As a book blogger and a book club leader it is inevitable that people will ask me “Have you read xxx?”. Now a book I had been asked a number of times about was Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance by Angela Duckworth and I would have to sheepily respond saying I hadn’t. After reading Talk Like Ted by Carmine Gallo as part of PropelHer’s Book Club (read the review here) I decided it was time to read the book that had the same title as the Ted talk.
GRIT: THE POWER OF PASSION AND PERSEVERANCE is broken down into three parts: What grit is and why it matters, Growing grit from the inside out and Growing grit from the outside in.
In PART 1: WHAT GRIT IS AND WHY IT MATTERS Angela outlines her understanding of GRIT. She states that “GRIT has two components: passion and perseverance”. Angela goes on to explain her research into finding a predictor for success. It is a fact that “our potential is one thing. What we do with it is quite another”. Angel was driven to find out why some people end up being successful whilst others don’t.
There is the common belief that going well in school was the key to success, but Angela states that “Apparently, aptitude did not guarantee achievement”.
In fact, Angela believes that “the focus on talent distracts us from something that is at least as important, and that is effort”.
For Angela, effort is key for making everything happen.
“Without effort, your talent is nothing more than your unmet potential. With effort, your skill is nothing more than what you could have done but didn’t. With effort, talent becomes skills and, at the very same time, effort makes skill productive”
In PART II: GROWING GRIT FROM THE INSIDE OUT Angela explores perseverance and that fact that some people will often say they got bored of something as a reason for changing their passion. Novelty is a basic drive. We are driven to desire to learn about new things. However, novelty doesn’t always have to mean running after the next new, shiny object. Angela explains that “novelty for the beginner comes in one form, and novelty for the expert in another… for the expert, novelty is nuance”.
Angela states that “the grittier an individual is, the few career changes they’re likely to make”. However, part of this is also influenced by how one sees their occupation – “just about any occupation can be a job, career or calling… How you see your work is more important than your job title”. If you believe your occupation is your calling then you are likely to preserve through harder times.
Then Angela looks at the relationship between grit and optimism, grit and mindset and grit and hope. With regards to hope she states, “Grit depends on a different kind of hope. It rests on the expectations that our own efforts can improve our future.”
I deeply resonated with this quote. I know a major reason for me preserving through my education, in work and in business is because deep down I believe I am in control of my future and the effort will pay off.
In PART III: GROWING GRIT FROM THE OUTSIDE IN Angela explores how to increase your grit from your environment. There is a section on how to parent to make your children grittier and then a section on creating a grittier working environment.
Environment plays a role in how gritty you are and Angela recommends “If you want to be grittier, find a gritty culture and join it.” The reason why this works is because “The drive to fit in – to conform to the group – is powerful indeed”. As many personal development books will tell you the role of the group of people around you is very important and this is no different when it comes to grit. We become like the people around us. As a result, if they are gritty you are likely to become grittier.
I absolutely loved Grit by Angela Duckworth and can absolutely understand why so many people recommend the book. Now I am sure I am slightly biased. At one point, you can take a quiz to find out how gritty you are and overall, I was fairly gritty, which came as no surprise. This obviously means I enjoy hearing that GRIT will win over natural talent in the end. Regardless, I think it is a great book because it comes down to science. Angela is a very smart woman and throughout the book, she hasn’t just looked at success from one angle. She has looked at the army, sports, spelling bees, education, business and more. It is a thoroughly researched topic, but delivered in a very manageable way.
Like what you read? Leave a comment below.
Want to know more? Why not buy a copy of GRIT BY ANGELA DUCKWORTH for yourself?