The story of success

kayakpic“Life, however we may view it, is not a simple parlor game;

But its prizes call for fighting, for endurance, and for grit;

for a rugged disposition that will not quit.”

– Navy SEAL Masterchief

The story that we usually hear about success is the one about intelligence.  That story says that those who get the best test scores, end up going to be best schools, getting the best educations, the best jobs, and ultimately end up being the most successful.

But, that story is actually a little off…

More and more groundbreaking research in psychology, neuroscience, and economics is pointing out that the qualities that matter most have less to do with IQ and more to do with things like character, grit, optimism, curiosity, and conscientiousness.

Our educational system here in the U.S is unfortunately mostly concerned with test scores and IQ. This is a tragedy, because in many cases, this system leads students to focus solely on this one quality while neglecting the other qualities mentioned above that may actually have a far greater impact on their success in life.

How then are these other qualities to be developed?


I’ve seen way more character and grit developed in places like Marine Corps boot camp, martial arts dojos, and on challenging courses like Outward Bound and the National Outdoor Leadership School than I’ve ever seen in a traditional classroom.


Grit and character being developed in “the pit” – USMC Boot Camp

If we are to develop these qualities of grit and character, then we must proactively seek out experiences that will foster their development.  We cannot expect these less traditional and more challenging experiences to fall into our laps.  No, we must pursue them and lean into them.

Optimism and curiosity involve thinking for ourselves and training our minds.  Part of this comes from what sources of information we choose to allow into our minds, and part of it comes from developing the ability to think creatively for ourselves.  Our brain’s are amazing and the more that we use them, the stronger they will become.

Take a look at this list of some of the more important qualities impacting success:

  • Character
  • Grit
  • Optimism
  • Curiosity
  • Conscientiousness

Have you, and are you, working to improve each of these?

If not, then when and how are you going to start?

Don’t fall victim to the “I can’t because my situation is different” mentality!

If you don’t have time to work on these things, then it’s time to start making time.  Here’s a hint: it won’t be easy and you will probably get some resistance from the world if you are no longer settling for the status-quo.

But that’s ok, because in the process of fighting this resistance from “the norm” you will be developing character and grit while on your way towards sharing your unique, one of a kind art with the world!

We’d love to hear about your plans! Leave a comment or email to share your story.


If you are wanting to quit settling for the status-quo and are ready to do something special with your life then Peak Performance Coaching is for you.  Email to set up your free, no-hassle consultation today.

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