Grit, written by psychologist and University of Penn professor Angela Duckworth, sets out to apply rigorous scientific methods to the study of high-level achievement.
In particular, Duckworth delves deep into uncovering why and how people have the perseverance to follow through with objectives and the passion for accomplishing top-level goals.
Duckworth notes that being a person with grit is not about how much energy we expel in a singular day. More importantly, displaying grittiness is rising back up the very next day and the day after that.
Grittiness is about the dogged application of effort through countless hours of deliberate practice. It is this persistence which builds mastery over time.
Duckworth goes to great lengths and depths to show the reader that grit can be cultivated within ourselves and fostered in others. Grittiness is not a fleeting quality we are born with but rather a trait that is honed over time.
Through Grit, Duckworth does some fascinating unpacking of some commonly held misconceptions regarding innate talent and mastery. She exposes the limiting beliefs many of us hold true. Beliefs like our capabilities in life are ultimately capped by some naturally ordained level of ability.
Duckworth details a simple yet insightful mathematical formula in the book relating to achievement. It underscores the point that effort counts twice in all of our endeavors. It dispels the notion of naturally gifted people excelling on talent alone.
Duckworth points out that we often observe and admire a level of mastery being displayed by someone in a singular moment of achievement. Rarely have we observed or acknowledged the countless daily moments in that person’s life that built up towards that singular display of greatness.
It is easy to dismiss someone’s greatness as innate. We may even take ourselves off of the hook for having to put in the work to even dare to try and get there too. While some may recoil at the thought of having ultimate accountability for their journeys, I find it wholly encouraging in the face of the daily challenges of life.
This revelation of effort being the key differentiator in achieving greatness should be empowering. It places us all on an even playing field for our pursuits in life.
Most intriguing to me personally in reading Grit was the dispelling of the notion that our passions should arise in a singular moment. As a society, we have somehow fallen into a trap. We feel our life’s calling should be bestowed upon us. Many of us are just waiting for some sort of grand vision to erupt like a fireworks display.
Duckworth shows and I feel proves that passions in life are actually cultivated through exposure to and development of interests over time. Our passions do not simply appear and take hold through an epiphany.
I personally found Grit to be enlightening and very self-assuring. There were a few moments reading Grit where I sighed a long exhale of relief, taking comfort in the premises Duckworth lays out.
Grit was a major draw to me personally in relation to founding this site Still Feel 21. Creating and publishing content was completely out of my comfort zone. It can still feel unnerving to me at times.
I stumbled into the joy of writing about 8 years ago through a random opportunity at a prior job. I can now see that random exposure to writing could have been my first step in cultivating a passion for writing.
As a parent reading Grit, I picked up some helpful nuggets in regards to the ways we can foster grit in others. The fixed mindset versus a growth mindset was a total revelation to me as a father to a young son.
I have been even more mindful of the words I speak to my son since putting the book down. I want him to embody the belief that effort and deliberate practice are what truly counts in chasing down his dreams.
No matter what your calling in life may be, Grit will guide you through an empowering paradigm shift regarding your thoughts on passions and achievement.
Whether a business owner, stay at home mom, or artist, there is a broad appeal in the concepts from Grit. It is a necessary leveling of some limiting beliefs we have all most likely held onto at one point in our life.
Do check out Grit and please leave a comment about your own experiences with cultivating a passion, effort versus talent, or your ability to stick through with commitments.