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The Hard Thing Rule

Duckworth recommends that each of your family members implement the hard thing rule into their lives. The hard thing rule suggests that you commit 100% to something for a specific period. Give it your all, and do not stop giving 100% until the period has elapsed. This thing should not be easy, but should instead be a hard thing that can reap benefits. If you decide to continue after the period, then this is great. Either way, you are developing a grittiness that will help you commit to long-term goals.


407 reads


Grit - The Power of Passion and Perseverance

Grit - The Power of Passion and Perseverance

Grit is an investigation into the importance of determination and perseverance for success. Society tends to focus on the importance of natural talent. We observe athletes, musicians, and academics performing at the highest level and assume they are there because of lucky genetics. The author acc...


2.17K reads



Each of us will have a wide range of goals. These goals can range from short-term lists of what you want to do today to life-time goals. Duckworth describes this range of goals as a hierarchy. The bottom of your goal hierarchy is filled with the goals you want to attain as soon as possible. These...


579 reads

The Four Characteristics of a Gritty Person

The Four Characteristics of a Gritty Person

  1. Passion & interest are integral. To be gritty, individuals must enjoy what they're doing & be committed to their passions. This passion has to guide them towards dedicating portions of their day, every single day, to their interests. On top of this, a gritty person will understand that inter...


490 reads

Intelligent practice is deliberate, this will help avoid repetition for the sake of it & will subsequently bring better results.

Ericsson developed a program to help train doctors to deal with specific critical situations. The program gives doctors feedback after suggesting specific treatme...


366 reads

Research has found that 66% of US employers favor hard work, grit, and determination when looking for a suitable employee. Therefore, it is integral that you stop obsessing over talent. Similarly, a recent study by psychologist Chia-Jung Tsay found that an overwhelming majority of music experts a...


1.18K reads



Our overemphasis on talent allows us to believe that high achievers are doing something we physically couldn’t. For example, we start to believe that an Olympic athlete has natural talents that we could never possibly match. However, in overfocusing on talent, we forget about the early starts, ho...


1.09K reads



Society is obsessed with the idea of natural talent. We love the idea of people being innately good at things, and we use this as an excuse for why we cannot achieve specific goals. However, Duckworth challenges the idea that talent should be considered the most important feature of success. She ...


1.33K reads

Duckworth provides the example of Tom Seaver. Tom was passionate about baseball from a young age. He managed to make his dream a reality by making every goal in his life about pitching in baseball. For example, Tom would stay in the shade if he was traveling through a sunny climate. He did this b...


512 reads

For example, if you don’t send off your emails earlier in the day, you won’t have time to pursue a substantial creative project. Get your lower goals out of the way, as they are just a means to an end. The higher up the goal hierarchy you go, the more the goals become the end in themselves. Hence...


538 reads

If you are a parent, Duckworth emphasizes the importance of the child choosing their own hard thing. The length of the period will depend on the age of the child. For younger children, a season or a year is the best commitment length. Then, as they grow older, this period can be lengthened. For e...


381 reads

The Finnish Culture of Grit

The Finnish Culture of Grit

Duckworth described Finland as a country where grit is widely promoted in the culture. She attributes this to long, cold winters & history of having to defend themselves. Subsequently, they have their own word for grit, sisu, which refers to someone having the quality of perseverance. A Finnish p...


381 reads

Growing Grit From the Inside Out

Growing Grit From the Inside Out

Emulation Rather than Imitation

Duckworth sees wise parenting as including love, limits, & latitude. Wise parents give their children constant support to emulate them & succeed with whatever goals they have, instead of imitating their every move. The older we get, the more ...


409 reads

Irving eventually learned that he struggled at school as he had dyslexia. However, instead of seeing this as a limitation that would stop him from ever being successful, Irving saw this as motivation to work even harder. He worked twice as hard for the remainder of his life. For example, he would...


697 reads

The importance of passion is, that it provides you with daily motivation to keep pushing forwards. A 2014 Gallup poll found that ⅔ of US workers aren't motivated by their job. Only 13% of workers said they feel engaged with their work. This highlights a clear problem with people pursuing professi...


403 reads

Grit Goals

Grit Goals

Grit involves persevering and fighting through challenging times. However, grit also involves keeping your top hierarchy goals for a long time. The goals at the top of your hierarchy should be critical to every action in your life. Therefore, a gritty person develops top-level goals and integrate...


521 reads

3. Have a purpose. Every gritty person needs an overarching purpose that gives them their passion and motivation. Even the hardiest individual will struggle to continue through hardships if they feel they don’t have a purpose. Therefore, individuals with grit will understand their purpose and adj...


