What Drives Success?

Not sure I buy into #1. I’m a fervent believer in #2 and #3.
I’ve mastered #2. There’s considerable work required on #3.

“The strikingly successful groups in America today share three traits that, together, propel success. The first is a superiority complex — a deep-seated belief in their exceptionality. The second appears to be the opposite — insecurity, a feeling that you or what you’ve done is not good enough. The third is impulse control….

It’s odd to think of people feeling simultaneously superior and insecure. Yet it’s precisely this unstable combination that generates drive: a chip on the shoulder, a goading need to prove oneself. Add impulse control — the ability to resist temptation — and the result is people who systematically sacrifice present gratification in pursuit of future attainment.

But this success comes at a price. Each of the three traits has its own pathologies. Impulse control can undercut the ability to experience beauty, tranquillity and spontaneous joy. Insecure people feel like they’re never good enough…A superiority complex can be even more invidious. Group supremacy claims have been a source of oppression, war and genocide throughout history.”

~ Amy Chua & Jed Rubenfeld, What Drives Success?

Read entire article in NY Times: What Drives Success?  Worthy…


  1. This was a good article…..


  2. I’m not sure i buy into the article, though the supposition is really interesting.


  3. We’re in the same car, I think. Although writing and reading here (among other things I’m doing now) are helping me speed up, to get to where I want to go. Thanks for the wonderful vehicle of this post today, David.


  4. I’ll confess to being driven by all three, except I was a terrible student while in school, oh so many years ago and, so never received a bumper sticker.

    I would argue with the wording of #1 though. I don’t think of myself as “superior,” but as being confident that what is out there to be known, as others have have already discovered and shared with us, I can know too.

    I am very driven by what calls to me, but also truly believe that others have the same capacity, and are also called, even if our gifts manifest in different ways.



  5. makes sense to me


  6. A great read! I think you need grit to use whatever IQ you have. The 3 factors make sense to me – I know exactly a person like that from the groups the article mentioned. Culture and tradition really do play a big part.


  7. yes, grit is where it’s at.


  8. Yeah, I’d rather be mediocre.


  9. Finding Balance in The Land of Opportunists….


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: