TED & Talks

“Fame” is an illusion we’ve made together. Here’s how to undo it. | Todd Rose for Big Think

No two people define success the same way, according to this test.

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We each hold onto false beliefs about how society operates. These “collective illusions” stifle innovation and erode our ability to make progress together. Todd Rose discovered that one of the most important collective illusions has to do with the way we define a successful life.

“We looked at the private opinions of the American public across 76 different attributes that could go into a successful life. Out of those 76, the vast majority of the American public believes that most people would rank ‘fame’ as number one. There’s just one problem: in private, it’s actually dead last.”

When the same group was asked ‘What does a fulfilling life mean to you?,’ the results were even more mystifying. “Out of those 76 trade-off priorities in the thousands and thousands of people that we have studied, no two people were identical. Nobody can tell you what a successful life is; you have to discover that for yourself.”

In the end, what Rose discovered was that if you want to help someone become successful, you must work to understand how they define success first.

Read the video transcript: https://bigthink.com/series/collective-illusions/success/

Collective Illusions is brought to you by Stand Together: a community of changemakers tackling our biggest challenges. Learn more here: https://standtogether.org/

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About Todd Rose:
Todd Rose is the co-founder and president of Populace, a think tank committed to ensuring that all people have the opportunity to pursue fulfilling lives in a thriving society. Prior to Populace, he was a faculty member at Harvard University where he founded the Laboratory for the Science of Individuality and directed the Mind, Brain, and Education program. Todd is the best selling author of Collective Illusions, Dark Horse, and The End of Average. He lives in Burlington, Massachusetts.

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Read more of our stories on success:
The surest path to success is not aiming for success
►► https://bigthink.com/high-culture/merce-cunningham/
Study: These personality traits predict early career success
►► https://bigthink.com/neuropsych/traits-of-a-successful-person/
Why lifelong learning is the international passport to success
►► https://bigthink.com/smart-skills/lifelong-learning/

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