“Success is never final; failure is never fatal. It’s courage that counts.”
The concept of GRIT can be explained in terms of perseverance. Only perseverance will lead to high achievement. A high achiever never believes that they will ever reach their goals, they are always striving more, and are the exact opposite of complacent, constantly unsatisfied. But in a weird way, being unsatisfied and constantly chasing more is satisfying to them.
Someone with true grit has enduring passion, they push through pain and frustration, giving up is simply not an option for them.
"A combination of passion and perseverance makes high achievers special. High achievers have grit."
“I won’t just have a job; I’ll have a calling. I’ll challenge myself every day. When I get knocked down, I’ll get back up. I may not be the smartest person in the room, but I’ll strive to be the grittiest.”
Society places a huge amount of emphasis on talent, a natural ability. The author questions why talent is always perceived as the hero, and that talent is the only reason we ever have good results.
The idea that high achievers have some miraculous skill is more appealing than the fact that we are simply average and don’t put in enough effort. This magical skill that someone might hold means we simply don’t need to consider ourselves in the same league as them, therefore there is no reason to compare ourselves.
“Enthusiasm is common. Endurance is rare.”
“If we overestimate talent, we underestimate everything else.”
In reality, Duckworth recognizes that exceptional performance is most often the result of countless accumulated acts of practice. She ties the psychology of achievement up in a simple formula:
Talent x Effort = Skill
Skill x Effort = Achievement
In achievement TALENT matters but EFFORT counts twice.
As Duckworth sums it up:
“Talent is how quickly your skills improve when you invest effort. Achievement is what happens when you take skills and use them.”
Grit isn’t just about working hard. It’s about staying the course and achieving mastery over a long period of time. To do this requires not just the core character, but coordination and purpose.
This coordination can be envisioned as goals in a hierarchy. Low-level goals are short-term activities and to-dos, which in turn feed into mid-level goals and finally top-level goals.
Finding this passion is in most cases a process of discovery, followed by a lengthier period of interest development, cultivation, and refinement. What separates the grittiest from the rest is their capacity to stick at interests for the long term, identifying nuances that keep them interested and exploring their passion at a deeper level.
Seminal research by Anders Ericsson (the 10,000-hour rule) suggests that what separates experts is not just the rate at which they practice at an early stage, but the way in which they practice.
“Passion for your work is a little bit of discovery, followed by a lot of development, and then a lifetime of deepening.”
We typically follow a progression starting with a relatively self-oriented interest, moving through self-disciplined practice, and finally integrating our work with some other-centered purpose.
What supports this purpose-based grit is an underlying optimism which the gritty exhibit, and a willingness to look forward despite confronting failure after failure.
Duckworth links this idea to growth or fixed mindset. To move towards a true growth mindset, she recommends practicing optimistic self-talk and updating our beliefs on intelligence and talent.
“I have a feeling tomorrow will be better is different from I resolve to make tomorrow better. The hope that gritty people have has nothing do with luck and everything to do with getting up again.”
I’m a generalist, philosopher, writer, tutor, paralegal, strategist, researcher, Bohemian, bibliophile, an intellectual and an analyst.
I always believed in the conventional ‘Attitude is the key to success.’
Curious about different takes? Check out our Grit Summary book page to explore multiple unique summaries written by Deepstash users.
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