Book Notes: Grit by Angela Duckworth

Grit by Angela Duckworth


Key Learnings

  1. Grit can be grown through practice
  2. Become more passionate by connecting your work to a greater purpose
  3. Greatness is achievable–effort is far more important than talent (success = talent x effort x effort)

When you think of grit, who is the first person that comes to mind?

For me, three people stand out as true paragons of grit–JJ Watt, Ernest Shackleton, and Michael Jordan.  What makes them “gritty?”  What does grit mean to you?  Can grit be learned, or is it pre-destined at birth?  In her book Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance, Dr. Angela Duckworth (a grit paragon in her own right) explores all of these questions and more.

Why grit is important

Grit is an excellent predictor of success.  Gritty people live more satisfying lives.  Passion and perseverance are the two defining traits of grit.

How to grow your grit

Start by connecting your work to a greater purpose to become more passionate.  Develop grit on your own by creating a habit of daily deliberate practice that challenges your current capabilities.  Then take it to the next level by getting help from others.  Use your parents, friends, coaches, and others to push you to do things beyond your current capabilities.

The great thing about hard things

Pick a “hard thing” and stick with it until it is done.  Most sports and hobbies will do.  Encourage your kids to do the same.  Following through with activities outside of work and school grows grit and is a great predictor of future successes.

Virtuous/vicious cycles

Personality traits ultimately end up reinforcing themselves in either a positive or negative way.  Be aware that small wins can snowball into long-term success in a subconscious way.

Effort vs. talent

The best parenting/coaching style to encourage grit is to be both demanding and supportive.  Make people believe that they have the ability to grow and improve through effort.  Effort, not talent, is the source of success and satisfaction in every facet of life.  Give them the confidence and the tools to get back up after they fall.

Bring grit to you (and your team)

Grit is all about culture. If you want to be gritty, then find a gritty culture and join it. Use conformity to your advantage to grow your grit.  If you want to create a culture of grit in your organization, then create an identity that enables it.  It has to be a part of your identity.

Create a clear vision for yourself and what you want to become, and have the discipline and effort to maintain that vision to make it come true.

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