Skip to main content

Affirm Your Past Success; Your IQ Goes Up


Credit: Cristina Gabaldon, US Navy

For people in poverty, remembering better times and past success improves their brain functioning by ten IQ points and increases their willingness to seek help from crucial aid services, a new study finds.  In other words, focusing on your past successes not only makes you feel better about yourself, it helps open you up to possible paths to a different, if not better life, and, not so amazingly, increases your IQ. 

The findings suggest that reconnecting with your feelings of self-worth reduces the powerful stigma and psychological barriers that make it harder for low-income individuals to make good decisions or access the very assistance services that can help them get back on their feet.

"This study shows that surprisingly simple acts of self-affirmation can improve the cognitive function and behavioral outcomes of people in poverty," says University of British Columbia Professor Jiaying Zhao and study co-author.

Now, stop and think about this.

All humans run internal scripts in our heads that repeat over and over like a feedback loop.  For most people these internal dialogues focus not on past successes, but past failures, While research shows that failure can teach us more than success, dwelling on failures becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Additionally, research into the effects of stress on the mind and body show that dwelling on past failures and shortcomings is stressful in itself, and unremitting unrelieved stress leads to a wide variety of illnesses from Alzheimer's to arthritis.

The main experiments in this study took place in a New Jersey soup kitchen over two years. Nearly 150 study participants were asked to privately record a personal story with a tape recorder before doing a variety of problem-solving tests.

Participants  who self-affirmed past success show a 10-point increase in IQ
Compared to a control group, participants randomly assigned to "self-affirm" -- to recount a proud moment or past achievement -- performed dramatically better on the tests, equivalent to a ten-point increase in IQ. They were also more likely to seek out information on aid services from the local government.
*  *  *  *  *

On the practical side, this study clearly shows the power of the mind to help anyone overcome self-doubt and past failure.  In this experiment, participants used affirmations based on their own positive past experiences, things that they had achieved. 


Suggested Reading
Click on image
This is critical to anyone's success in life.  When you find yourself dwelling on flaws and past failures, change your internal dialogue by deliberating reliving your past successes - and we all have them to with.  An additional technique to use is mindful awareness which helps people live in the moment while controlling their though processes. 

So here's an assignment:  Make a list of your past successes, then turn each into a one-sentence affirmation.  The next time you're taking a test or faced with the big interview or have to deal with any difficult situation, pull one of your past successes out of your pocket and relive it.  You'll be smarter for this simple act - and will have set yourself up for a new success to add to your list.

Story Source: Materials provided by University of British Columbia, (2013, December 17). Self-worth boosts ability to overcome poverty. ScienceDaily.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

The Facts of the Small Business Survival Rate

Back thirty years ago when I first wrote about small business, a hoary and horrible statistic was bandied about, even by some of the most experienced entrepreneurial pros: "80% of new businesses fail in their first five years." 

This "statistic" has appeared in more places than you can imagine, from the leading small business magazines, books, presentations by employees of SBDCs, the SBA, SCORE, Chambers of Commerce, even professors on the college level - who should know better than to quote un-sourced numbers.  It still shows up in small-business blogs today.

For some years, I searched for a source of that statisitic.  Never found where that number came from, leading me to believe that some self-appointed expert made it up.  To quote a character from the popular television show, M*A*S*H, "Horsepucky." 

Here is the truth about the survival rate of new start up businesses in the U.S. economy from two unimpeachable sources, The Marion Ewing Kauffman Foundati…

Earn a Living Shining Shoes. . . Really

Earning a Living as a Bootblack
Can someone make a living shining shoes in today's economy?  At on time there shoe shine boys as they were called were found on street corners across the country, thousands of them.  Many were from poor families and worked to help support themselves and their families.  Today, I found three established shoe shine stands in downtown Seattle, plus two bootblacks, the traditional name of those who shine shoes, working on the streets of Seattle.

Meet George Johnson, age 74 on October 20th, a self-employed operator of a shoe shine stand in downtown Seattle's Rainier Place.  George has been shining shoes for the last sixty years, starting in Arkansas and ending up some thirty years ago at the Washington Athletic club a few blocks from his current location.
"Sixty years," I asked him the day we met.  "You ever think of retiring?"

"Gonna work until I can't do it no more," he replied.  "I don't even think about i…

Illegal Immigrants Start Legal L.L.C.'s, Create Jobs While Awaiting Deportation

The situation is a little like a story from the Twilight Zone.

Illegal immigrants can't get driving licenses, vote, or get benefits, but they are legally able to start Limited Liability Companies often creating jobs for legal U.S. Citizens.  All the while waiting to find out if they are going to be deported because they are, admittedly in most cases, in this country illegally.

It's long established that new immigrants to the U.S. are far more likely to start a business, and in so doing, create jobs often filled by U.S. citizens.  I mean, the sun rises in the East, the sky is blue, and immigrants create jobs - it's that level of certainty.

So why do certain elements in Congress,  allegedly pro-business, pro-growth, and pro-job, scream and yell about immigration as though it's a total drain on the economy?  If anything, immigration has been and will continue to be a boon to our economy, creating both wealth, new jobs and even new industries.

Here's an article from the L…