The Success Trail

Like the two children in the beloved Brothers Grimm story Hansel and Gretel, success leaves a trail.  So when we study those who are successful, we learn what made them so.   What is it that they know that the rest of us can learn?

Highly successful people are called outliers, those who fall outside the statistical averages in studies.  Until recently psychologists considered them inappropriate for further study because they were so rare.

Enter the field of positive psychology.  In studies of kids in at risk communities they asked what the successful kids (the outliers) were doing that allowed them to thrive.  In contrast,  traditional questions were along the lines of what could be done to keep kids in school.

In one such study positive psychologists learned that kids who thrived against the odds of their environment had the following traits:  they were optimistic and yet grounded in reality, they believed that life had meaning and was purposeful, they were helpful to others (knowing that as they gave they also received), they focused on their strengths, had a set of goals, had role models, and they looked for and found social support.

Which one of these characteristics might you employ over the next few days?  Select one and keep tabs on how you feel when you use this skill.  Can you learn something from these kids?  Sometimes the best people to learn from are also the rarest.

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