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15 Reasons The Eldest Child Is A High Achiever

15 Reasons The Eldest Child Is A High Achiever

Did you know that the majority of Ivy League students in Harvard and other prestigious schools are firstborns or only children? How about the fact that all 12 men to have walked on the moon were either eldest or only children?

Angela Merkel, Hillary Clinton, Oprah Winfrey, Sheryl Sandberg, JK Rowling, and Beyoncé are also all firstborn children in their families. If you are betting on which child will be a high achiever and most successful at school, you should probably place your bets on the eldest.

According to a recent study carried out at The University of Essex, eldest children are high achievers and more likely to outdo their younger siblings. While it’s dangerous to make generalizations and there are always exceptions, older siblings generally have more intelligence and success.

Here are 15 reasons why the eldest children are such high achievers.

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1. They are down-to-earth and honest.

There is not much room to cut corners for firstborns. That’s because they are expected to be role models and pacesetters for their younger brothers and sisters. The eldest child finds that they have to be more truthful, caring, and honest to prove a point to their parents (even in adulthood).

2. They are ambitious and self-driven.

As pacesetters and role models, the eldest children are programmed for excellence and achievement from a young age. They are ambitious because they have to “lead the way.” This is a powerful variable that plays an important role in a person’s drive for success, and it shows in the eldest child throughout their life.

3. They are hardy and better able to handle stress.

That’s because they’ve had to learn how to adapt and handle pressure in the family from the time they were young. The eldest child is a mini-parent in most families, especially in large ones. They are exposed to many of the challenges their parents have in raising the kids. As the younger siblings grow up, the firstborn doesn’t always get their way, equating to greater stress and a greater need to adapt even more. This process is tough, but it also helps firstborns develop thick skin — a necessary ingredient for success.

4. They are dependable and take the lead.

As mini-parents, the eldest child feels the pressure to take the lead and care for the family, especially their younger siblings. Richard Branson (founder of Virgin Group), who has two younger sisters, thinks this responsibility placed on the eldest child is significant. “Firstborns are usually given the responsibility of looking after younger siblings,” he told the Financial Times, “and this can help ingrain leadership skills at a young age.

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5. They are resourceful and work harder.

That’s because they are expected to take on leadership and caregiving roles in the family. As a result, the eldest child finds that he has to work harder, be more hands-on, and be more resourceful. This resourcefulness gives firstborn children a marked edge for success throughout their life.

6. They are disciplined and consistent in manners.

Parents discipline the eldest child more strictly and often become more lenient as they have more kids, in what has been referred to as the “lazy-parent theory.” No wonder the first child always feels that younger siblings have it easier. A parent’s reputation for maintaining strict discipline with the eldest child makes the child maintain more consistent standards of discipline throughout their life.

7. They are always figuring things out on their own.

Who would blame them, really? Unlike later siblings, who have someone to pioneer and instruct them on which path to take, the eldest children have no one to teach them. They have to explore, risk, and learn most of what they know on their own. That’s not easy; however, it instills them with valuable life skills.

8. They always share the knowledge they acquire.

Firstborns feel it is their duty to diligently teach and instruct their younger siblings. In teaching the younger ones, the eldest child grows smarter in the process. This tendency to search for knowledge and teach others continues into adulthood and gives firstborns an edge. After all, knowledge is power.

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9. They are intelligent and scholarly.

Albert Einstein was also a firstborn child. It looks like his intelligence wasn’t a coincidence. Numerous studies have found that firstborns are generally more intelligent and score higher on IQ tests. History even shows that firstborns are more likely to become president. Harry Truman, Lyndon Johnson, Jimmy Carter, George W. Bush and Bill Clinton were all firstborns. Some people have suggested that it’s genetic, in the sense that later kids receive diminished “genetic endowment.” Whatever the reason, the eldest child tends to have a healthier brain and exhibits higher cognitive abilities.

10. They stay in education longer and are better qualified.

Feifei Bu, the PhD candidate (at the time) who led the University of Essex study, analyzed data from more than 3,500 brothers and sisters. She concludes: “My research revealed firstborn children have higher educational aspirations and this translates into higher educational attainment.” What surprised Bu the most is that the birth order effect was much stronger than the impact of gender, in terms of attainment. Even taking into account the education and professional status of their parents, the study found firstborns were 7% more likely to aspire to stay in the educational system longer than their younger siblings.

11. They get a greater share of their parents’ money to pursue their interests.

Families initially spend more money on the first child, especially when considering multiple kids. That’s because firstborns hit an early start in costly private schools, extracurricular activities, tutoring, and all the other things that increase the chances of success. This happens with no competition appearing until later when siblings emerge. When siblings are born, the eldest child may lose their privileged run. Of course, the number of years between children is an important variable in this situation.

12. They are less likely to do drugs.

Studies have found that firstborns are less likely to do drugs and get pregnant at a young age. Although these two realities are not always impediments to success, they account for something.

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13. They are less likely to have their formative years disrupted by divorce.

Divorce is common in today’s society, but it is more likely to happen after the first child is past their formative years. The first child arrives into a stable family where the parents are still blossoming in love. Later children may not be so lucky. They are more likely to be disrupted by a family crisis.

14. They enjoy their parents’ first and purest love.

Parents tend to love and devote more time and care to their eldest child because it’s their first child. The eldest children are the delicate babies carried around and breastfed most of the time. Not to mention they are the ones who are constantly watched over to make sure they are breathing in their crib. The first child is the only one that ever truly has their parents completely to themselves, while all other children have to share. This has a positive impact on the firstborn’s self-worth and self esteem throughout their life.

