them grit Now, I have to commend these millennials for being so self-actualized that they feel very comfortable moving around to find the perfect gig. But I also wonder, where's the work ethic, the grit, the resilience? I never questioned working around the clock during my first jobs in my 20s because I believed a good work ethic would help me prove myself and move up, and it did. Millennials don't stay very long in jobs, said Robin Koval, co-author of provocative new book, "Grit to Great: How Perseverance, Passion and Pluck Take You From Ordinary to Extraordinary." "On the one hand, that's good because they should be aggressive in developing their careers," she said, "but on the other hand, some of it is because they have a setback at work and the only way they know how to deal with it is 'I have to go someplace else.'"