Silver Lining: the one trait that predicts success as an adult

March 11, 2013

the one trait that predicts success as an adult

Last week, I learned a lot watching my 5th graders interact outside of the normal school setting. I watched the little things, like how they played together and how they cleaned up. It's amazing how set most of their personalities are by 5th grade. I'm not a human behavioralist, and this is not a definitive study, but here's what I noticed:

There was a strong and noticeable difference between those who had a strong work ethic and those who didn't.

Let me explain. Some students jumped right in and already knew how to sweep a floor on kitchen clean-up duty. There were also those who didn't know how, and tried to slip out the door when it was cleaning time. Cleaning was stressful for some, and just part of the normal routine for others. I noticed that those who knew how to clean were also those who for the most part were more mature and able to interact well with adults.

Many children are growing up feeling rather entitled. Their parents had a hard time as a youth, and therefore are trying to avoid those pains and trials by making life as easy as possible for their child. This is great, and I so appreciate how hard parents work to make a good life for their children. The fact remains, however, that there is no substitute for hard work. If children don't get chances to develop that work ethic, it's going to hurt them, not help them, down the road.

Nothing worth accomplishing comes without work in this life. My marriage is the best thing in my life, and it's a lot of work. My career is so rewarding, and it's a lot of work. I love this blog, and it's a lot of work. It might be rather American Dream of me, but I honestly believe that being able to work hard at something is more important than how smart you are, how many connections you have, or any other factor. TV shows lately are all about people who are lucky, not hard-working, and people who take shortcuts and it works. But in the real world, nothing works as well as... work.

This article about raising resilient children is what got me thinking about this in the first place.
And this one about hard work predicting success in college was interesting too.

What do you think about hard work?
Are there other traits that predict success more?
I'd love to hear your thoughts!


  1. I COMPLETELY agree with this post. Especially being a teacher and seeing all of the different ways that children behave, which is a direct result of the way they are raised. Hard work is such an important thing to be teaching our kids... we can do that as teachers :-)

    Great post!

  2. I love this. I actually told Jordan last night that I wanted him to read that article in the ensign. It struck a cord with me. I agree with everything you've said. You are a smart woman.

  3. Oh my goodness. You just blogged everything I have been thinking for the past few months. I agree 100% with everything you have said. Working brings success and knowing how to work hard brings the greatest happiness. I love those articles and the Ensign article, though I am not married or raising children, is a VERY important lesson. I also thought this article about Ben Affleck's speech at the Oscars and how it applied to life ( was excellent as well.

  4. Brooke, you're so smart. My kids need to learn a lesson or two from you! Just kidding just kidding. Hard work is impossible to succeed without!


  5. You are right on! Nowaday, many think that they don't need to work hard because they will one day soon win the lottery. Hard work is the only way to go at it! Thanks for sharing such a powerful post!

  6. Love the Thomas Edison quote. I'm putting it on my fridge!

  7. Inspiring quotes. Hello! I saw you at the hop social and I am your newest follower in GFC from I look forward to seeing you over at my blog next :)

  8. I'm one of the worst workers I know. I'm trying to be better and I hope I raise my kids to be better workers than I am, but we'll see... I agree that it is a great trait to have!

  9. I've been thinking a lot about parenting this week as well, and loved the article on raising resilient children. I am thinking about getting a book on Godly parenting, because I also see parents being so punitive, and want my children to just understand how life is supposed to be lived, rather than revolving everything around a punishment. For example if our kids don't want to sweep the kitchen, we help them understand that cleaning is a part of life, and we have to have a clean house to feel happy and clean as well, instead of threatening with punishments and so many lost privileges

  10. Anyways that's my rant. But I loved this post, and will read the article on hard work. It's hard enough thinking about being a parent, I can't imagine how hard it will be to actually be one!


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