15. They get the most mature treatment.

Parents pay a different kind of attention to the eldest child, giving them the most mature treatment. The theory is that if you treat a child like an adult, they will respond the same way. That explains why, even in adulthood, firstborns come across as more mature and accomplished. V. Joseph Hotz, a research associate of the Duke Population Research Institute observes that, “Reputations matter for politicians, teachers, and even used car salesmen.” Being perceived as mature, responsible, and reputable is a critical factor for high achievement and success in life.

More by this author

David K. William

David is a publisher and entrepreneur who tries to help professionals grow their business and careers, and gives advice for entrepreneurs.

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Last Updated on July 10, 2020

The Power of Ritual: Conquer Procrastination, Time Wasters and Laziness

The Power of Ritual: Conquer Procrastination, Time Wasters and Laziness

Life is wasted in the in-between times. The time between when your alarm first rings and when you finally decide to get out of bed. The time between when you sit at your desk and when productive work begins. The time between making a decision and doing something about it.

Slowly, your day is whittled away from all the unused in-between moments. Eventually, time wasters, laziness, and procrastination get the better of you.

The solution to reclaim these lost middle moments is by creating rituals. Every culture on earth uses rituals to transfer information and encode behaviors that are deemed important. Personal rituals can help you build a better pattern for handling everything from how you wake up to how you work.

Unfortunately, when most people see rituals, they see pointless superstitions. Indeed, many rituals are based on a primitive understanding of the world. But by building personal rituals, you get to encode the behaviors you feel are important and cut out the wasted middle moments.

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Program Your Own Algorithms

Another way of viewing rituals is by seeing them as computer algorithms. An algorithm is a set of instructions that is repeated to get a result.

Some algorithms are highly efficient, sorting or searching millions of pieces of data in a few seconds. Other algorithms are bulky and awkward, taking hours to do the same task.

By forming rituals, you are building algorithms for your behavior. Take the delayed and painful pattern of waking up, debating whether to sleep in for another two minutes, hitting the snooze button, repeat until almost late for work. This could be reprogrammed to get out of bed immediately, without debating your decision.

How to Form a Ritual

I’ve set up personal rituals for myself for handling e-mail, waking up each morning, writing articles, and reading books. Far from making me inflexible, these rituals give me a useful default pattern that works best 99% of the time. Whenever my current ritual won’t work, I’m always free to stop using it.

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Forming a ritual isn’t too difficult, and the same principles for changing habits apply:

  1. Write out your sequence of behavior. I suggest starting with a simple ritual of only 3-4 steps maximum. Wait until you’ve established a ritual before you try to add new steps.
  2. Commit to following your ritual for thirty days. This step will take the idea and condition it into your nervous system as a habit.
  3. Define a clear trigger. When does your ritual start? A ritual to wake up is easy—the sound of your alarm clock will work. As for what triggers you to go to the gym, read a book or answer e-mail—you’ll have to decide.
  4. Tweak the Pattern. Your algorithm probably won’t be perfectly efficient the first time. Making a few tweaks after the first 30-day trial can make your ritual more useful.

Ways to Use a Ritual

Based on the above ideas, here are some ways you could implement your own rituals:

1. Waking Up

Set up a morning ritual for when you wake up and the next few things you do immediately afterward. To combat the grogginess after immediately waking up, my solution is to do a few pushups right after getting out of bed. After that, I sneak in ninety minutes of reading before getting ready for morning classes.

2. Web Usage

How often do you answer e-mail, look at Google Reader, or check Facebook each day? I found by taking all my daily internet needs and compressing them into one, highly-efficient ritual, I was able to cut off 75% of my web time without losing any communication.

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3. Reading

How much time do you get to read books? If your library isn’t as large as you’d like, you might want to consider the rituals you use for reading. Programming a few steps to trigger yourself to read instead of watching television or during a break in your day can chew through dozens of books each year.

4. Friendliness

Rituals can also help with communication. Set up a ritual of starting a conversation when you have opportunities to meet people.

5. Working

One of the hardest barriers when overcoming procrastination is building up a concentrated flow. Building those steps into a ritual can allow you to quickly start working or continue working after an interruption.

6. Going to the gym

If exercising is a struggle, encoding a ritual can remove a lot of the difficulty. Set up a quick ritual for going to exercise right after work or when you wake up.

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7. Exercise

Even within your workouts, you can have rituals. Spacing the time between runs or reps with a certain number of breaths can remove the guesswork. Forming a ritual of doing certain exercises in a particular order can save time.

8. Sleeping

Form a calming ritual in the last 30-60 minutes of your day before you go to bed. This will help slow yourself down and make falling asleep much easier. Especially if you plan to get up full of energy in the morning, it will help if you remove insomnia.

8. Weekly Reviews

The weekly review is a big part of the GTD system. By making a simple ritual checklist for my weekly review, I can get the most out of this exercise in less time. Originally, I did holistic reviews where I wrote my thoughts on the week and progress as a whole. Now, I narrow my focus toward specific plans, ideas, and measurements.

Final Thoughts

We all want to be productive. But time wasters, procrastination, and laziness sometimes get the better of us. If you’re facing such difficulties, don’t be afraid to make use of these rituals to help you conquer them.

More Tips to Conquer Time Wasters and Procrastination

 

Featured photo credit: RODOLFO BARRETO via unsplash.com

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