Updated: Jun 10, 2020
I sure do enjoy reading good books. Grit, by Angela Duckworth, is excellent, as advertised. I guess a book doesn't get to be a #1 New York Times Bestseller by being crappy. It even references and draws some parallels with another of my favorites, Carol Dweck's, Mindset, in that both authors present strong arguments that talent is overrated.
For Duckworth, talent takes a back burner to grit.
The components of grit: passion and perseverance.
Passion, when it comes to grit, isn't so much about the emotional definition of the word as it is about direction. Passion is your compass. It's "that thing that takes you some time to build, tinker with, and finally get right, and that then guides you on your long and winding road to where, ultimately, you want to be."
Perseverance, on the other hand, is pretty straight forward. How much effort are you willing to devote? How many times are you willing to get back up after you've been knocked down...again? Can you wake up and do it all over again, day after day after day?
Together, your passion and perseverance determines your grit. And your grit largely determines your achievement.
Sure, talent plays a role, but "as much as talent counts, effort counts twice."
"With effort, talent becomes skill and, at the very same time, effort makes skill productive."
The insights contained in the book are persuasive, powerful, and practical. Duckworth's ideas could be used to improve your own grit, and they could be used to help you learn how to lead in a way that might plant the seeds of grit in others.
I particularly enjoyed her thoughts on parenting for grit, no surprise there, as well as her thoughts on grit as the framework for the culture of a group (Pete Carroll, Seattle Seahawks).
Duckworth believes that "what we accomplish in the marathon of life depends tremendously on our grit—our passion and perseverance for long-term goals. An obsession with talent distracts us from that simple truth."
Finally, this passage paints a vivid picture of what I imagine grit to look like:
"It sometimes feels like we have nothing left to give, and yet, in those dark and desperate moments, we find that if we just keep putting one foot in front of the other, there is a way to accomplish what all reason seems to argue against."