Most people, it appears, think that the difference between winners and losers, success and failure, is in the combination of hard work, self-discipline, consistent perseverance and the amount of luck they experienced.
Well, it turns outs that these beliefs held by most people are wrong!
In a recent study called “the essential prerequisite for success”, Dashun Wang, associate professor of management and organizations at Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management, and his colleagues discovered that the single most important factor is actually failure. And that what really matters is specifically how people fail and exactly how they respond to failure because that in turn determines where those failures lead.
One of the most interesting findings in the paper reporting the research study, published in ‘Nature’ is that the difference between those people who eventually succeeded and those people who eventually failed was not persistence because they both actually tried the same number of times to achieve their goals. The critical difference was in the way the person reacts to their failure.
The research study discovered that trying again and again and being persistent only actually works in a positive way if the person specifically learns from their previous failures. So the old adage to work smart and not hard was found to be the key to success. The successful person, says Wang, figures out what specifically it was that worked and what didn’t, and then they move on with that information and focus on what specifically needs to be improved instead of randomly thrashing around and changing nothing, something or everything. The research team discovered that the people who failed didn’t always work less than those people who succeeded and they could actually have sometimes worked more. That was not the factor that made the difference.
The differentiating factor was just that they made the necessary changes based on the information of what worked and what didn’t.
And then not giving up until success was achieved.
So, to keep a successful person motivated the research study found that the key indicator for whether or not this happened was the time between each consecutive failed attempt, which decreased steadily for those successful people who kept going. In other words, the faster they failed, the better their chances of achieving success, and the more time elapsing between failed attempts, the more likely they were to fail again. This led to the research team’s conclusion that they could look at the timing between each of the failures and predict whether or not the person would eventually succeed.
And that’s the answer to the following question:
Why when every winner starts out as a loser doesn’t every loser end up a winner?
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