what traits predict future success?

If you could bet on a 16 year old and get a percentage of their success for the rest of their life, what factors would you look at?

the factors that come to mind are:

1. have an intense ambition to be more successful then both parents

2. higher than average introspection

3. ability to be proactive (started a club, created a course of study for themselves, etc.)

4. be more concerned with understanding schoolwork than with grades

5 thoughts on “what traits predict future success?

  1. Buckleyplanet

    an urge to constantly build things — models, motors, designs.
    As I look back at my friends from junior high forward, the most successful among them were the builders, the creators, the ones who could not sit still but needed to create. I think its a fairly reliable indicator of future success.

  2. Thomas Laussermair

    Walter Mischel’s famous marshmallow experiments testing young kids impulse control showed that one’s ability to delay short-term gratification in the pursuit of a long-term reward correlate with one’s success in the future. I believe this to be especially significant for teenagers growing up in a culture of instant gratification all around them. Are they going to spend all day watching YouTube videos – or are they going to sit down, study, think, and/or build things driven by the desire to understand how things work and how to build a future they imagine?
    As you put it in one of your recent tweets: Nobody changed the world while they were on vacation.

  3. Ian Stewart

    Auren, I think rather than “have an intense ambition to be more successful then both parents”, they should have parents who encourage them to greater success.

  4. Ellie K

    You, sir, win the prize, for a perfect comment!
    Wise, witty and accurate. A rare instance in our contrarian world, or contrarian comment blogosphere: Behavior motivated by loving kindness (caring parents) can result in an optimal outcome.

  5. Adam Gries

    5. Slightly manic tendencies, higher than average optimism.
    6. A healthy growth mindset. When looking at a challenge reflexively responding with the thought “If I work hard enough, I can do that too.”


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