Nov. 17, 2019

Grit by Angela Duckworth: How to dig in and get more done

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About the author

Angela Duckworth is co-founder and CEO of Character Lab, a nonprofit that use spsychological science to help children thrive. She is also a professor of psychology at the University of Pennsylvania and in 2013 was named a MacArthur Fellow. Prior to her career in research, she was a math and science teacher in the public schools of New York City, San Francisco, and Philadelphia. Angela shares research-backed advice for parents and teachers in her Thought of the Week.


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About the book

In this instant New York Times bestseller, pioneering psychologist Angela Duckworth shows anyone striving to succeed—be it parents, students, educators, athletes, or business people—that the secret to outstanding achievement is not talent but a special blend of passion and persistence she calls “grit.”

Why do some people succeed and others fail? Sharing new insights from her landmark research, Angela explains why talent is hardly a guarantor of success. Angela has found that grit—a combination of passion and perseverance for a singularly important goal—is the hallmark of high achievers in every domain. She’s also found scientific evidence that grit can grow.

Winningly personal, insightful, and even life-changing, Grit is a book about what goes through your head when you fall down, and how that—not talent or luck—makes all the difference.



Find out how gritty you are here:
Watch Angela’s TED talk here:

Read an excerpt of Grit here:


BIG IDEA 1 (6:27) – Effort counts twice.

Without effort talent is just unmet potential and without effort, skill is what you could have done but didn’t. Effort is the multiplier that opens up your talent, potential and skill. There’s a formula in the book that says skill x effort = achievement.

The effort is grit and grit is a combination of passion and perseverance. Angela talks about the idea that your overall goal (which is the one thing you are gritty about) is fixed but how you get there is fluid.  

How you get to your goal can be a bit experimental; trying out different things on how to get there. This means that talent is overrated and over romanticised. We often look up to people who we think have innate talents, however a lot of the time it’s actually talent that has been realised through the application of effort and grit.

BIG IDEA 2 (8:22) – Foster interest over passion.

A lot of people say ‘follow your passion’ however not everyone knows what they’re passionate about. And just because you love something doesn’t necessarily mean you’re good at it or that you will be the best in that field. 

What we need to do is to find what interests us and foster that. Interest is also not found through reflection, it is triggered by interaction with the outside world through discovery – and this can be messy. 

Before hard work comes into play, you need to find first that thing you will enjoy and will keep you interested. This is how grit is maintained, through curiosity and finding the answers to more questions.  

Passion is not like a firework going off, it’s like a smoldering fire that just keeps burning over time and continues to linger.  If you are worried that you don’t feel this burning passion inside you, unlike those you follow on Instagram or business people you read about, all of them didn’t have at first either. they just started by getting interested in something and see how that goes. 

To be gritty at something you need to find something you’re interested in which may take several attempts. A lot of people who were successful in their fields, whether its research, science, sports or business, have been through this process. 

BIG IDEA 3 (13:17) – get gritty.

Dan Chambliss who studies Olympic swimmers said that the real way to become a great swimmer is to join a great team. You need to find a culture of grit where you only have to conform. Being gritty on your own is very hard. 

By joining a gritty team you will start to do what everyone else is doing. This requires communication within the team around how do we maintain grit as a team. 

They found out that grittier people have higher life satisfaction and self-control. Grit requires the ability to be uncomfortable because you have to stick through things that aren’t fun and you may not be making any progress for a period of time. This talks around the idea of being able to resist temptation to relieve yourself of the discomfort.

Grit also is about focusing on improving and not just doing things you’re already good at. Deliberate practice is the act of working on things you’re not good at and involves setting a stretch goal, practice, feedback and reflection (and then repeat, over and over and over again…).

Click here to buy on The Book Depository

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