Michael Schultz is an aspiring writer and game creator. He’s worked on his fantasy story and game for 8 years now. At 22, this represents over 1/3 of his life.
But he must not give up. He must scratch and claw his way to completion. And I believe he will because he has a critical ingredient to success.
He’s got grit.
Grit: Passion + Perseverance
“Grit” is the title of a book by Angela Duckworth, Ph.D., who has advised the White House, the World Bank, NBA and NFL teams, and Fortune 500 CEOs. Her Ted Talk on grit has over 10 million views. And on and on.
But none of this came easy for her. Before it was great, her Ted Talk stunk. The Ted honchos who auditioned her said she’d “managed to tell a story with absolutely zero suspense.” Her own daughters asked, “Why do you say ‘Um’ all the time?” She confesses, “Nobody wants to show you the hours and hours of becoming. They’d rather show the highlight of what they’ve become.” (To see how it turned out, click here)
Duckworth’s idea is that success is not the product of raw talent, giftedness, or genius. She doesn’t consider herself one of the elite gifted or talented people on earth; just one of the gritty. For her, success is the result of a unique combination of passion and perseverance demonstrated over a long time.
The Making & Molding of Grit
Duckworth says you shouldn’t worry about your child’s (or your own) IQ scores or giftedness compared to others. Instead, celebrate and nurture the following ingredients:
- Interest: Drill down to one’s objects of love and desire. I call this one’s “Compelling Why.” Notice what your children love and get lost in; these may be the seeds of life-long passion.
- Practice: Gritty people spend countless hours honing their skills. Practice is deliberate, goal-oriented effort to improve through feedback and repetition over time.
- Purpose: To persevere we must believe that the object of our passion matters, that it will make life better, right some wrong, or lead to happiness for ourselves and/or the world.
- Hope: This is when you face obstacles and setbacks, when you get knocked down, but get back up again. “There is an old Japanese saying: Fall seven, rise eight.” That’s grit.
Bonus Ingredient: A hard-nosed but encouraging mentor is a huge inspiration to grit. These may be a parent, family member, teacher, author, coach or artist. If you are an over-comer, a plucky fighter, you probably had a tough, but tender coach in your corner. Let them inspire you to become such a figure to others before you die.
My Hope: Grit to Great
One day I hope to become a published author. If I do, it will be the result of dedication and devotion over many years and at personal cost. Even as I complete this article, it’s past 3:00 am. I will get up and go to my day job in 4 hours. I am not being paid to do this. As in Michael’s case, it’s a labor of love, the pursuit of a dream. I am scratching and clawing. With God’s help, I will achieve my goal or die trying.
I don’t know if I have the gift, but I hope I have the grit.
How About You?
- What dream are you passionate about?
- How have you demonstrated perseverance to make it a reality?
- Do you actively nurture your own interest, practice, purpose, and hope? How?
- Who will stand up at your funeral and say you were an inspirational figure to them?
Would you take just a moment to leave a comment, or share this with a friend?