Why Reading Grit is a must.
Sitting down, grabbing a cup of coffee, and cracking open this book surely leaves the reader with an odd sense of re-evaluation and a newfound respect for commitment. Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance by Angela Duckworth takes the claim that ‘success’ or success through continued motivation stems directly from our capacity for grit.
What is Grit?
Or even more importantly, how does Angela describe grit. Grit is a combination of two fundamental attributes for motivation, those being passion and perseverance. Our ability to maintain motivation improves tremendously alongside the growth of passion and perseverance.
Passion is the love you have for something. It’s our interest in any subject, our constant pull towards that novelty. Our passion draws us back into the topic.
Perseverance is the ability to stay on track through the turmoil. It’s the commitment part of any drawn-out task. Think of it as the willingness to persist throughout a project. Even, the hard part of hard work, or the acceptance that to better yourself and your craft you have to maintain throughout it all.
What about Grit is special?
Why spend any time looking at grit, and not the already reliable IQ or something similar? Grit, as Duckworth shows, is the only characteristic that is proved to be correlated with the success in each group studied, take her Spelling Bee example. The Spelling Bee Competition shows who has determination through hours logged. Before and after each competition, participants were given a “Grit Scale” measurement test. The test was administered to see if their
Better than any other factor, grit predicated who would place higher in the competition. Almost against intuition, it wasn’t intelligence, upbringing, or even race; it was grit that rose to the top. How did grit show itself in each of the students? The range of which these kids put in a
Seem Kind of Obvious?
Sure, the kids who placed the best were the ones who practiced the most. It is part of most cultures to believe that hard work provides the results wanted. But, what isn’t so common sense is the other two pieces to this puzzle. First, was the fact that dedicated practice was more predictive than any other factor, going against our intuition. And second, as I’ll get to, it was the amount of deliberate effort threaded into their practice sessions that proved most valuable.
Our Bias Towards Talent
We have an ingrained response towards those who make work look seamless. If two musicians were compared for their skill level: a player with little practice and lots of talent, and a player with little talent but lots of practice. Even if of similar level, the musician that makes it look easy is thought to be the better musician. As Angela provided, up to almost four years more of practice. That’s a steep level for the low talent player to catch up to.
Why Deliberate Effort is the Key
What even is deliberate effort? Deliberate effort is the amount of time practicing that is spent actively analyzing each piece of your skill. Put more simply, it’s the amount of constructive criticism you give yourself in any situation. A great example of this is swimming practice. It was when swimmers chose to swim the laps they were worst at, over and over, they began to hone their craft. Only swimming laps wouldn’t give the Olympians the results they craved. They had to spend most of that time looking for ways to improve. That requires tons of motivation, and a good way to keep it is through a ‘flow’ performance
Finding Your Flow
The other side of the spectrum (from
Combine the Two
What happens when you take an especially passionate subject and use a strong commitment towards it? You develop your ‘calling’. A calling is more than just your hobby on the side or job you work at nine to five. A calling is that practice, skill, interest, or whichever, that you find purpose in pursuing. And what was found by Angela’s research is that more often than not, the grittier you are the more motivated you are towards your calling and not a job.
F.Y.I. – People with higher levels of grit have also shown to have more extrinsically focused passions. Efforts that benefits those in their lives, not just selfish pursuits.
The Big Takeaways
After reading through this a couple of times, some big quotes begin to stand out. What I found to be the most notable or worthy to record I copied down below:
- “80% of success in life is showing up”
- Warren Buffet’s twenty-five career goals. After writing them down, circle your top five and focus on them. The other twenty are distractions and detract from you making progress.
- Nietzsche’s approach to “flow”. On the topic, he said, “With everything perfect. We do not ask how it came to be.” Instead, “we rejoice in the present fact as though it came out of the ground by magic. No one can see in the work of the artist how it has become. That is its advantage, for wherever one can see the act of becoming one grows somewhat cool.”
- Many, many more
What We Can Take From it All
Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance helps shine a needed light on the area of motivated effort. It makes what was taboo (masters in a field got there from practice, not only talent) seem more believable. A great representation of the promises that hard work can grant. If you’re interested in the book, click here!
If you’re interested posts like this, check out Tools of Titans!
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