“Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance” By Angela Duckworth

http://stephentully.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/Grit.pdf

I could not wait to finish this book so I could share with as many people as possible. Our society has over emphasized someone’s “natural” talents and has not given enough credit to “effort”. Most importantly consistently applied effort through struggle, something referred to as “grit”.

I strongly recommend this book for anyone. The principle of “grit” is a mindset that anyone can accept as soon as they accept its powerful effect.

This helped me see more clearly why I have always seen the best results in my life from something I have always referred to as “consistency”. This can be described as the principle of “just keep showing up”; no matter the task or what you were trying to accomplish. Any success I have had has been directly related to how committed to doing something consistently; it has never been because I was born with some specific skill.

Here are some highlights, my full book notes attached:

  • Talent is no guarantee of grit.
  • Society’s focus on “talent” distracts us from something that is at least as important, and that is EFFORT. Effort counts twice.
  • Talent is how quickly your skills improve when you invest effort. Achievement is what happens when you take your acquired skills and use them.
  • Will Smith: “The only thing that I see that is distinctly different about me is: I’m not afraid to die on a treadmill. I will not be outworked, period. You might have more talent than me, you might be smarter than me, you might be sexier than me. You might be all of those things. You got it on me in nine categories. But if we get on the treadmill together, there’s two things: You’re getting off first, or I’m going to die. It’s really that simple.”
  • Even more than the effort a gritty person puts in on a single day, what matters is that they wake up the next day, and the next, ready to get on that treadmill and keep going.
  • Grit is about working on something you care about so much that you’re willing to stay loyal to it.
  • There’s no single gene for grit, or indeed any other psychological trait.
  • Imperative that you identify your work as both personally interesting and, at the same time, integrally connected to the well-being of others.
  • Without experimenting, you can’t figure out which interests will stick, and which won’t.
  • So, parents, parents-to-be, and non-parents of all ages, I have a message for you: Before hard work comes play.
  • If you’d like to follow your passion but haven’t yet fostered one, you must begin at the beginning: discovery.
  • Unlike the answers to crossword puzzles, there isn’t just one thing you can do that might develop into a passion. There are many. You don’t have to find the “right” one, or even the “best” one—just a direction that feels good.
  • Type of practice matters:
  • (Spelling Bee study): Deliberate practice predicted advancing to further rounds in final competition far better than any other kind of preparation.
  • Spellers rated deliberate practice as significantly more effortful, and significantly less enjoyable, than anything else they did to prepare for competition.
  • Grittier kids reported working harder than other kids when doing deliberate practice but, at the same time, said they enjoyed it more than other kids, too.
  • When you have a habit of practicing at the same time and in the same place every day, you hardly have to think about getting started. You just do.
  • However they say it, the message is the same: 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.
  • Grittier people are dramatically more motivated than others to seek a meaningful, other-centered life.
  • “Imagine yourself fifteen years from now. What do you think will be most important to you then?
  • There’s an old Japanese saying: Fall seven, rise eight.
  • How do grit paragons think about setbacks? Overwhelmingly, I’ve found that they explain events optimistically.
  • “Children have never been very good at listening to their elders, but they have never failed to imitate them.
  • If you experience adversity—something pretty potent—that you overcome on your own during your youth, you develop a different way of dealing with adversity later on.
  • When kids are playing sports or music or rehearsing for the school play, they’re both challenged and having fun. There’s no other experience in the lives of young people that reliably provides this combination of challenge and intrinsic motivation.
  • But only for kids who participate in activities for two years rather than one.
  • Following through on hard things teaches a young person powerful, transferable lessons.
  • In our family, we live by the Hard Thing Rule.
    • This brings me to the second part of the Hard Thing Rule: You can quit. But you can’t quit until the season is over, the tuition payment is up, or some other “natural” stopping point has arrived.
    • In other words, you can’t quit on a day when your teacher yells at you, or you lose a race, or you have to miss a sleepover because of a recital the next morning. You can’t quit on a bad day.
    • And, finally, the Hard Thing Rule states that you get to pick your hard thing.
    • A fourth requirement will be added: each girl must commit to at least one activity, either something new or the piano and viola they’ve already started, for at least two years.
  • “That there’s a hard way to get grit and an easy way. The hard way is to do it by yourself. The easy way is to use conformity—the basic human drive to fit in—because if you’re around a lot of people who are gritty, you’re going to act grittier.”
  • “Success is never final; failure is never fatal. It’s courage that counts.”
  • Supportive and demanding parenting is psychologically wise and encourages children to emulate their parents.

 

 

  • Neil Shah

    Steve, great post, really enjoyed it. Some of the points reminded me of Geoff Colvin’s book, Talent is Overrated, which also emphasizes the point of deliberate practice to achieve extraordinary results. The point about imagining yourself in fifteen years made me think of Jeff Bezos’ Regret Minimization Framework, which basically means projecting yourself out to a much older age such as 80 and to think back on your life to see what decisions would lead to the least number of regrets. Finally, one of the last points about surrounding yourself with people who are gritty got me thinking about a comment that Warren Buffett and Charlie Munger frequently make, which is that you will improve over time if you surround yourself with people that you believe are better than you in one aspect or another. It seems like this book covers some powerful concepts that I’ve come across elsewhere. Appreciated the post and look forward to future ones! Neil