In a topic that’s a little bit away from the usual personal finance blogosphere, but highly relevant is having life satisfaction and a high degree of achievement.
Having recently read the New York Times article on this topic, “What if the Secret to Success is failure?”, it made me wonder and reflect on my own life. The article summarizes educators’ mission to improve the graduation rates and predictors of success in life of their students. It was observed that those students that succeeded in college, were not necessarily those with the highest placement test, but in fact they had other characteristics that allowed them to persevere in college. This is rated in what they call a Character Grade. Among the top characteristics were: zest, grit, self-control, social intelligence, gratitude, optimism and curiosity. These characteristics, taught and impressed on young children would then help them build the necessary tool set to deal with stresses later on in life.
It’s a radical way of thinking, and I like it. I think these characteristics apply to life in general, and certainly to personal finance. This is my take on how each of these characteristics would apply:
- Zest – meaning great enthusiasm and energy
- keeping up the energy to deal with the bills and to keep on track for debt freedom. nothing helps more than a good attitude.
- Grit – courage and resolve
- having the strength to deal with your issues head on and not giving up. the start is a little daunting, but gets easier as you move on.
- Self-control – The ability to control oneself
- pretty explanatory, developing the skill to control our desires and wants can help us achieve our true goals.
- Social Intelligence - the ability to use one’s brain to navigate and negotiate complex social relationships
- it helps with careers tremendously. being able to relate to others, or understand when it is appropriate to bring up issues is crucial.
- Gratitude - the quality of being thankful
- i can’t tell you the number of times saying thank you has helped me somewhere down the road. it’s the polite thing to do, but it also helps lift someone’s spirits, thereby improving your social intelligence. Being thankful for what we have currently is a great way to take stock of your life and analyzing what your goals truly mean to you.
- Optimism - hopefulness and confidence about the future
- When you’re in debt, you have to have this optimism to get you through the days. It’s a tough road, as great debt doesn’t easily disappear, but you have to be confident that better days will come.
- Curiosity - a strong desire to know or learn something
- Start with knowing your debts, but continue by learning about the topics you’re most afraid of. I was afraid of personal finance and retirement at the beginning, but the more I learned and read, the more comfortable I got. That’s how I got started with this blog, with just a strong curiosity to learn and improve myself.
Do you apply these charteristics to your life?