Thursday, April 28, 2011

The key to success

The key to success.

Is it Intelligence?

Kids who score higher on IQ tests will, on average, go on to do better in conventional measures of success in life: academic achievement, economic success, even greater health, and longevity. Is that because they are more intelligent? Not necessarily. New research concludes that IQ scores are partly a measure of how motivated a child is to do well on the test. And harnessing that motivation might be as important to later success as so-called native intelligence.

Is it some degree of inherent talent, the ability to perform at peak maximum performance?

We live in a society obsessed with maximum performance. Think of exams like the SAT and the GRE. Though these tests take only a few hours, they're supposed to give schools and companies a snapshot of an individual's abiding talents.

Consider the NFL Scouting Combine, in which players entering the draft perform short physical and mental tasks, such as the 40-yard dash. The Combine is meant to measure physical ability; that's why teams take the results so seriously.

But as Mr. Sackett demonstrated with ... supermarket cashiers, such high-stakes tests are often spectacularly bad at predicting performance in the real world. Though the SAT does a decent job of predicting the grades of college freshmen—the test accounts for about 12% of the individual variation in grade point average—it is much less effective at predicting levels of achievement after graduation. Professional academic tests suffer from the same flaw. A study by the University of Michigan Law School, for instance, found that LSAT scores bore virtually no relationship to career success as measured by levels of income, life satisfaction or public service.
Even the NFL Combine is a big waste of time. According to a recent study by economists at the University of Louisville, there's no "consistent statistical relationship" between the results of players at the Combine and subsequent NFL performance.
Obviously at some level you have to perform, but apparently the high scorers in tests of peak performance are not necessarily the great successes.

So what does appear to be the primary factor?

Angelea Duckworth would call it Grit.  The ability to keep practicing, keep putting in the long drudge hours when others decide to do something that is more fun.  It is not determination on game day, but determination in the many hours that lead up to game day.

The expert performance framework distinguishes between deliberate practice and less effective practice activities. The current longitudinal study is the first to use this framework to understand how children improve in an academic skill.
Specifically, the authors examined the effectiveness and subjective experience of three preparation activities widely recommended to improve spelling skill. Deliberate practice, operationally defined as studying and memorizing words while alone, better predicted performance in the National Spelling Bee than being quizzed by others or reading for pleasure.
Rated as the most effortful and least enjoyable type of preparation activity, deliberate practice was increasingly favored over being quizzed as spellers accumulated competition experience. Deliberate practice mediated the prediction of final performance by the personality trait of grit, suggesting that perseverance and passion for long-term goals enable spellers to persist with practice activities that are less intrinsically rewarding—but more effective—than other types of preparation.

Angela Duckworth

Angela Duckworth speaking of what makes you successful:  video link (recomended)Website.  Note, if you think spelling bees are too esoteric, she is mirroring the research of K. Anders Ericsson and his studies of expert performance.  The primary difference is that he discusses the needed elements of the practise, and she tends to focus on the motivation needed to undertake this practise.
So Maybe Not.

1 comment:

pro said...

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