Successful people present a conundrum to those seeking to achieve something similar. We try to learn from and emulate those who we see as ideal, but that’s not always effective.
A recent study shows that students who learned that great scientists struggled, both personally and intellectually, outperformed those who learned only of the scientists’ great achievements. Knowing that people like Albert Einstein and Marie Curie didn’t just breeze into their success is empowering.
Older research reveals that we learn more from what not to do than what to do. Firefighters trained with case studies that focused on others who had made poor decisions and suffered adverse consequences ultimately showed better judgment and better adaptive thinking than a control group provided with case studies that focused on positive results.
So, in a nutshell … we do better when we know that succeeding is challenging for everyone, no matter who you are. And we learn better from the mistakes of others rather than focusing only on what worked.
So what’s the common trait? If it’s not infallible talent and super-human confidence, what do we need to cultivate in order to succeed?