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The grittier we are the grittier we become.
I always valued work ethic and intangibles more than intelligence or traditional measures of performance, but after reading Angela Duckworth’s book Grit, it become clear that the intangible work ethic I admired had a name.
The book put words and structure to ideas that always were just below the surface. I hope you enjoy reflecting on Grit as much as I did. Thanks for reading!
..there are no shortcuts to excellence. Developing real expertise, figuring out really hard problems, it all takes time―longer than most people imagine....you've got to apply those skills and produce goods or services that are valuable to people....Grit is about working on something you care about so much that you're willing to stay loyal to it...it's doing what you love, but not just falling in love―staying in love.
- Angela Duckworth
Grit is the perseverance of effort combined with the passion for a particular long-term goal or end state (a powerful motivation to achieve an objective).1
Most of us develop varying levels of grit over time. It develops when we engage in challenging, but enjoyable work over a long period of time. This type of work teaches us to keep going when we want to quit, try new things when we get stuck, and endure discomfort in pursuit of a long-term goal.
CEOs, athletes, politicians, scientists, etc. all have grit to thank for reaching the top of their field, but grit can’t be developed overnight. It takes decades of intentional cultivation to reach this level of performance, but grit compounds over time.
The grittier you are, the more hard things you will overcome. The more hard things you overcome, the grittier you will become. So on and so forth.
Investors leverage the same concept of compounding interest. The more money they invest, the more interest they receive. The more interest they receive, the more money they can invest. So on and so forth.
The best investors aren’t the ones with the highest returns, they’re the ones who started earlier.
The same holds true with the currency of high performance, grit. The earlier we combine perseverance of effort with a passion for a long-term goal, the earlier we will begin to develop grit.
If you look at high performers across any industry or profession they all have one thing in common, they’ve been working on one thing relentlessly for decades. They faced the same challenges as everyone else, but their passion and perseverance, or their grittiness, allowed them to keep going where others stopped.
Developing a unique capacity for overcoming daunting challenges starts with exposing ourselves to difficult work and committing to a long-term goal.
The only way to become grittier is to be gritty. Find something you’re passionate about and start small. Stick with it long after you want to quit and see where you end up. Whether that is the thing you end up doing for the rest of your life, or you pivot to something else, you’ll develop grit along the way and that grit will continue to compound for years to come.
Where do I keep going when everyone else seems to give up?
What rules can I put create to force myself to keep going when I want to quit?
How gritty am I right now? How can I become grittier?
A quick guide to developing grit.
The Ted Talk that inspired Duckworth’s bestselling book on Grit.
Thanks for reading! I’ll see you next Sunday.