Grit, de Angela Duckworth

Puntuación: 9/10


Nota de Frank Spartan

Un gran libro que se adentra en las profundidades de la fórmula que mejor nos ayuda a conseguir nuestros objetivos e, indirectamente, a acercarnos a la felicidad. El trabajo de Angela Duckworth está ampliamente reconocido por los profesionales más prestigiosos de la psicología y el crecimiento personal, y representa un modelo de felicidad clave que conviene tener muy en cuenta a la hora de plantearnos qué queremos conseguir y cómo debemos hacerlo. 

Pasamos al inglés, colega.

Key ideas 

The idea that some people are successful because they’re born with talent running through their veins is a farce. You can achieve anything you set your mind to, through consistent effort and conscious practice.

Everyone wants success, but when it comes down to doing the work it takes to be successful, not everyone shows up. This is the real difference between the “geniuses” and “ordinary people”.

Effort will help you achieve more than you ever will with just talent; our potential is one thing. What we do with it is quite another.

Successful people in different fields are those who are ready to make calculated decisions and are motivated to keep winning. No matter what it is they put their minds to, even when it fails, they keep going. There is no place for complacency or mediocrity in the quest for success.

In a 2004 study, Angela Duckworth sought to find out why students who previously aspired to be in the United States military academy suddenly dropped out when they eventually got in. The study showed that talent and ability were not the reason why the successful recruits stayed, but the presence of a “never give up” attitude.

To be successful, a strong determination, sense of direction, resilience, and hard work are really important qualities that will help you through trying times.

Grit is equal parts passion and perseverance, and talent is not a guarantee of grit.

Not everyone is equally talented; you can do some things more easily than others and you might not be able to do some other things that your friends might find easy. However, it is certain that if you put in enough effort, you can do anything you want because conscious efforts toward a goal will generate more results than unused talent ever will.

In the school system, the business world, and even athletics, the grittier people are the ones who end up achieving great success.

Of course, success isn’t only predicted by grit, other factors such as prior experience, supportive parents and friends, and even physical fitness may also predict success in different fields. Still, grit remains an important predictor of success.

Renowned psychologists Francis Galton and William James, after extensive research on why some people are more successful than others, concluded that while talent may differ across individuals, people possess a lot of resources and only exceptional people push themselves to use them. But as Chia-Jung Tsay, a psychologist who carried out two experiments involving musical experts, discovered in her research, people love “naturals,” and even if you claim to care about effort, you will, in fact, choose natural or talented people over those who work hard if you had to make a choice.

Talent × Effort = Skill

Skill × Effort = Achievement

Effort appears twice in this formula because your talent can only improve with effort as tasks get easier to carry out when you practice and put in as much effort as you can. Accomplishment is about going the distance others would not think of going, and doing the necessary things that will get you to success.

Research done at Harvard University in 1940 using 130 sophomores showed that those who lasted longer on a treadmill were more adjusted psychologically in adulthood.

Grit is staying true to one course, even when it isn’t comfortable and conditions get hard. The goal of any talent should be productivity. And productivity is only possible when a talent becomes a skill after a lot of effort has gone into it.

What is grit

Grit is about stamina, not just hard work, but sticking to one thing and seeing it to the end. It also means doing the things you care about and staying loyal to a course. There’s no room to constantly move around or change your mind because developing skills takes time.

Grit is made up of 2 factors:

• Passion 

• Perseverance

Passion is an important factor that builds grit. It is more of consistency over time than intensity as we often believe. It is not a flash in the pan or a quick fix; it is doing one thing for as long as it will take you to succeed.

Many times, we are enthusiastic about a new idea when it hits us, but when it comes down to doing the actual work, we give up. This is not passion. Passion is a compass that leads you to where you want to go. It is the sustained devotion to a cause that endures over time.

Perseverance, on the other hand, is what makes you stick to your passion. You would hardly want to work on something you do not love to do, and what you love to do needs work to grow.

