Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance, Angela Duckworth, 2016
Grit, for this author, is the ability to remain passionate about, and persevere, working towards long-term goals. Gritty people maintain “effort and interest over years despite failure, adversity, and plateaus in progress.” Those of us who are less gritty, give up. A key idea is that you can grow Grit. This book is a best seller. The author has degrees from Harvard, Oxford and Pennsylvania.
“Greatness is many, many individual feats each of them doable.”
Ultimately this is a self-help book. That’s why it’s so popular. That and the fact the authors TED talk has hit 14 million viewers. Follow up research has been contradictory, some suggesting that the books claims are over-hyped. This problem may have arisen because of the focus on Grit as perseverance with passion, the other component in the definition, being overlooked or underplayed.
A large part of the book concerns a simple profiling tool called the Grit Scale. The author used it to predict the success of West Point Cadets in getting through initial training. It proved the best tool so far at predicting who’d fail to get through the tough physical and emotional ‘beasting’ to complete the year. It seems very simple – with 10 personal descriptors, such as, “I am a hard worker” or “I am diligent. I never give up.” – and it actually is simple. Part of its success may be in drawing attention to the behaviour.
“Every human trait is influenced by genes and experience.”
Find your passion. Being gritty is a whole lot easier in the pursuit of something which matters to you. These practical strategies are worth pursuing.
- Grit equals passion and perseverance. If you care deeply about what you do, you’re more likely to keep at it.
- Go for consistency and a ‘steady intensity’ over time
- Try doing a ‘hard thing’ with others around you – you can give up but only after its come to a natural close
- Pursue deliberate practice – in other words, aspirant goal, serious focus on aspects of performance, feedback, response, adjust and repetition
Once you’ve finished this book and for a really great insight into mindset there’s the ThreeWhats High Performers and ThreeWhats Mindset Playbooks.