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Entrepreneurship: Building Rewarding Ventures

What Predicts Success? Myths and Realities

In this video, Dr. Paula J. Caproni discusses the ways in which we misconstrue others' success, and details true predictors of successful ventures. This video is part of our Science of Success MOOC.

Excerpt From


0:09 hi there 0:10 it's good to see you in this session 0:13 you'll learn about what predicts success 0:15 and i'm going to begin the session with 0:17 a little quiz 0:19 now how much of your success and let's 0:22 say 0:23 salaries and promotion is predicted by 0:26 your iq 0:27 your intelligence quotient for our 0:29 purposes 0:30 we'll use iq to mean how well you do 0:33 on standardized tests of intelligence 0:37 and let's assume you're somewhere in the 0:39 normal range of intelligence 0:41 and let's even assume that you're on the 0:43 high end of intelligence 0:46 so again how much of your success 0:49 let's say salary and promotions is 0:51 predicted by your iq 0:54 75 to 100 0:57 50 to 74 percent 1:00 25 to 49 percent or below 1:04 25 percent the correct answer is d 1:09 below 25 percent researcher robert 1:12 sternberg 1:13 one of the world's most renowned experts 1:15 on the link between intelligence and 1:17 success in life 1:18 found that iq as assessed by 1:20 conventional standardized tests 1:23 predicts only between 4 to 25 1:26 percent of people's success in life 1:28 assuming they're somewhere in the normal 1:30 even high range of intelligence 1:32 as sternberg says that's scarcely 1:34 something to write home about 1:37 so why isn't iq a powerful predictor of 1:39 long-term success 1:41 sternberg says that people often assume 1:45 that being smart is the same thing as 1:47 being intelligent 1:49 and they define intelligence as how well 1:51 people do on standardized tests and 1:53 grades 1:54 in school now iq tests tend to focus on 1:57 analytical skills 1:59 also known as book smarts although book 2:01 smarts may help us get high grades in 2:03 school 2:04 book smarts aren't the only kind of 2:06 smarts we need to succeed 2:08 in a complex ambiguous and ever-changing 2:10 world 2:11 in which real problems are often hard to 2:13 define the one best answer doesn't 2:15 always exist 2:17 and we need the support of others to 2:19 accomplish our goals 2:20 we also need flexibility creativity and 2:23 the willingness to take calculated risks 2:25 and invest in lifelong learning we need 2:28 to be able to inspire others 2:30 influence others and develop mutually 2:32 supportive relationships 2:34 and we need to be dependable because 2:37 other people count on us to achieve 2:38 their goals as well 2:40 and we need to be able to manage stress 2:42 and be persistent and resilient 2:44 especially in the face of hurdles and 2:47 failures 2:48 finally we need to know when to cut our 2:50 losses and find opportunities 2:52 that are better aligned with our values 2:54 and life goals 2:57 this explains why some people who excel 3:00 in school 3:01 never achieve their goals after they 3:02 graduate and why 3:04 some people who are mediocre students 3:06 achieve or even exceed their goals 3:09 i'm not saying here that analytical 3:11 skills aren't important to your success 3:14 the ability to think clearly and 3:16 logically being able to see the 3:18 different parts of complex problems and 3:20 how these parts fit together 3:22 being able to see patterns and solve 3:23 problems in a systematic way using 3:26 evidence in order to make decisions and 3:29 being able to communicate the steps you 3:31 take to understand 3:32 and solve complex problems certainly 3:34 matter a lot in life 3:36 but analytical skills as measured by 3:39 standardized tests of analytical ability 3:42 will not be enough to help you achieve 3:44 the success that you desire 3:47 now people often ask me whether iq is 3:49 something that is wired in 3:51 at birth well the answer is complicated 3:54 because researchers have been debating 3:56 this 3:57 for a long time many researchers argue 4:00 that iq is innate 4:02 but many other researchers believe that 4:04 a person's iq can change 4:05 certainly up to a point through 4:07 supportive environments and practice 4:10 researchers have found that a supportive 4:13 and intellectually stimulating 4:14 environment 4:15 can result in a 12 to 18 point different 4:18 in ice q scores for some people now this 4:21 increase in points can move someone from 4:24 being categorized from 4:25 low to average intelligence or from 4:27 average to above average intelligence 4:30 some researchers have found that for 4:32 each year that a student misses in 4:34 school 4:36 their iq scores decline about six points 4:40 i have a personal story related to this 4:43 mba 4:44 programs typically require that students 4:46 take the graduate management admissions 4:48 test 4:48 that's designed to assess a variety of 4:51 verbal 4:51 writing and analytical