Samir’s Selection 01/27/2014 (p.m.)
What Drives Success? – NYTimes.com
Amy Chua and Jed Rubenfeld : It turns out that for all their diversity, the strikingly successful groups in America today share three traits that, together, propel success. The first is a superiority complex – a deep-seated belief in their exceptionality. The second appears to be the opposite – insecurity, a feeling that you or what you’ve done is not good enough. The third is impulse control…In a study of thousands of high school students, Asian-American students reported the lowest self-esteem of any racial group, even as they racked up the highest grades… Moreover, being an outsider in a society – and America’s most successful groups are all outsiders in one way or another – is a source of insecurity in itself. Immigrants worry about whether they can survive in a strange land, often communicating a sense of life’s precariousness to their children. Hence the common credo: They can take away your home or business, but never your education, so study harder…every one of America’s most successful groups takes a very different view of childhood, inculcating habits of discipline from a very early age …In any given family, an unusually strong parent, grandparent or even teacher can instill in children every one of the three crucial traits. It’s just much harder when you have to do it on your own, when you can’t draw on the cultural resources of a broader community, when you don’t have role models or peer pressure on your side, and instead are bombarded daily with negative images of your group in the media…Researchers at the University of Rochester recently reran the famous marshmallow test with a new spin. Children initially subjected to a broken promise – adults promised them a new art set to play with, but never delivered – almost invariably “failed” the test (snatching the first marshmallow instead of waiting 15 minutes for a promised second). By contrast, when the adults followed through on their promise, most kids passed the test.The same factors that cause poverty – discrimination, prejudice, shrinking opportunity – can sap from a group the cultural forces that propel success. Once that happens, poverty becomes more entrenched. In these circumstances, it takes much more grit, more drive and perhaps a more exceptional individual to break out…The way to develop this package of qualities – not that it’s easy, or that everyone would want to – is through grit. It requires turning the ability to work hard, to persevere and to overcome adversity into a source of personal superiority. This kind of superiority complex isn’t ethnically or religiously exclusive. It’s the pride a person takes in his own strength of will…But research shows that perseverance and motivation can be taught, especially to young children.
Do the Poor Have More Meaningful Lives? : The New Yorker
Jonathan Safran Foer
Some of the most rewarding life experiences are popular because they favor meaningful hardship over simple pleasure…
People from poor countries also tended to have stronger social connections—to report that they could count on friends and family for support if they encountered trouble—and to have more children than the rich; Oishi and Diener found that people from countries with a higher fertility rate consistently reported leading a meaningful life…
The researchers found that people were happiest when their needs and desires were met in the present, but that this immediate fulfillment “was largely irrelevant to meaningfulness.”… People who felt their lives were meaningful, on the other hand, were likelier to have experienced fulfilling social relationships, engaged in acts of charity, taken care of their children, thought about struggles and challenges, and prayed, among other activities.
The BBC’s independence rests on being influenced by the public, not politicians | Media | The Guardian
Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.