The Success Formula


Author: Ryan Chase, Gator Career Consultant

What makes successful people successful? This is a question that I think many people want the answer to.

I would contend that most individuals want to be successful at the things they do, i.e. work, school, sports, etc. While some individuals seek a shortcut to success, long-term sustained success is not easily attained.

The question of what characteristics make up a successful person led to the ground-breaking research by Dr. Angela Duckworth, professor of Psychology at the University of Pennsylvania.

Dr. Duckworth studied children and adults in a variety of challenging environments including the National Spelling Bee, West Point Military Academy, and top private sales firms to determine who was successful in these environments and why. After her numerous studies, she determined the main characteristic of these successful people was grit.

Grit is a passion and perseverance for very long-term goals and requires you to work hard to stay focused on your goals. Grit, like other skills, requires practice to achieve maximum results.

I want you to reflect for a moment and be honest with yourself (since you don’t have to share this with anyone):

  • What are you passionate about?
  • What are your long-term goals?
  • What have you already done to start working toward those goals?

As you reflect, I want you keep in mind a few things to keep you on the path to success:

Grit is not the same as talent. We often think of people with an incredible talent as successful, but talent alone is not enough to sustain success.

Have a Growth Mindset. Know that your ability to learn is not fixed, it can improve over time if you believe in life-long learning. While competition can be healthy, you shouldn’t be competing with your classmates, co-workers, or Facebook friends. Your main competition is with yourself from yesterday.

Understand that failure is inevitable but creates an opportunity to learn and grow and can increase your ability to learn. Your success is largely tied to you and your ability to focus and persevere in the face of adversity.

Stay hungry for knowledge, determined to succeed, positive about yourself, kind to others, but most of all, stay gritty!

Ryan Chase graduated from UF in 2007 with a master’s degree in education. He is currently a middle school principal with Sarasota County Schools and has been in education for 14 years.

The UF Career Connections Center spoke with Chase about his experiences at the university and his career journey in education.

Want to share your experience and knowledge with other Gators? The Career Connections Center is recruiting Gator Career Consultants.

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