High achievers are simply different! Does that sound familiar?
But what is the difference between high achievers and ordinary mortals? Is it their mindset? Is it their behaviour patterns? Or the personality traits they hold?
Browse the video lesson below to find out. And remember to take the quiz at the end of the lesson.
This lesson is in a video format
We recognise that some participants prefer reading to listening. If you are one of them, then you can access a transcript of the lesson by clicking on the View Transcript button below the video.
A Visitor from the East: Key Lessons on Achievement
Dhruv’s story illustrates key lessons on managing self and how that is so critical for high *achievement*.
In this lesson, we explore these lessons through the question we left you with at the end of the last lesson, i.e. ‘what were the practices that had led King Yashodharman to choose Dhruv over Narayan for the position of Chief of the Royal Kitchen?’
We’ll answer that question, and derive the lessons the story teaches us, in sequence.
Dhruv did six things particularly well – with regards to managing self – that eventually earned him King Yashodharman’s good favour.
These six behaviours, as we will see, are key to high levels of achievement
The first thing we notice is Dhruv’s drive for excellence: Dhruv demonstrated focus on getting the job done. He didn’t just want to *get by* the task of preparing Lin Tsao’s dinner; he wanted to excel at it.
The second aspect about Dhruv that stands out is his desire to prioritise learning amid a gruelling schedule: He prioritised learning about eastern cooking at the end of each tiring day of the great yearly feast. He skipped the day’s festivities to do so. Also, in the morning, he’d rise early and spend time in the Royal Library learning the ways of the Easterners.
The third thing we observe is Dhruv’s discipline to stay the course. Dhruv was able to sacrifice attending festivities with his team and set off to meet chef Ghosha after the day’s chores were completed.
The fourth behaviour we observe is Dhruv’s openness to implement feedback. He imbibed the advice given by chef Ghosha.
The fifth aspect about Dhruv that we notice is his ability to think and reflect on his course of action. The inclusion of chopsticks and wearing a traditional Mandarin server attire, by cross-referencing whatever he learned at the Royal Library, being cases in point.
The sixth and final behaviour that is observed is Dhruv avoiding self-sabotaging habits like letting success go to his head and being conceited. King Yashodharman learns that Dhruv does not indulge in petty retaliation, and generously offers to share his newly gained knowledge, as well as his reward with his team.
These six behaviours – related to managing self – are a crucial aspect of high achievement. Many people never get to the platform of high achievement because they just get in their own way.
But don’t take our word for it.
Research shows that the traits demonstrated by Dhruv and his ultimate success weren’t a coincidence.
Being a high achiever starts with knowing what researchers call the ‘Big Five Personality Traits’, for these are closely linked to high achievement.
Today, many researchers believe that there are five core personality traits, which can be condensed into the acronym OCEAN, which stands for Openness, Conscientiousness, Extraversion, Agreeableness, and Neuroticism.
When it comes to managing self for high achievement, Openness and Conscientiousness come =into play.
Let’s take a quick look at how Openness and Conscientiousness are defined.
Openness includes imagination and insight, and those high in this trait also tend to have a broad range of interests. They also tend to be more open to trying new things and focused on tackling new challenges.
Conscientiousness refers to high levels of thoughtfulness and preparation, with good impulse control and goal-directed behaviours. The highly conscientious tend to be organized and mindful of details. People who score low on this trait tend to dislike structure and schedules and do not manage deadlines very well.
If you look closely, Dhruv’s behavioural traits tie in very neatly with Openness and Conscientiousness.
For instance, Dhruv was able to open himself up to new experiences and learning. He was focused on excellence and pursued it diligently. Dhruv took the time to think and to reflect on his actions. He actively sought knowledge and advice relating to his goal and implemented whatever he learned. He was also open to sharing knowledge and resources with his team. All these relates to Openness.
On the other hand, Dhruv demonstrated great proficiency in managing his schedules and prioritizing learning. He was able to maintain a disciplined regimen to stay his course and steer clear of self-sabotaging habits. And he also demonstrated a high capacity for planning. All these traits relate to conscientiousness.
In the next lesson, we’ll look at the other behavioural dimensions of the ‘Big Five’ model that are critical to high achievement.
For now, please take the quiz at the bottom of the page to proceed.