National Siblings Day: What your birth order means for your career

On this National Siblings Day, let us examine the bizarre thought that our sibling relationships are at the centre of who we are and what we become. We tend to think that factors such as our personalities, background, relationships with parents, education and intelligence determine our success. But truly, siblings are the most influential for one’s growth.

How are we sure?

1.Science shows that environment, competition and sibling closeness truly affect one’s success.

Contrarily to what we think, genetics doesn’t mean that much. Evidently, genes can explain one brother and sister’s common personality traits, mimics, etc. But just take the simple example of Michael Jordan – none of his siblings has the athlete body that he has. If genetics really were a factor for success, imagine how all families would look different… Nature does things well, but not always 😉

Research shows that “Siblings, who are 50% similar genetically and grow up within the same family, nevertheless differ markedly in personality and psychopathology, and most of these sibling differences cannot be explained by genetic factors.”

The environment is definitely an important factor. The simple fact of growing up with each other, in the same home, actually produces a difference. You are different from your sibling, thanks to your distinctive interests and skillset. Each sibling is successful in his/her uniqueness.

In fact, the closer you are to your sibling in terms of age, the more different you want to be one another.

Now, let’s talk about parents. Parents have a different relationship with each one of their children – even if they always assume the contrary! The different temperament and personality of each child pushes parents to have a different “treatment” to each one of them. Undoubtedly, this affects each child, positively or negatively.

The great and sometimes not-so-great aspects of having siblings are competition and comparison. It can be beneficial – but if used the wrong way, it can be very damaging. When you grow up side by side with siblings, you most definitely always compare yourself to your eldest – which can be very healthy for your success, as you look up to his/her path as a continuous motivation and a source of inspiration.  But some comparisons can become true “competition” and that can be very unhealthy for one’s self-confidence.

2. Birth Order

Now, putting scientific proofs aside, birth order has a lot to do with your career path.

According to Emma Kenny, psychologist researcher, middle children are 30% more likely to become company CEOs than their siblings. It’s a surprising statistic when considering the stigma middle children receive. Research shows that in all the U.S. Presidents since 1787,  52 percent were middle children.

Thanks to Middle children’s independence?

Being a first-born child has a lot of benefits. A study shows that eldest kids are likely to be more intelligent as their siblings, as they had to cope with more since a younger age.

“A first-born can ‘tutor’ their younger siblings, explaining how the world works and so on. Teaching other people has high cognitive demands – the children need to recall their own knowledge, structure it and think of a good way to explain it – which could be a boost to intelligence for some firstborns,” says Julia Rorher, on Health Day.

It is also known that elder siblings tend to become scientists or engineers.

Stephen Hawking was an Eldest child

Youngest siblings, on their side, tend to be known as the “explorers”. They are more risk-taking than their elders and are generally more creative. Apparently, younger siblings try to find different ways to compete. As they benefit from receiving maturity from their parents and their eldest siblings, they are more at ease to push their boundaries. It is also known that youngest siblings tend to have good acting and music skills.

Studies found that only children are more goal-oriented.

“Growing up as an ‘only’ can be very empowering, creating very self-dedicated, strong-willed individuals who push themselves hard to achieve what they want,” says Carl E. Pickhardt, author of The Future Of Your Only Child.

To wrap it up, as you can see, there is so much research out there that backs up the idea that siblings affect your success – be it on a scientific or a biological point of view. No matter if you are the eldest, youngest, or in the middle – you have assets that your sister or brother definitely envy you for (and vice versa). But ultimately, if you are lucky enough to have one or more siblings, be grateful – as they are crucial to your success and especially, to your happiness. ❤️


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