This is What it Takes to Succeed

Do you know what is the most important factor determining your level of success? There are many factors, and your intelligence level is certainly one of them. The study of psychology and intelligence proposes different theories of intelligence and many different types. One particular type of intelligence I would like to share with you is called Successful Intelligence.

Successful Intelligence is described by Professor Robert Sternberg, PhD. He is Professor of Human Development at Cornell University, and he was the past President for the American Psychological Association.

According to Sternberg, “successful intelligence is the use of an integrated set of abilities needed to attain success in life, however an individual defines it, within his or her sociocultural context. Thus, there is no one definition of intelligence. People are successfully intelligent by virtue of recognizing their strengths and making the most of them at the same time they recognize their weaknesses and find ways to correct or compensate for them.”

There are three components of successful intelligence. These are analytical, creative, and practical intelligence. For example, you can take any idea and apply the three types of intelligences to it. From an analytical perspective, it will allow you to analyze, evaluate, assess, and critique the idea. Creative intelligence would allow you to invent, discover, create new or original ideas. Practical intelligence allows you to use, apply, or implement the idea. It is the combination of these three types of intelligence that composes successful intelligence. Successful intelligence is what allows you to navigate your way through a new job or a relationship. It is the thought and behavioral patterns that set you up for success.

By developing some of the characteristics of successfully intelligent people, you can improve your workplace performance and quality of life. I will share three of these characteristics.

One of the characteristics of people who are successfully intelligent is that they are not afraid to risk failure. They understand that there may not be a favorable outcome the first time, or even after the first several times, and that they need to adjust their approach accordingly. Rather than viewing failure as a setback and get discouraged, they view it as an opportunity for learning, revealing the lessons that will bring them success.

Another one of the characteristics of successfully intelligent people is that they motivate themselves. There are two types of motivators. Intrinsic motivators and extrinsic motivators. Although it is good to have both motivators present, it will ultimately be intrinsic motivation that is sustainable. This is because an intrinsically-generated motive will last, regardless of any change in tangible rewards. They stay intrinsically motivated by knowing what their strengths are and capitalizing on them.

Successfully intelligent people can translate thought into action. They use creativity to generate ideas, and they use analytical intelligence to further assess these ideas. Practical intelligence is necessary to determine how to use the idea and become profitable because of it.

In addition to having these qualities, people who want to be successful surround themselves with people who are successful and learn from them. I cannot underestimate the value of having a mentor.

Ultimately, you have to determine what success is to you. Then you have to be creative to think of ideas to get you there. Developing analytical abilities to further assess these ideas will be key. Most importantly, understanding how to create and implement an action plan in order to make your thoughts a reality.


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