It turns out that for all their diversity, the strikingly successful groups in America today share three traits that, together, propel success. The first is a superiority complex — a deep-seated belief in their exceptionality. The second appears to be the opposite — insecurity, a feeling that you or what you’ve done is not good enough. The third is impulse control.You remember Amy Chua as the original "tiger mom." But here she is just presenting data, not giving advice, and the data is very interesting.
It’s odd to think of people feeling simultaneously superior and insecure. Yet it’s precisely this unstable combination that generates drive: a chip on the shoulder, a goading need to prove oneself. Add impulse control — the ability to resist temptation — and the result is people who systematically sacrifice present gratification in pursuit of future attainment. Ironically, each element of the Triple Package violates a core tenet of contemporary American thinking.Absolutely. We hate the whole idea of ethnic groups feeling inherently superior, yet the data shows that people from such groups are more successful. Our whole paradigm for mental health is built around escaping from feelings of inadequacy, and yet such feelings motivate people to work hard and succeed:
Each of the three traits has its own pathologies. Impulse control can undercut the ability to experience beauty, tranquillity and spontaneous joy. Insecure people feel like they’re never good enough. “I grew up thinking that I would never, ever please my parents,” recalls the novelist Amy Tan. “It’s a horrible feeling.”So there you have it. Raise your children to be happy and confident and they will, on average, earn less money and go less far in their careers than the children of immigrants who instill a deep insecurity and a painful need to be worthy of the family.