Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance – Angela Duckworth
What makes high achievers successful is grit—a combination of passion and perseverance—coupled with their raw talent. Talent is important, but talent multiplied by grit is what builds skill, and skill multiplied by grit equals achievement.
Five Main Ideas
- Grit is about maintaining the same top-level goal for a very long time.
- GRIT has four psychological assets: (1) interest (2) practice (3) purpose (4) hope.
- Gritty people perform more deliberate practice and experience more flow.
- For paragons of grit, the long days and evenings of toil, the setbacks and disappointments, and struggle, the sacrifice—all this is worth it because, ultimately, their efforts pay dividends to other people.
- Often, the critical gritty-or-not decisions we make are a matter of identity more than anything else.
What is GRIT?
Subscribe to Miniwise Newsletter (Free!)
Miniwise newsletter brings you one great bite-sized idea every day, curated from world's best non-fiction books, articles, podcasts..and more. An entire new world in just 5 minutes!
The concept of “grit” can be defined as perseverance. Only perseverance will lead to great success. A high achiever never believes they will ever achieve their goals; they are constantly striving for more and are the polar opposite of complacent, being perpetually dissatisfied. However, being unsatisfied and constantly seeking more is satisfying to them in an odd way.
Someone with true grit has an unwavering passion; they persevere in the face of adversity; giving up is simply not an option for them.
High achievers are distinguished by a combination of passion and perseverance. Grit is a quality shared by high achievers.
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.
Talent & Effort
Society places a huge amount of emphasis on talent, which is a natural ability. 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, so there is no reason to compare ourselves.
Enthusiasm is common. Endurance is rare.
Effort and Talent
“If we overestimate talent, we underestimate everything else.”
Exceptional performance is most often the result of countless accumulated acts of practice.
Talent x Effort = Skill
Skill x Effort = Achievement
In achievement, talent matters, but effort counts twice as much.
“Talent” is how quickly your skills improve when you invest effort. Achievement is what happens when you take skills and use them.
Goals and GRIT
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.
Characteristics of GRIT
- A gritty person must have INTEREST and PASSION.
- The second characteristic is the ability to PRACTICE. Someone with grit will dedicate themselves to practicing every day, and always striving to be better than the day before.
- The driver behind passion is having a PURPOSE. Someone with grit will understand their purpose and why they do the things that they do.
- Finally, HOPE. A gritty person must have hope, it’s a critical element of perseverance.
The Power of Passion and Practice
Finding this passion is, in most cases, a process of discovery followed by a longer period of interest development, cultivation, and refinement. What separates the grittiest from the rest is their capacity to stick with interests for the long term, identify nuances that keep them interested, and explore 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.
The Guiding Light of Purpose and Hope
We typically follow a progression that begins with a self-centered interest, progresses to self-disciplined practice, and finally integrates our work with some other-centered purpose.
This purpose-driven grit is supported by the gritty’s underlying optimism and willingness to look forward despite failure after failure.