Wouldn't it be great if there was a simple test you could take (or give to your kids) to determine your chances of success? Well, there is. The only problem is it's really, really, really boring. It's called the Coding Speed Test, and it has absolutely nothing to do with your ability to code. The U.S. government gives it as part of the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery, or ASVAB, test.

What is it? Well, here's a sample question, from 4Tests.com.

Don't look for a pattern. It's not a logic puzzle. It simply tests your ability to look at the grid and find the word music and then select the correct number. Crazy easy, right? Yes. And the first few are a breeze, and then your brain goes numb. Lots of people give up and get sloppy with the answers, even though the answers are all, technically, easy.

Economist David Wiczer found that, on average, a 10 percent higher score on the Coding Speed Test resulted in a 1 percent increase in earnings. So, being dedicated at coding speed doesn't guarantee you a place on the billionaires list, but it does increase your chance at being successful.

Malcolm Gladwell, in his book Outliers, discovered the same concept in terms of math tests. There was a perfect correlation between how students filled out the tedious long form and their math scores. Success with math doesn't necessarily depend on innate brilliance but on the ability to persevere.

It seems that a lot of success comes from stick-to-itiveness. It's how long we're willing to stay with something, even when it's boring. Some people are naturally good at persevering, others not so much. But, fortunately, the behavior can be learned.

Psychology Today gives a seven-step guide to increasing your perseverance and, in turn, your chances of success. For instance, you need to reward yourself, change your mindset so that sweat equals bliss, and play puzzle games. All of these things can help you build your ability to keep at a task.

Anyone who has ever run a business knows that it's critical to stay with it. You can't give up when the going gets tedious. So reward yourself with a piece of chocolate for doing a good job, do a puzzle when you need a boost, and keep at it.

 

Published on: Mar 31, 2015
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