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One little experiment that can predict success

One little experiment that can predict success

June 14, 2012

Here's an idea: throw away all the SAT tests, personality tests and other predictive tools because none of them work nearly as well as one little experiment anyone can do.

The experiment is so powerful it reveals whether people have what I believe is the single, most important factor for success. Here's a hint, it has to do with 'grit.'

For entrepreneurs, it's the difference between success and failure. I've seen it time and time again. So much so, that if an entrepreneur doesn't have this one factor ' we won't take them on as a client because I know they don't have what it takes.

Do you? Let's see'

Plus, I'll give you a tool you can rely on to determine whether, you, your managers or even your job candidates have what it takes to be successful.

A totally different Marshmallow Test gives a penetrating insight to success in business and life.

Researchers determined that children who could delay gratification -- and not eat a marshmallow in front of them -- were far more successful in life than those who couldn't resist the temptation.

Seems like we can learn a lot from marshmallows. Last week, I told you about the Marshmallow Challenge ' a great example of how to build a challenge to help you create a compelling story about your company.

Today, I want to talk to you about the great Marshmallow Test and how it uncovered the most important factor for success'

Here's how the test worked. Stanford Psychology Professor Walter Mischel sat 4-year-olds at a table and offered them a treat from a tray of marshmallows, cookies or pretzel sticks.

They could choose one. Most choose the marshmallow. They were told that they could eat the marshmallow right away or if they were willing to wait a few minutes while a researcher left the room they could have a second one when the researcher returned. According to the New Yorker Magazine, video tapes of the children in the study conducted over several years are hilarious.

'Some cover their eyes with their hands or turn around so that they can't see the tray,' according to the article. 'Others start kicking the desk, or tug on their pigtails, or stroke the marshmallow as if it were a tiny stuffed animal. One child, a boy with neatly parted hair, looks carefully around the room to make sure that nobody can see him. Then he picks up an Oreo, delicately twists it apart, and licks off the white cream filling before returning the cookie to the tray, a satisfied look on his face.'

Very few seem to have what it takes

How many do you think ate the cookie or marshmallow before the researcher returned? 25%? 50%? About 70% of them ate the treat in less than 3 minutes! Only about 30% of them were able to delay gratification and persevere their way through the ordeal. The result has a lot to do with you and me.

Here's where it gets really interesting, more interesting 20 years later. In a follow-up study with the 650 children Mishcel tested, he found that the 30% who delayed gratification had higher SAT scores, did better in school and were generally more successful than the children who didn't have the same level of self-control. Wait, read that again. Those who delayed gratification did better in life.

I see the same things with many business owners who want us to take them on as clients. They want instant gratification and if they don't get it, they quit or they move onto the next shiny bobble. Sometimes we carry our entitlement tendancies a bit too far.

Nothing, nothing that is truly great or meaningful in life comes without investment. It's best to develop the attitude of hating handouts and gifts. Yes, I said it, develop the approach of not wanting a free gift. It's liberating.

Business owners we work with who are successful are able to delay their gratification and persevere through even the toughest times.

The most important factor of all ' THE GRIT FACTOR'

Why? Because they have I believe is the most important factor of all ' grit! The 30% of the 4-year-olds who resisted the urge to chomp on a cookie or marshmallow had it. Twenty years later they still had it ' and they were far more successful as a result.

But what exactly is Grit? A team of researchers defined it best in an article published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, who described Grit as perseverance for long-term goals.

Here's my question to you: How high is your Grit Factor?

Grit is defined as persevernce for long-term goals. Our most successful clients have it. Dick Hoyt and his son, Rick, have it too. They're one of my Top 11 stories of determination featured as part of your FREE Grit Factor Assessment.

Why is this so important? Because running a business is one of the most difficult things you can do. And we all know it's lonely at the top but if you have the passion and perseverance to grit your way through it, you'll be successful.

I was speaking with a client who owns an insurance company earlier this week. He's worried about going forward with his marketing because he isn't sure he'll be able to sell as many policies following a 35% increase in rates. Last time rates jumped this much he shut down part of his business. This time, he's planning to grit his way through it. He's moving ahead with his marketing and plans to stay on course even though he doesn't have a clear solution. He is planning a multi touch campaign that requires long-term vision that if you keep nurturing them, it does pay off. By the way this strategy is proven beyond the shadow of a doubt but most don't have the stomach to keep communicating with their list over the long haul. Now he's got Grit!

Another client, a distributor, is in a a lawsuit against their supplier. The supplier wants to cut them off without cause. That's tough! Imagine how difficult it must be for the owner and management team to come to work every day knowing they have this battle looming. But they're determined to resolve the issue.

Brokers and loan officers in the mortgage business across the country have been dealing with setbacks for the last several years as consumer debt levels rise and credit scores fall. But that hasn't stopped one of our clients from launching a new product to help other brokers reduce their clients' debt so they can get the loan they need. Every storm has a silver lining.

A setback is just a set up'

Willie Jolly said it best in the title of his book, 'A Setback is a Set Up for a Comeback.' I love that saying because the entrepreneurs who have Grit understand that a setback is just part of doing business. But with a little perseverance they can overcome just about anything.

But here's the key to Grit. You see there are two elements of Grit: #1 perseverance of interest ' and #2 perseverance of action, according to the study in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. Most people just think of grit as effort but it's also really about your focus. If you're the type of person who comes into work every day with new ideas and you're constantly changing priorities, you're like the 4-year-old who wants his marshmallow as soon as he's left alone. Instead, set a course and stay on it, yes, you can make adjustments, but only change if you absolutely have to, NOT because something else interested you that day. Most people have ADHD symptoms, meaning they are always interested in the 'new idea'. It's great but it kills long term performance.

If you keep shifting priorities everyone around you ' from your managers to your employees and from your partners to your customers ' will get frustrated. If your interest keeps changing, people will lose faith and confidence. Ideas need action. And your action must be consistent.

Are you viewing problems with a small lens or a wide lens?

If you're the type of person who comes into work every day with new ideas and you're constantly changing priorities, you're like the 4-year-old who wants his marshmallow as soon as he's left alone. Instead, set a course and stay on it.

Don't get lost in short term problems. When you're focused on the short-term it's like looking at the world through a microscope ' you lose your perspective ' and small problems appear as if they're big mountains instead of mole hills.

Remember, Grit Factor is a willingness to delay gratification and stay focused on your long-term goals. And your grit is dependent upon your perseverance of interest and perseverance of action.

So should we start putting our managers in a room by themselves with a marshmallow in front of them and see how long they can go before they stuff it in their mouths? You can try it. Or you can use our Grit Factor Assessment to see if you or your managers have what it takes. Take the test yourself and see where you need to get stronger so that you can focus on what matters the most. Start here and see for yourself'

To get all 12 and see how you rate on the Grit Factor Scale GO HERE to continue. Plus, you'll also get examples of my top 10 most amazing people such as Walt Disney, Ray Kroc and Roger Banister who leveraged the power of grit to produce extraordinary results and how and where they applied the Grit Factor to their lives.

These are people who refused to take 'No' for an answer and persevered even through some of the toughest challenges.

GO HERE to check it out.

Always taking you from where you are to where you want to go,
Jon

 

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