skills believed 4:54 to be relevant to success in 4:56 business these skills include analytical 4:59 writing and problem solving 5:01 as well as skills in data analysis logic 5:04 and critical reasoning 5:05 when i was applying for admission to mba 5:08 programs 5:08 i took the gmat test twice the first 5:11 time i didn't do very well 5:13 and in fact not very well at all and my 5:17 college counselor told me that i should 5:18 forget about getting an mba 5:20 and he'd be happy to hear now how my 5:22 life turned out 5:24 thankfully instead of believing him i 5:27 bought a gmat preparation book 5:29 and that was before the internet that 5:31 had hundreds of questions 5:33 and i studied from that book every night 5:36 i answered every question in that book i 5:39 identified which questions i got wrong 5:42 and i 5:43 figured out why i got those questions 5:45 wrong and then i take the practice test 5:47 over and over again and when i took the 5:51 official gmat test again 5:53 my score went up quite a bit enough to 5:56 help me get into the mba program i 5:58 wanted to join at the university of 6:00 massachusetts amherst 6:01 and eventually into the yale phd program 6:05 now that's a photo of me after my 6:07 graduation from the mba program 6:10 and who knows where i'd be today if i 6:12 had listened to that college counselor 6:15 now i'm not saying that studying for 6:17 tests of scholastic achievement will 6:19 always improve someone's grades but it 6:22 does for many people 6:23 my point is that you may have more 6:25 control over assessments of your 6:27 analytic abilities 6:29 than you think jumping into the middle 6:32 of the debate 6:33 about whether iq and analytical 6:35 abilities 6:36 are innate may be entertaining and they 6:39 may be interesting 6:40 but it won't help you in your quest for 6:42 success 6:44 how do i know that because stanford 6:47 professor 6:48 of psychology carol dweck and her 6:50 colleagues have shown 6:51 that you're more likely to achieve your 6:53 life goals if you believe your 6:55 intelligence 6:56 talents and personality are fluid which 6:59 means 7:00 changeable with effort rather than fixed 7:03 which means innate and unchangeable 7:07 you'll learn more about the power 7:08 beliefs have in predicting your success 7:11 later in this course so 7:14 if iq isn't as strong a predictor of 7:16 success that many people assume it is 7:19 then what about natural talent do you 7:22 find yourself saying she's a natural 7:25 leader 7:25 or he's a natural communicator do you 7:28 ever say things like i'm not a people 7:31 person 7:31 or i'm not a numbers person if so 7:35 you're showing one of the most common 7:37 biases people have 7:38 and one that can hold you back from 7:41 achieving the success that you desire 7:44 one of the most important lessons to 7:46 take from this course 7:48 is that believing in the idea that there 7:50 are born leaders 7:51 natural talents and overnight successes 7:54 can hold you back from achieving your 7:56 goals 7:57 because these beliefs can hold you back 7:59 from putting in the years of dedicated 8:02 time and effort that it takes to become 8:04 successful 8:05 in whatever you choose to do now what 8:08 looks like natural talent is 8:10 usually the result of years of mindful 8:13 deliberate practice 8:16 consider the following examples tennis 8:20 champion serena williams who has won 8:22 four olympic gold medals is often 8:24 portrayed as being a 8:25 natural athlete we don't know if she was 8:28 born with any innate athletic advantages 8:31 but we do know that she started playing 8:34 tennis when she was only three years old 8:36 when her family moved to compton 8:38 california to begin 8:40 serena's and her sister venuses another 8:42 world-class champion 8:43 their tennis training in earnest the 8:46 family moved several times to give their 8:48 daughters the best coaching available 8:51 serena endured several losses and 8:53 injuries throughout her career 8:55 by the time she was seen as an overnight 8:57 success 8:58 she had invested over 15 years into 9:01 becoming one of the most accomplished 9:03 tennis players in the world 9:05 british prime minister winston churchill 9:08 whose impassioned 9:09 speeches inspired the united kingdom 9:11 during the darkest days of world war ii 9:14 is considered to be one of the greatest 9:16 orators of the 20th century 9:19 yet for years he worked hard to overcome 9:21 a speech impediment 9:23 he practiced his speeches over and over 9:25 again 9:26 until they seemed to flow effortlessly 9:29 churchill sometimes 9:30 even used his speech impediment to his 9:32 advantage by deliberately inserting 9:35 long pauses in his speeches for emphasis 9:39 actor james earl jones the famous voice 9:42 of star wars darth vader 9:44 overcame a childhood stutter to become 9:46 one of the media's most powerful 9:48 and memorable voices in an interview 9:51 jones said that he believes his 9:53 difficulty speaking