by Eric Barker, Wired Magazine, 12 May 2016.
Ever feel like you just wanna give up on something? How can you develop the inner strength necessary to achieve your long term goals?
Turns out that grit — the perseverance that keeps us going — is a lot more important than you might think. In fact, it’s the best predictor of success among West Point cadets.
The best predictor of success, the researchers found, was the prospective cadets’ ratings on a noncognitive, nonphysical trait known as “grit”—defined as “perseverance and passion for long-term goals.”
Stanford researcher Catharine Cox studied 301 eminent historical figures. What conclusion did she come to?Persistence beats smarts.
“…high but not the highest intelligence, combined with the greatest degree of persistence, will achieve greater eminence than the highest degree of intelligence with somewhat less persistence.”
So we all need more grit. But how do we get there? I decided to call an expert…
In 2013 Angela Duckworth was awarded the MacArthur “Genius” Award for her work on grit.
She’s a professor at the University of Pennsylvania and author of the book, Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance.
Here’s her TED talk:
…Here’s what Angela says will build that inner strength and make you gritty:
• Pursue what interests you: You’re not going to stick it out if you don’t care.
• Practice, practice, practice: It’s not just how you get to Carnegie Hall. We love doing things we’re good at.
• Find purpose: How does what you do help others? That’s what makes a job into a calling.
• Have hope: No “wishing on a star” here, pal. Have hope because you are going to make it happen.
• Join a gritty group: Mom was right; spend time with slackers and you’ll be a slacker.
So you do all of these things and become a Tyrannosaurus of grit. Awesome. Know what else you will be?
Angela surveyed 2000 people and the results were clear: “I found that the grittier a person is, the more likely they’ll enjoy a healthy emotional life.”
And it’s not some lazy, starry-eyed contentment. Gritty people strive every day and enjoy new challenges. That’s the exciting kind of happiness. Here’s Angela:
I was talking to Brad Stevens who’s the coach of the Boston Celtics. He said, “I’ll never be the coach I want to be, but it sure is fun trying.” It’s not that gritty people are necessarily content in the comfortable sense, but they are content in the sense that they enjoy the pursuit of excellence and there’s nothing they’d rather do than keep trying to get better everyday.
Everyone today is concerned with work-life balance. It’s nice to know that the same quality that can make you a success in your career can help promote happiness at home.
You should never give up on being happy. Or better yet: never give up on yourself…