Effort Trumps Ability

It has long been studied why Japanese students have long outscored American students when it comes to math. It must be the Japanese are just “smarter” or have better genetics for math, right?

It turns out is a matter of culture, not genetics.

Jim Stigler, professor of psychology at UCLA sums it up this way:

“For the most part in American culture, intellectual struggle in schoolchildren is seen as an indicator of weakness, while in Eastern cultures it is not only tolerated but is often used to measure emotional strength.”

As an example researcher gave first-grade students an impossible math problem.

The American students worked on it an average of less than 30 seconds.

The Japanese students? The researchers had to stop them after an hour of trying to solve it.

Did you get that?

These first-graders worked on the problem the whole hour before finally being told to stop.

Stigler: “Think about that [kind of behavior] spread over a lifetime. That’s a big difference.”

What would happen in your life if your effort trumped your ability? If even against impossible odds you kept persevering?

What couldn’t you do?

About the author

Coach Dean

Former Fat Boy Turned Health and Fitness Junkie. Award Winning Fitness Business Owner and Trainer. World Class Nutrition Coach. Truth Teller. Scholar. Opinionated. Humble and Willing To Tell You About It. Tell Dean He Is Full Of It On Any Of His Social Media Profiles. He Will Probably Agree.

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