Words of Wisdom from Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance by Angela Duckworth

Words of Wisdom from Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance by Angela Duckworth

If you’ve ever wondered what the secret to success is, it could be grit. Psychologist Angela Duckworth explores the virtues of grit and resilience in her intriguing book, Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance. Throughout the book, Angela shares inspiring case studies and examples, as well as personal experiences that demonstrate persistent action can be just as powerful as talent and luck. And most importantly, we all possess the potential to be “successful”, in whatever way we choose.

1. Learn how to endure after the enthusiasm fades

“Enthusiasm is common. Endurance is rare.”

2. Make the most of your potential by taking action

“Our potential is one thing. What we do with it is quite another.”

3. Stay loyal to your calling

“…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.”

4. It takes time to become great. There is no such thing as ‘overnight success’.

“Nobody wants to show you the hours and hours of becoming. They’d rather show the highlight of what they’ve become.”

5. Effort counts more than talent

“as much as talent counts, effort counts twice.”

6. Our grit grows with us

“…grit grows as we figure out our life philosophy, learn to dust ourselves off after rejection and disappointment, and learn to tell the difference between low-level goals that should be abandoned quickly and higher-level goals that demand more tenacity. The maturation story is that we develop the capacity for long-term passion and perseverance as we get older.”

7. Talent cannot be realised without effort

“Without effort, your talent is nothing more than unmet potential. Without effort, your skill is nothing more than what you could have done but didn’t.”

8. The definition of purpose

“At its core, the idea of purpose is the idea that what we do matters to people other than ourselves.”

9. Do better today than you did yesterday

“One form of perseverance is the daily discipline of trying to do things better than we did yesterday.

10. Small, ordinary steps taken consistently add up to dazzling human achievements

“most dazzling human achievements are, in fact, the aggregate of countless individual elements, each of which is, in a sense, ordinary.”

11. Be the third bricklayer

“Three bricklayers are asked: “What are you doing?” The first says, “I am laying bricks.” The second says, “I am building a church.” And the third says, “I am building the house of God.” The first bricklayer has a job. The second has a career. The third has a calling.”

12. Seek feedback as often as possible

“As soon as possible, experts hungrily seek feedback on how they did. Necessarily, much of that feedback is negative. This means that experts are more interested in what they did wrong—so they can fix it—than what they did right. The active processing of this feedback is as essential as its immediacy.”

13. Don’t be complacent

“To be gritty is to resist complacency.”

14. Implement a “Thing Rule” to avoid quitting things too soon

“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. You must, at least for the interval to which you’ve committed yourself, finish whatever you begin.

15. Do a “hard thing”

“The first is that everyone—including Mom and Dad—has to do a hard thing. A hard thing is something that requires daily deliberate practice. I’ve told my kids that psychological research is my hard thing, but I also practice yoga. Dad tries to get better and better at being a real estate developer; he does the same with running. My oldest daughter, Amanda, has chosen playing the piano as her hard thing.

16. Have the courage to keep moving forward, no matter what

“Success is never final; failure is never fatal. It’s courage that counts.”

17. Set long-term goals

“what we accomplish in the marathon of life depends tremendously on our grit—our passion and perseverance for long-term goals.”

18. Don’t quit too early

“How often do people start down a path and then give up on it entirely? How many treadmills, exercise bikes, and weight sets are at this very moment gathering dust in basements across the country? How many kids go out for a sport and then quit even before the season is over? How many of us vow to knit sweaters for all of our friends but only manage half a sleeve before putting down the needles? Ditto for home vegetable gardens, compost bins, and diets. How many of us start something new, full of excitement and good intentions, and then give up—permanently—when we encounter the first real obstacle, the first long plateau in progress?

Many of us, it seems, quit what we start far too early and far too often. 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.”

19. Use your goal-setting practice to set a positive example for your children

“If you want to bring forth grit in your child, first ask how much passion and perseverance you have for your own life goals. Then ask yourself how likely it is that your approach to parenting encourages your child to emulate you.

20. Fall down seven time, rise eight

“To be gritty is to keep putting one foot in front of the other. To be gritty is to hold fast to an interesting and purposeful goal. To be gritty is to invest, day after week after year, in challenging practice. To be gritty is to fall down seven times, and rise eight.”