Michelangelo (1475 to 1564) was a famous Italian artist.

He was brilliant in several ways. He was an architect. He was knowledgeable about anatomy and engineering, and he was renowned as a poet and sculptor.

He was also well-known for saying “I am still learning.”

Michelangelo’s quote is apropos today for people who want to be successful. A positive attitude about learning in the job-seeking process leads to success. The concept has been confirmed by a University of Missouri study.

Attitude study

“Attitude means a lot,” says Daniel Turban, a professor of management at the University of Missouri Trulaske College of Business.

“In our study, we found that job seekers who have a ‘learning goal orientation’ or a natural disposition to learn from every situation in life, tend to be more successful in achieving their career goals,” he adds.

“We also found that this disposition is not just influenced by genetics; it can be acquired,” he explains.

Dr. Turban and the study’s lead author, Serge da Motta Veiga, queried college seniors who were looking for a job.

Job seekers who had LGO, a strong learning goal orientation, fared better during adversity than those who didn’t. They successful people were able to sustain their intensity.


“It’s not that people with a high LGO have less stress, but they deal with the stress better than others,” says Dr. Turban.

“We always think stress is bad, but that’s not the case,” he adds.” Feeling a moderate amount of stress can be very motivating.”

The authors say genetics aren’t the only attribute of the LGOs. An LGO mentality for tenacity can be learned with the right training.

“Such training could help them realize that the stress and failure they experience while searching for a job is not a bad thing, but instead represents an opportunity to learn from the process and determine how they can be successful at it,” says Dr. da Motta Veiga.


The researchers recommend that job hunters invest in self-reflection. In other words, ask yourself, “What can I learn from this?”

The study was conducted when Professor da Motta Veiga was a doctoral student at the Trulaske College of Business. He’s now now an assistant professor of management in the College of Business and Economics at Lehigh University.

The study, “Are affect and perceived stress detrimental or beneficial to job seekers? The role of learning goal orientation in job search self-regulation,” was published in Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes.

From the Coach’s Corner, here related career tips:

Career Advice — An Alternative to Applying for Jobs Online — As a job-hunter you know that a significant number of companies, nonprofits and public-sector agencies use an online tracking system to accept applications and screen out applicants. It cuts down on their paper work and saves them time. If you must apply for jobs online, you can take steps to stand out from the competing applicants to sail through human-resources filtering systems.

8 Tips to Boost Your Career with Shameless Self-Promotion — Some of the best tips ever given to me – at a pivotal point in my career – were given to me in the 1980s by one of the nation’s pioneers in radio and TV. At the time, he was the president emeritus of a major broadcasting company, Bonneville International.

With a Mentor, You Won’t be Alone in Making Career Decisions — You don’t have to be alone in making career decisions. No matter what you do for a living, there’s one investment on which you can count to improve your career. Plus, it won’t cost you any money. Huh? Yes, you can get a mentor. Despite being a complimentary basis, a strong mentor will pay big dividends.

Dress for Success in Job Interviews – Tips for Women, Men — First impressions are lasting impressions. They really count in your job search. This is especially true if you’re working your way up your career ladder to management or any other important position in a conservative or traditional business environment.

Praying for a Job? Key Questions to Ask Interviewers — Employers prefer inquisitive applicants. It shows their interest in a company and communication abilities. There are two benefits if you ask the right questions in a job interview. Firstly, you shine compared to your competing job seekers. Secondly, you get the right information to make the best decision.

“Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty. Anyone who keeps learning stays young.”

-Henry Ford


Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles, and is also a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry.