Embracing your inner dickhead is the key to being successful

Major key – have a tendency to break rules

Were you a stubborn kid? Reluctant to finish your homework, telling your parents to “fuck off” when they asked you to do your own ironing and never, ever putting your phone down? Did you ever worry that being a complete dickhead might hamper you in later life, might prevent you from ever being successful because you’re just too unlikable?

Don’t worry. It’s going to be OK. In fact it’s going to be better than OK, as long as you embrace your inner dickhead. New research has found that stubborn, irritating children frequently grow into wildly successful adults.

The findings, published in the journal Developmental Psychology, follow over 700 people from around age 9 all the way to 40, noting their sense of entitlement, studiousness according to teachers, defiance against their parents, and tendency to break the rules. Guess who earned the highest salaries in the end? The people who ignored their parents and the rules.

According to the study:

Rule breaking and defiance of parental authority was the best non-cognitive predictor of higher income after accounting for IQ, parental socio-economic status, and educational attainment.

Researchers floated some theories on why this might be the case: Defy-authority types might be more aggressive when negotiating salary or raises, and they might thrive on competition more than their peers. Also: They might be more willing to break the law or at least engage in iffy behavior to boost their income.

The study is far from definitive: it doesn’t account for career paths or other choices they made that may have affected their earnings—they could have been corporate lawyers or corporate criminals. Still, personality traits are known to be better predictors of success than more traditional metrics like IQ, so, if you’ve always been a bit of a dick it might be time to embrace it.

 

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