Dull and Determined Effort

In my Touchstone article ‘The Cross of Least Resistance,’ I surveyed some scholarship by cultural anthropologists who have compared the different mindsets between Westerners and East Asians when it comes to success. From the article:

Most East Asians believe that these qualities [the qualities that make up success) result from what one researcher called “dull and determined effort” over long periods of time. But a majority of Westerners (particularly in the English-speaking nations) tend to view character, intelligence, and skill as resulting from innate ability or sudden flashes of insight. Accordingly, Americans are prone to take the lack of prompt success in some endeavor as a sign that the person just doesn’t have what it takes, instead of as a reason to engage in further struggle.


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