Analyses of what make people successful will always vary depending on culture and the definition of success. However, I think it is important to discuss them with gifted students. Some of these students will develop innovative and wonderful ideas that could make a huge contribution to society. However, it is not always the case that the person with the best idea is successful in gaining recognition for the idea, no matter what its worth. In this way many good ideas, high hopes and noteworthy talents can go to waste, and, I suspect, many hearts are broken.
Art Costa’s Habits of Mind is a set of behaviours that can be learned, based on analyses of successful people in many domains. Renzulli, Sternberg, Gagné and many other theorists in intellect and giftedness have looked at what conditions, attitudes or behaviours lead to various kinds of success.
However, I have found something homegrown today. A Kiwi organisation for professional women has looked at the success factors among some of our own very successful women. They have focussed on self-awareness, good advisors and drive (which looks a lot like Renzulli’s task commitment to me) as key ingredients for success. Here is the first article in a series of three, focusing on self-awareness.