5 Key Takeaways from the book Grit by Angela Duckworth

Dinakaran Sankaranarayanan


5 Key Takeaways from the book Grit by Angela Duckworth

I happened to read the book Grit by Angela Duckworth and here are 5 Key Takeaways from the book.

1. What and How of Grit?

After surveying, interviewing and researching the life a lot of successful people like athletes and entrepreneurs, the author is convinced that Talent was the not only reason for their success. In addition to talent, Grit is also really important.

Grit is a combination of passion and perseverance and this played a huge role in their success story. The author has surveyed people from several fields, like professionals getting trained for Beast program known for tough and intense physical endurance program, kids participating in spell bee and athletes winning a lot of gold medals - all of them have in common a unique attribute in addition to talent and that can be referred to as Grit.

2. Is Talent all that is required ?

To achieve anything, it takes twice the effort along with talent. Efforts play a key role in achieving outstanding results.

Talent X Effort = Skill

Skill X Effort = Achievement

3. No one is a born natural

All of us require practice and hard work to achieve, though it is not very obvious. When people see someone as successful, we call them as Natural. But the hard work and personal struggle and sacrifices are rarely seen from the outside.Grit is all about passion and perseverance. Consistency over Intensity. Putting the heads down and executing day-in and day-out without giving up once decided on the goals.

4. Growing Grit from the Inside-Out

Grit can be grown slowly by all of us and some of the most essential things that help us to build Grit are :

a. Interest :

Doing what we love and things that interest us is one of the important aspects of growing Grit. Not all of us really find our passion very early. It is a self-discovery process. Passion for work is a bit of discovery, followed by a lot of development and lifetime of deepening the skill. Without experimenting, one cannot figure out which type of interest will stick and which won’t.

There is a lot of thrust around ‘Follow your passion’. While this is not entirely bad advice, it would have been helpful to understand how passion is fostered in the first place.

b. Practice :

Once we find our interest and goals, it is widely accepted that putting 10000 hours of effort over a certain skill can help one gain mastery. Longer the time spent will help people be better. The idea of deliberate practice is very important here.

What does Deliberate Practice is all about?

  1. A clearly defined stretch goal
  2. Full concentration and effort
  3. Immediate and informative feedback
  4. Repetition with reflection and refinement

Practice involves being consistent. Daily Rituals and Good habits are one of the most of essential traits of all successful, high achieving people and professionals.

c. Purpose :

Purpose is relatively abstract and it means different things to different people. Most of the achievers are pushed by the rich dividends that their enduring effort and success provide to people around them - immediate family and friends.

Parable of building bricklayers can be best explained to relate to the idea of purpose

  • Person 1: I’m laying bricks
  • Person 2: I’m building a church
  • Person 3: I’m building the house of God

Different perspective of the work and effort that we put elevates the purpose and make us more gritty

d. Hope

Grit depends on a different type of hope. It rests on the expectation that our own efforts can influence our future, resolving to a better tomorrow.It is not suffering that leads to hopelessness, it is the suffering that one think that they cannot control.

Optimists search for temporary and specific cause for suffering, while pessimists assume it to be permanent and pervasive and get into the victim mentality.

Growth mindset people believe that people can change if the right opportunities and support are provided. If one tries hard enough and belief that they can do do it. It has a lot to do with optimistic self-talk in the face of tough situations and challenges. Perseverance over Adversity. Growth mindset is all about updating one’s belief about intelligence and talent.

5. Growing Grit from Outside-IN

While Grit can be developed inside-out, few external stimuli can help us grow Grit. Some of the external factors that help to grow Grit - parents, coaches and highly productive work environment

For parents to grow grit in kids, it is important to teach kids to finish what was began. Once kids commit to something, the discipline to see through it till the end is vital, even if the experience is not entirely enjoyable. Parents must choose tough love yet avoid bullying.

Another way to grow grit is through extracurricular activities. Kids involved in atleast one or more extracurricular activities really shine well. Kids need to pick up one new skill every year and ensure they follow through to the end. Committing to atleast one activity helps. The idea of Hard Rule thing can also be enforced. Hard Rule Thing is all about committing to do something difficult and persisting with it without giving up in the middle. It is okay to quit, but not in the middle.

Grit also grows when people work in a great working environment that practices Grit. Drive to conform to the group is what drives people to do and be better. Surrounding oneself amidst a group of great people is one sure way to grow Grit. Culture has the power to shape our identity.

To sum it up, it is possible for all of us to grow Grit and it can be done Inside-Out and Outside-In. Talent is an important factor in achieving great success, but along with Talent, what is equally important is Grit - the powerful duo of passion and perseverance that helps us to see through till the end.