when he was a child 9:55 helped him become a particularly good 9:57 listener throughout his life 9:59 he credits his high school teacher's 10:01 efforts to help him overcome his stutter 10:03 by repeatedly encouraging him to recite 10:05 poetry out loud in class 10:07 as the first step along his path to 10:09 becoming an actor 10:11 the beatles the best-selling rock band 10:14 in history 10:15 was an immediate sensation in the u.s 10:17 when they made their television debut 10:19 on the ed sullivan show on february 9 10:22 1964 10:23 an unprecedented 73 million people 10:26 watched them 10:27 and that evening's ed sullivan show 10:29 became the highest rated tv show 10:32 ever at that time what is less known is 10:35 that the band practiced throughout 10:36 europe for several years 10:38 including two years in german bars for 10:40 eight hours a day 10:41 before they became what seemed to be an 10:44 overnight success 10:45 the band had played in over 1200 10:47 concerts by the time they reached the ed 10:49 sullivan show 10:51 now natural born geniuses and overnight 10:54 successes 10:55 may exist but they are few and far 10:58 between 10:59 most successful people develop their 11:01 talents and earn their successes 11:03 day by day play by play while enduring 11:07 roadblocks 11:08 mistakes and failures along the way 11:11 certainly some people are born with 11:12 advantages physical size for jockeys 11:16 height for basketball players or an ear 11:18 for music for musicians 11:20 we are after all not all born the same 11:24 yet only dedication to mindful 11:26 deliberate 11:27 practice over many years can turn those 11:30 advantages into talents 11:32 and those talents into successes so even 11:35 though you may feel that you weren't 11:36 born with a talent for math 11:39 you can significantly increase your 11:40 mathematical abilities through such 11:42 mindful deliberate practice 11:44 or if you consider yourself naturally 11:47 shy 11:47 putting in the time and effort into 11:49 developing your social skills 11:51 can enable you to interact with people 11:53 at social occasions with grace 11:55 and with ease now listen to what michael 11:58 jordan one of the most awarded 11:59 basketball players of all time 12:01 has to say about natural talent versus 12:04 hard work 12:04 in this short video 12:09 maybe it's my fault maybe i led you to 12:13 believe 12:13 it was easy when it wasn't 12:17 maybe i made you think my highlight 12:18 started at the free throw line 12:20 and not in the gym maybe i made you 12:24 think that every shot i took 12:25 was a game-winner 12:28 that my game was built on flash and not 12:31 fire 12:34 maybe it's my fault that you didn't see 12:36 that failure gave me strength 12:38 that my pain was my motivation 12:40 [Music] 12:42 maybe i led you to believe that 12:44 basketball was a god-given gift 12:46 and not something i worked for every 12:49 single day of my life 12:55 maybe i destroyed the game 12:56 [Music] 12:59 or maybe you're just making excuses 13:10 note that jordan also created a 13:12 sustainable career 13:14 that brought him outstanding success 13:16 beyond his years as a professional 13:18 basketball player 13:20 through his business acumen he's now one 13:22 of the highest paid sports celebrities 13:24 in the world 13:25 and he was the first nba basketball 13:27 player to become a billionaire 13:30 now what i want you to remember is this 13:33 first analytical intelligence although 13:35 important 13:36 is only one predictor of success 13:39 second you can increase your analytical 13:42 intelligence 13:43 as well as many other skills that are 13:45 central to your success 13:46 through devoted practice and third 13:49 over-relying on intelligence can prevent 13:52 you from learning 13:53 other talents that are equally and 13:55 sometimes more important to your success 13:58 and well-being in life 14:00 so if analytical abilities aren't enough 14:02 and if natural talent 14:04 isn't enough what does predict success 14:08 researchers have found that successful 14:11 people 14:12 develop beliefs that propel them forward 14:15 rather than hold them back 14:17 they develop an expertise that is 14:19 meaningful to them 14:20 and that matters to others they are 14:23 self-motivated to achieve their goals 14:25 and they move steadily toward their 14:27 goals despite the inevitable failures 14:29 and setbacks 14:30 and they do so by being conscientious 14:32 and gritty 14:34 and they develop mutually supportive 14:36 relationships 14:37 through which they give and get 14:38 resources that are necessary to their 14:40 success 14:42 and to the success of others i will 14:45 discuss each of these strategies for 14:46 success throughout this course 14:48 and i will provide you with insights 14:50 from decades of research 14:52 as well as ideas and i hope the 14:54 inspiration 14:55 for implementing these strategies in 14:58 your own life 14:59 thank you for listening