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A psychologist reveals the most important factor in academic and professional success that we largely all ignore

What’s the secret to success?

It’s not an easy question to answer.

So, why do some people succeed in almost everything they do?

Do they possess some hidden secret that most of us don’t know about?

Actually yes they do!

According to psychologist Angela Lee Duckworth, who for 10 years studied the most common predictors of academic and professional success, success doesn’t have much to do with intelligence or talent.

In fact, Duckworth says that the data clearly proved that talent doesn’t really amount to anything.


Rather, the most successful students and professionals possess one trait that we largely all ignore:


Yep, our ability to stick with something when it’s not working out. Who would have thought?

Check out Angela Duckworth’s brilliant TED Talk below which explains what grit is and how you can increase it in your daily life:

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Seeing as grit (our ability to stay motivated and passionate through failures and hiccups) is so important to our success, I’m sure you’re wondering:

Can I improve my grit?

The good news is, yes you can!

Here are 5 ways:

1) Focus on your self-talk

Whenever you give your best effort, even if you don’t succeed, give yourself a pat on the back. Too often, we’ll speak positively to ourselves for “being smart” rather than pushing through.

However, this only teaches us to adopt a fixed mindset — the belief that our talents are largely innate and can’t be improved.


It’s more fruitful to praise yourself when you bounce back from failure and push through tough times.

2) Surround yourself with people who persevere

Surround yourself with people who are positive and optimistic that they can beat the odds. There’s no point in surrounding yourself with people who believe that everything is innate and that talent is only the predictor of success. Those types of people are boring and uninspiring.

3) Adopt flexible thinking patterns

Being less rigid in your thoughts and actions allows resilience and grit to blossom. Flexible people don’t see problems. They see opportunities for growth!

4) Set tiny goals that align with your purpose

Research has found that people with a sense of purpose are happier. However, your purpose can be abstract and difficult to define.

By creating smaller goals that align with your purpose, you’ll stay motivated and purpose driven throughout your day.

5) Build time into your day for reflection.

When you give yourself time to think back on a day in a non-judgmental way, you can see what you have accomplished and what actions you need to take tomorrow to keep moving forward. It will help you stay clear, motivated and ready to take on the world!


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Written by Lachlan Brown

I’m Lachlan Brown, the editor of Ideapod and founder of Hack Spirit. I love writing practical articles that help others live a mindful and better life. I have a graduate degree in Psychology and I’ve spent the last 6 years reading and studying all I can about human psychology and practical ways to hack our mindsets. If you to want to get in touch with me, hit me up on Twitter or Facebook.

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