There have been several memorable “thank you” speeches from athletes, actors, and other award-winners. Adrien Brody’s smooch with Halle Berry after winning the Oscar for “Best Actor”; Roberto Beningni’s chair-leaping; Michael Sam’s speech that brought many to tears, and Nelson Mandela’s powerful oration after winning the Nobel Peace Prize. There is one common thread in all these speeches: a sense of heartfelt gratitude to the people who helped these winners accomplish amazing things.
In fact, research we conducted at PsychTests indicates that people who accomplish amazing things rarely travel the road to success alone. Their willingness to accept advice, guidance, and even criticism from others plays a major role in their achievements.
After collecting data from 564 people who took the Coaching & Trainability Attitude Assessment (CTAA), we focused our attention on two groups: Goal-achievers (those who have achieved most of the goals they have set for themselves) and Non goal-achievers (those who have not set or achieved many goals).
Here’s what our statistics show:
- Goal-achievers are more open to coaching (score of 78 vs. 64 for Non goal-achievers, on a scale from 0 to 100).
- Goal-achievers are more willing to accept criticism (score of 76 vs. 63 for Non goal-achievers).
- Goal-achievers are more open to learning and self-improvement (score of 88 vs. 71 for Non goal-achievers).
- Goal-achievers are more willing to ask others for help (score of 73 vs. 61 for Non goal-achievers).
- Goal-achievers are more comfortable admitting to their mistakes, failures, or weaknesses (score of 73 vs. 58 for Non goal-achievers).
- Goal-achievers are more driven and perseverant (score of 91 vs. 57 for Non goal-achievers).
Our research also indicates that among the goal-achievers:
- 89% actively seek out opportunities to learn new things (compared to 31% of non goal-achievers).
- 73% will ask others for help when they need it (compared to 37% of non goal-achievers).
- 96% continuously look for ways to improve themselves and become a better person (compared to 50% of non goal-achievers).
- When they fail, 90% of goal-achievers will simply keep trying until they do succeed (compared to 25% of non goal-achievers).
- 28% find it hard to admit to others when they can’t do something on their own (compared to 50% of non goal-achievers).
- When given advice by teachers, coaches, or managers for improvement, 82% will put the guidance they receive to good use. Only 44% of non goal-achievers will listen to the advice.
Whether you’re an athlete or a high-powered executive, there’s a good chance that along your path to greatness, you received help or guidance from someone.
Non goal-achievers, on the other hand, generally run into two issues: They either don’t believe they have what it takes to achieve the goals they aspire to, or they insist on doing everything on their own, as though asking for help will diminish the value of their achievements. As a result, their battle for success becomes far more difficult.
In order to benefit from coaching (whether you’re an athlete or a CEO), you need to be willing to put your ego aside and accept guidance and criticism – there is no way around it. And if you want to achieve your goals, you need to be able to admit when you can’t do something on your own and need help.
That’s what humility is: having the strength and courage to admit to your faults and shortcomings.
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