A clear goal is a very important step toward maintaining grit. When you are sure of what you want amidst all the options available, it keeps you on track as you journey through life and lets you have your priorities in order.

Lack of grit comes from having less coherent goal structures. Although, it is possible for two goals to conflict, all your goals have to be geared toward making you a better person in a chosen field.

An important way to discover if you are on a clear path is to ask yourself how all your different goals serve a common purpose.

How to manage grit

To grow grit, you need to have these psychological assets:

Interest: Passion starts with enjoying what you do, and even if you do not completely love it, the general feeling should be enjoyable.

Capacity to practice: Doing things daily makes you better. Find what you love and rise above complacency by trying to practice better.

Purpose: It is important that you are convinced that what you do matters. Identify your work as interesting and connected to others.

Hope: This is the very essence of grit. When things get hard, this is what encourages you to keep going.

These assets are not specific to a given set of people but can be grown from the inside out.

British journalist, Hester Lacey, New York Times editor, Will Shortz, and Jeff Bezos, at different times, all agree that doing what you love is an important factor for success and it makes you happier and more satisfied with life. Few people end up doing what they love, but so long as you are focused on the things that capture your attention and imagination, you will be happy doing what you do. This doesn’t happen suddenly; you need to stick with it as this is just the first step.

Finding your passion involves 3 steps that occur throughout life:

• Discovery.

• Development.

• Deepening.

Discovery begins at childhood and improves as you grow older, and this doesn’t happen independently but is facilitated by interactions with the other people around you. This can be a very long process because there is no predicting the things that will capture your attention, and there will be a lot of mistakes along the way as you try to figure things out.

Development is a period of growth, and thrives in an encouraging environment. Teachers, parents, friends, and even pastors provide all necessary feedback and stimulation that will help you improve on your skills. 

Deepening occurs throughout life; you ask yourself consistently what it is that you are doing and how you can be better than you currently are. It’s okay to erase a wrong answer or find a new method to making things work.

Cognitive psychologist Erik Erikson proposed that for proper mastery of a talent, one must practice for 10,000 hours. But the question is — is it ever enough? Successful people demonstrate a desire to excel beyond their already remarkable level of expertise, and this requires a lot of practice in as many years.

The secret of practice is not the number of years it takes, but the fact that you do something differently every time you practice. This is called “deliberate practice”

Steps to achieving deliberate practice are:

Set a stretch goal: Focus on a weak aspect of your performance and focus on making yourself better.

Focus on the goal: Undivided attention and effort to achieve the goal.

Seek feedback: This will help you fix the things you are doing wrongly.

Doing these regularly makes you more competent. After you’ve mastered a stretch goal, another goal comes along, and this goes on until you have mastered all the aspects of your calling.

Although, deliberate practice requires more effort and can be really stressful, it is effective in improving your skills in a way that no other technique can.

Finding purpose is one of the most important fuels of passion. Purpose goes way deeper than mere intention and ensures that other people benefit from whatever you do; this is the main idea of purpose.

It is true that everyone has different goals for life, but life gets easier and more satisfying when your goals revolve around making the world a better place.

It is certain that setbacks will come, but your ability to stay optimistic is a great way to remain gritty. Maintaining a positive mindset is strongly dependent on your history of success and failure, as well as how other people have responded over the years to the things you do. This is why it is important to be around people who inspire you to be better.

A mindset that is fixed on growth will definitely be optimistic no matter the travail and will persevere in times of adversity.

Two ways to grow grit are:

Inside out: You will discover there is so much you can do when you challenge yourself, move out of your comfort zone, and build more interests.

Outside in: The people around you —family, friends, spouse, colleagues — can also help you develop grit by encouraging you to take on new tasks and do more.

Many limits will pop up as you make progress but most of them, on closer inspection, are self-imposed by fear and a lack of grit. Keep going.