443 reads

Practice Intelligently

Practicing hard can be a waste of time if you are not practicing intelligently. For example, suppose you are just on autopilot by copying a textbook word-for-word as a study technique. In that case, you won’t necessarily succeed. Intelligent practice is a concept introduced by cognitive psycholog...


394 reads

Therefore, try and pursue a professional career that suits you. For example, creatively-minded people will never be fully engaged in an administrative desk job. This match will only lead to less success for the company they work for and less personal success. Hence, Duckworth recommends finding a...


411 reads

Exercise as an Example of Effort vs. Talent

Exercise as an Example of Effort vs. Talent

Duckworth sees exercise and fitness as perfect examples of her theory of effort being more important than talent. For example, she explains that exercise equipment, including clothes and shoes, are some of the most frequently bought categories. Despite this, studies suggest that 40% of people use...


732 reads

Talent vs. Skill

Talent vs. Skill

There is a tendency for people to equate talent with skill. However, they are not the same. Duckworth describes talent as a natural ability. In contrast, you can only develop true skill by putting hours of effort into developing a particular attribute. You will and should be spending considerably...


642 reads

Growing Grit From the Outside In

Growing Grit From the Outside In

Grit and Culture

Duckworth defines culture as a group of people who share the same values and norms. Therefore, if you want to maintain your grit levels, it is best to immerse yourself in a gritty culture. Surround yourself with gritty people and you will benefit in the lon...


368 reads

What Grit Is and Why It Matters

What Grit Is and Why It Matters

Duckworth describes the concept of grit as a form of perseverance. It is essential to anybody attaining high levels of achievement. High achievers are never satisfied with minimal goals. Therefore, these people never believe they will reach their goals, as they are always striving for more. High ...


1.71K reads

With all things in life, it is easier to quit than persevere. Subsequently, most people quit too early on in a process. They quit when there is still ample opportunity to receive a positive outcome from their efforts. Therefore, Duckworth encourages readers to dig deep when things aren’t going th...


667 reads

Grit and School

Grit and School

There is a clear difference between interesting and hard. Some children will find school hard and uninteresting. Similarly, the same children might find their lunchtime interesting, but not hard. However, there are some things at school that are both hard and interesting—for example, learning how...


371 reads

Duckworth introduced the idea that achievement is a combination of skill and effort. Specifically, she provided the following equation for success:

Skill × Effort = Achievement

An excellent example of how effort is more important than skill is the award-winning writer, John Irving. Ir...


767 reads

Rather than logically explain why high achievers are successful, we instead attribute an element of mystery to these individuals. We find it more appealing to assume that others are superhuman rather than accepting that we are merely average and do not put in enough effort. Our overfocus on talen...


954 reads

Is Grit Something You are Born With?

Is Grit Something You are Born With?

There isn’t a clear answer to this. However, it's likely that we are partly born with it.

Duckworth believes that grit is a combination of your genetics & experience. Although genetics does have a small impact on your grit, it is possible to heavily improve your grit through experiences. e...


477 reads

Research suggests that children who are involved in activities outside of their regular schooling do better overall. Not only do these children have improved grades, but they also gain confidence in their abilities. Plus, they learn how vital commitments and consistent practice can be in improvin...


369 reads

Practice Intelligently

Practice Intelligently

Practicing hard can be a waste of time if you are not practicing intelligently. For example, suppose you are just on autopilot by copying a textbook word-for-word as a study technique. In that case, you won’t necessarily succeed. Intelligent practice is a concept introduced by cognitive psycholog...


387 reads



Duckworth defines grit as “passion and perseverance for very long-term goals”. She believes that this is what distinguishes successful people from unsuccessful people. Critics argue that her definition of grit is too broad and does not provide a clear understanding of what it means to have grit.


424 reads

Effort is Twice as Important as Talent

Effort is Twice as Important as Talent

Duckworth sees talent as being reliant on effort. Subsequently, she defines talent as ‘how rapidly your skills develop when you commit time and effort. Then, your achievements are the result of your developed skills being put to good use. Duckworth accepts that her formula for success does not co...


854 reads




Book summaries mostly ...

What makes high achievers successful, MacArthur Fellow Duckworth writes, is grit—a “combination of passion and perseverance”—coupled with their raw talent. Talent is important, she acknowledges, but talent multiplied by grit is what builds skill, and skill multiplied by grit equals achievement....

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How to do the thing you're avoiding

Get into the action habit. We do the thing by deciding to do the thing.

  • Take the time to consider the fact that you’re really avoiding something.
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