When I was a high school teacher, I noticed that many of my most successful students weren’t just those who studied for tests and memorized facts.
In many cases, the best all around students (those who were academically successful, excellent athletically, involved in clubs, etc.) also had another factor that was responsible for their success: they had outstanding social skills. They related to others, communicated well, and were good at reading others’ emotions.
When the ideas behind The Popular Teen were swirling in my head, I started to research the science of popularity. I found many studies and articles confirming what I observed. Science agrees that emotional, mental, and social factors not only play a very important role in career and financial success, but actually are more important than raw intelligence and technical knowledge (knowing how to do your job) to financial and career success.
Let me repeat that: Your personality and social skills are more important than technical knowledge in career success.
So, you may have the best math skills of any accountant at work, or the teacher with the best lesson plans, or even the most academically gifted student in your class, but that doesn’t mean you will be successful accountant, teacher, or student.
In fact, the guy or gal that is good at his or her job, but who comes across as likable, outgoing, and cool is probably going to get the promotion first and advance in the organization. His or her charisma and likability will create far more opportunities for advancement than any knowledge.
This might fit with what you’ve noticed in your life. Many times the people at the top of companies (and other organizations, even countries) aren’t those who mastered every fine detail of their craft. Rather, they are “people persons” who are great at networking, persuasion, and building relationships.
In fact, research by the Carnegie Institute of Technology determined that 85 percent of a person’s financial success is due to skills in “human engineering,” meaning personality, communication, and leadership. Put another way, people with great personalities make more money than those who have bad ones.
This information is shocking because social skills are neglected by almost every educational institution. Schools relentlessly emphasize technical knowledge, to make sure a student knows every fine detail of algebra, grammar, and history, which is a good thing. However, it is shameful that students can leave school lacking basic social skills that are pretty easy to learn.
Ultimately what we do here The Popular Teen and our new site Your Successful Kid is teach social skills, either directly to teens or through helping their parents. If you are a teen, not only will learning social skills help you get more dates, make friends, and make more money, it will make you happier since you are in control of your life (read this site regularly for tips).
Parents, don’t neglect this aspect of your child’s life. It leads to greater success both in the present and later in life.