Commentary by Dr. Whitesel: my doctoral students know that I emphasize the importance of persistence and how “Grit” author Angela Duckworth has proven this in her research and illustrated it in her TED talks. Angela Duckworth gives us an important metaphor about not turning back when she asks (article below): “Have you crossed the Rubicon?”
Jesus emphasized this about 2,000 years earlier when he stated, “No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.” Luke 9:62 NIV.
by Jessica Stillman, Inc. Magazine, 11/8/22.
… Duckworth claims mindset also plays an important role in determining whether someone has the grit to weather setbacks.
The difference between grit and giving up, she writes, comes down to whether or not someone has “crossed the Rubicon.” If you’re a little hazy on your history, the expression comes from the time of Julius Caesar. When the Roman general decided to lead his army across the Rubicon river even though the Roman Senate had expressly forbidden him from doing so, he committed a clear act of treason. There was no going back. His options became victory or death.
Obviously, few of us today literally put our lives on the line in pursuit of our dreams. No one will execute you if your business venture fails. You will live to tell the tale if your acting career doesn’t work out. But Duckworth insists that, for maximum grit, you metaphorically need to “cross the Rubicon” and go all-in in pursuit of your goals.
“Being all in means you’re fully committed to your goal. You’re no longer weighing the pros and cons of your dreams. Instead, you’re figuring out how to make them a reality,” she writes. Those who cross the Rubicon are no longer asking whether they should chase their goals, they’re solely focused on how to chase them. Changing just that single wordmakes all the difference when it comes to your level of grit.
“Is that a dream or a plan?”
Duckworth’s instance that mental toughness boils down to focusing on the process you’re using to pursue your goals rather than whether they are the right goals at all reminded me of similar advice from author and entrepreneur Tim Ferriss. He too says the difference between dreamers and achievers boils down to a small change in language, though he makes his argument slightly differently.