“Grit is that ‘extra something’ that separates the most successful people from the rest. It’s the passion, perseverance, and stamina that we must channel to stick with our dreams until they become a reality.” Travis Bradberry
In this book Grit, the author, Angela Duckworth, argues that the key to success is not an innate talent or genius but rather a matter of grit. Duckworth describes that growing up her father would label her as having a lack of ‘genius.’ He often indicated that she might never amount to anything significant. In her lifetime she has proved him wrong.
In her experience, she discovered that you could achieve what you desire. Anyone can create their success, but they must embark on whatever they choose to do with a good dose of grit.
Duckworth defines grit as the passion and perseverance in achieving long-term goals. The dictionary I refer to defines grit as courage and resolve. In this motivational book, she takes the reader on a journey to not only highlight why she thinks ‘Grit’ is the key to success but also how anyone can develop it.
I found it to be an enjoyable and easy read. Nothing too hi-tech or scientific. As a pioneering psychologist, there must always be a risk of getting to bogged down by theories and research that can hinder the value the reader receives, however, Duckworth dodged it well.
She does include some eye-opening stories from her personal life and that of others, and she has referred to many studies from various experts but nothing that will get you lost. In my opinion, most of what she writes wasn’t anything new or groundbreaking, and for that reason, it doesn’t make the top 10 list of a book I’ve read this year.
However, I believe the book does contain a value. A suitable read for those who are looking to enhance their life and success and even get over the self-induced limiting mindsets that hold many people back. Entrepreneurs, business folk and anyone (parents, teachers, professionals, students, athletes and musicians) that is in search of raising the quality of their life via the channels of significant achievement and legacy can benefit by approaching life with ‘Grit.’
Following are a few key lessons that I gained from reading this book.
Firstly, if you want to know the secret to living a successful life, it’s to do what brings you passion and joy. I don’t believe this means that passion is required before you begin. Actually, I am not sure if that’s even possible. Passion is developed in the process of pursuit, it grows. I’d suggest if it doesn’t form than one should change the paths to their desires. Life is short if we do not do what we love.
It is also a fact that only in experience do we have any chance to discover what we are genuinely passionate about. One might have interests or curiosity, but it is in action that we can decide if it’s worthy of our life’s pursuit. If you a thinking to yourself, “but I have no idea what my passions are,” and waiting for them to appear magically, you may just find yourself waiting a freaking long time. Passions come from experience – go out there and do stuff.
There are several reasons why following our passions is beneficial to life. When you do what you are passionate about you are likely going to enjoy life more. More happiness. Also, doing what we love allows us to produces a higher quality of work that leads to more rapid improvement and progress, resulting in faster success.
Passion powers motivation that is essential in getting started and in sustaining movement and progress. It gives rise to persistence and perseverance. Motivation strengthens in the tangible and intangible rewards of doing what we love.
Just because you are passionate about something, this does not guarantee success. I can sit in and tell you about how excited about the stars I am but until I put in some effort to do some reading to learn a bit more and then find ways to experience and express what I know – this passion for astrology will go nowhere. Words that remain as desires in my imagination, and if they set there for too long without action, it could find us living with regret.
Success takes energy, effort and the right type of mindset. Two points of discussion that Duckworth explains.
Passion propels action but there are two kinds of action. One is mindless, and other is deliberate. Duckworth refers to the work of Anders Ericsson and his research on that of deliberate practice. I have read and reviewed his book, Peak. Listen here. To progress towards achieving the success that one desires, purposeful action is required and beneficial. Doing practice without attention or measurability is pointless, but it may not lead to any noticeable gains.
The deliberate practice itself requires grit. The reason being is that in purposeful action we have to challenge ourselves which often means pushing ourselves outside our comfort zone. It can be challenging and uncomfortable. Erricson can help you overcome this hurdle but may I suggest if you love what you do that will help and if you see the reward in your progress which in turn will have you coming back for more.
Grit also requires a positive mindset. Duckworth refers to Carol Dweck’s work on the growth and fixed mindset to highlight this aspect. It’s clear in my experience that our mentality is a big player in both our perseverance and resilience. No matter what our pursuit of life we will be questioned by others and perhaps more detrimental, we will examine ourselves. Self-doubt is a bitch. There are haters and those that will try to hold you back. And there is courage and effort to push forward when results are barely noticeable, or when things get tough. Having a healthy mindset will help.
In summary, I believe that no matter what lifestyle you desire to live and create for yourself “grit,” as Duckworth defines is something we can all use. Comfort is the enemy. Falling victim to the status quo might sound inviting, but you may find it just doesn’t lead anywhere. When you get a copy of this book, the author includes a grit assessment so you can determine how gritty you are – and from there do the work to improve.
If this book sounds of interest you can purchase Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance here.
Please leave your thoughts, comments & questions below.
Peace, passion and purpose…
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Further Reading and Resources