Why Are Some People More Successful Than Others?
Natural born talent and opportunity are big factors of success but even people with high levels of both talent and opportunity often do not achieve success.
Science and psychology in particular has often set out to identify the determinants of success but has so far not agreed a framework of success.
An article recently published in the Current Directions in Psychological Science journal aimed to examine the factors leading to both everyday success and extraordinary achievement. (Duckworth & Gross, 2014)
What is lacking—and of central interest in this article—is an integrative framework for understanding the requirements for these two kinds of success.
The authors discussed how self-control and grit are important factors of success that are often highlighted but somewhat misunderstood.
Today, “self-control” and “grit” are sometimes used interchangeably. However, despite overlap in key underlying psychological processes, self-control and grit are not identical.
The article discussed self-control as the ability to resist constant temptations:
It is now understood that self-control is required when there is a conflict between two possible action tendencies (i.e., impulses)—one corresponding to a momentarily alluring goal and the other corresponding to a more valued goal whose benefits are deferred in time, more abstract, or otherwise more psychologically distant
And explained grit as passion and sustained effort over a long period of time:
Prospective longitudinal studies have shown that grit predicts the completion of challenging goals despite obstacles and setbacks.