Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance by Angela Duckworth

Summary
  1. No matter the domain, the highly successful have a kind of ferocious determination that plays out in two ways. First, these exemplars were unusually resilient and hardworking. Second, they knew in a very, very deep way what it was they wanted. They not only had determination, they had direction. It is a combination of passion and perseverance that makes high achievers special. In a word, they have grit
Key Takeaways
  1. How talented somebody is has no relation to their level of grit. “Our potential is one thing. What we do with it is quite another.”
  2. The Grit Scale measures somebody’s grit and is incredibly predictive of who will stay in a job and persevere, more so than extroversion, emotional stability and conscientiousness
  3. Those who defy the odds are especially gritty
  4. What we say we care about may not correspond to how we truly feel – people say they prefer hard workers but most people honestly prefer “naturals”
  5. Focusing on talent is dangerous as it detracts from the importance effort has regardless of outcome
  6. “Greatness is many, many individual feats and each one of them is doable.”
  7. On people’s predisposition to like “magic” – Nietzsche “With everything perfect, we do not ask how it came to be. Instead, we rejoice in the present fact as though it came out of the ground by magic.” – we prefer mystery to the mundane. Mythologizing natural talent lets us all off the hook
  8. Talent x effort = skill. Skill x effort = achievement
  9. To do anything really well you have to overextend yourself
  10. Life is a marathon. Consistency of effort is everything. Grit is more about stamina than intensity
  11. Grit has two components – passion (consistency over time towards a goal rather than intensity) and perseverance
  12. Enthusiasm is common. Endurance is rare
  13. Example of the importance of having a life philosophy from book but for me – Learning, building something worthwhile, spending and cultivating quality relationships with quality people is what makes me happy. I’ve made up my mind what I want to do. I’m happy when I’m doing any of these things so I only do things that help me be happy. – “The more unified, aligned and coordinated your goal hierarchies are, the better.”
  14. It is important to figure out what your top level goals are and avoid lower level goals at all costs as these are the distractions
  15. Grit, like any other characteristic, is a function of our genes and our experiences
  16. Social multiplier effect – small environmental or genetic differences can trigger a virtuous cycle which are multiplied socially, through culture, because each of us enriches the environment of all of us
  17. Older people rated grittier and this may be because people develop the capacity for long-term passion and perseverance as we get older because of life experiences
  18. Lectures don’t have half the effect of consequences
  19. Four key characteristics which gritty people have in spades but are developed over time – interest (intrinsically enjoying what you do, comes about through discovery, development and deepening), capacity for focused, deliberate practice (zeroing in on your weaknesses, to be gritty is to resist complacency), purpose (deeply believe that your work matters), and hope (rising-to-the-occasion kind of perseverance),
  20. Gritty people engaged in more deliberate practice and experience more flow. Deliberate practice is for preparation and flow is for performance
    1. Deliberate practice – a clearly defined stretch goal; full concentration and effort; immediate and informative feedback; repetition with reflection and refinement
    2. Routines are a godsend when trying to accomplish something hard. Schedule a place and time for deliberate practice
  21. Grittier people are dramatically more motivated than others to seek a meaningful, other-centered life. Purpose is a tremendously powerful source of motivation
  22. “Fortunate indeed are those who have a top-level goal so consequential to the world that it imbues everything they do, no matter how small or tedious, with significance.”
  23. Job crafting – adding, delegating or somehow customizing your work so that it better aligns with your interests and values
  24. Hopelessness stems from suffering you think you can’t control
  25. Optimists habitually search for temporary and specific causes to their suffering whereas pessimist assume permanent and pervasive causes are to blame
  26. A growth mindset, believing you can improve and nothing is fixed, is highly correlated with grit
  27. Overcoming a potent experience at a young age changes the way you deal with adversity later on
  28. Demanding yet respectful, supportive and loving parenting the best method for raising gritty, happy and successful children. Children must feel unconditional love but know that only their best effort is expected
  29. Young children thrive and learn a lot of life lessons from structured extracurricular activities which are difficult and interest them
  30. Hard Thing Rule – everybody in the family must have something of their choosing that they are working deliberately on improving
  31. The people and culture we surround ourselves with help from our identity and it is from this combination that we can really enhance our grit
  32. The origin of great leadership begins with the respect of the commander for his subordinates
What I got out of it
  1. Interesting read on the importance of grit (passion and perseverance over the long-term) in success. Demanding, supporting and loving parents/coaches are incredibly important to developing grit in young kids