I watched a Simon Sinek video the other day. In his talk about how to love your work he brought up the concept of success. ‘Who is successful?’ he asks.
Sinek brings up the student who is considered and labeled ‘gifted’ in school. (He quips with his audience and asks: “Why is it that smart kids are labeled ‘gifted’ while poorer students are labeled ‘special’?'” I thought that was funny.) He says about those gifted students that these students are the ones who end up being afraid to take risks and try new things – two requirements for being successful. They do not take risks because of the fear that if they fail they will not be considered smart anymore. This label that they have been given actually limits these gifted students, funny enough. Because of the fear of losing this ‘status’ these students do not try. They work to keep their status; to stay where they are.
On the other hand, average students get a very different message from others. These students are being recognized for their effort. They are encouraged to keep trying and to keep striving for better. These students end up being more successful (i.e. fulfilled and happy in life) than those students who were praised for being gifted (i.e. their accomplishments.)
What Sinek shares in his video is backed by research done by Carol Dweck and her team on how praise impacts students. That study was written up in a New York Magazine, which you can find here. Dweck’s research found that students who were praised for effort were the one’s who worked harder, were more willing to be creative, and were not afraid to fail.
The conclusion, then, is to be average. Being average means to be happy with who you are on the inside – regardless of accomplishments or failures. It means to have the understanding that to accomplish anything in life one must exert effort and be willing to learn, grow, and change. Being average means not being afraid to make mistakes. This is the recipe for success.
I loved hearing Simon Sinek say that average students were the successful one’s. I was always an average student.
How about you?
In support and admiration, and in awe of all that you are,
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