I was listening to a TED Radio Hour podcast (you guys, I’m currently obsessed with podcasts!) and I decided to play one named “Success.” How appealing right? Teach me all there is to know about being successful! They went through different definitions of “assumed” success, discussed why we’re so obsessed with it and how we should perhaps look at success less objectively. I loved all the speakers (including Tony Robbins) but today I want to focus on psychologist Angela Lee Duckworth and her concept on how grit might be the best trait for success.
Grit is having the perseverance and passion to see tasks through, especially if the goal is long-term and means something to you.
In her research, Duckworth found that IQ and grit are totally separate, meaning those with the smarts aren’t necessarily the people who work harder or see things through. Basically success in life doesn’t depend so heavily on learning things easily and fast. She argues that being able to adapt to our circumstances cultivates the capacity to get up after failures and those are the people she saw succeed time and time again.
I think of single-parents, children with learning disorders, anyone who’s had to overcome obstacles to get to where they want to be. Failures and disadvantages, no matter how big or small, or what shape us and give us the opportunity to put in effort to grow.
Are you a “gritty” person?
Duckworth developed a “grit scale,” and you can find the test online, but in short, you can ask yourself these questions:
Do you live life as a marathon, not a sprint?
Do you finish what you begin?
Do you let setbacks disappoint you?
Those are just a few of the types of questions you’ll find on her test in order to determine if you are indeed a “gritty” person.
Gritty people are also hopeful, have purpose, interest, and are willing to put in the daily practice it takes to get better at their craft. They don’t dwell on what went wrong or why they failed but rather look at it as an opportunity to grow and learn.
How do you become a “grittier” person?
To super simplify things, you have to believe that failure is not permanent. It’s all in choosing to believe that change is possible and behave in a way that allows you to persevere. While this is certainly an innate characteristic for some, it’s also a quality that can be taught, especially to children. Duckworth calls it having a “growth mindset.”
I really enjoyed this concept because I’ve long believed that the way your life unfolds is largely correlated to your outlook on said life and how you process things that have happened to you.
Are you a person that always finds the bad in something or do you see each day as a new opportunity to flourish and kick ass?
My take on how grit might be the best trait for success is this: hard, consistent work rarely fails. And if you have the drive to work at your craft each day then you’ll find “success.” But you have to be willing to see it through and work diligently. If you’re happy in the process then I believe you’re on to something good. The outcome might not always be monetary success but that’s a topic for another post. 😉
Also grit is an indicator and not the only thing that determines whether or not someone will be successful.
I’d love to hear if you guys enjoy posts like this? If you’ve been a long-time reader you know incorporating more thoughts on success and topics that start honest conversation have been a goal of mine. Because aren’t we all striving to be #girlbosses?
Happy Thursday and until next post!