Got grit?

 Grit is that ‘extra something’ that separates the most successful people from the rest. It’s the passion, perseverance, and stamina that we must channel in order to stick with our dreams until they become a reality. ~Travis Bradberry

 Those who have grit have the commitment to finish what they start, to rise above setbacks, want to improve and succeed, and often undertake sustained and sometimes unpleasant practice or tasks in order to do so.

Why do some of us have more grit than others? Can you teach grit? Or is grit genetic?  How much grit do you have and do you know where yours comes from?  You probably do know if you apply Angela Duckworth’s ‘hard thing rule‘ to your life and with your family.

In a recent newsletter Dan Pink shared an interview he completed with Angela Duckworth about her new book Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance.  Grit research is the brainchild of Angela Duckworth, a professor of psychology at the University of Pennsylvania, winner of a MacArthur “genius” grant, and founder and co-director of Character Lab

Here is his excerpt from Dan’s newsletter:


This week Angela is publishing a book on the topic titled — you got it — Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance (Buy it at, or IndieBound). I had a chance to read the manuscript awhile back — and it’s one of the smartest, most compelling non-fiction books I’ve read in years. Mark my words: People are going to be reading and talking about this book for a long, long time. 

I asked Angela to be our latest participant in 4Q4 — our semi-regular feature in which I ask authors four questions about their books, the same four questions every time.

1. Angela, what’s the big idea?

Talent is one thing; what you do with it is another. We admire “naturals” – people we think have succeeded because of their innate ability. But as much as talent counts, effort counts twice. Grit is passion and perseverance for long-term goals—and it is what turns talent into skill, and skill into achievement.

2. How do you know?

The idea that the last mile is the hardest has been around for all eternity. What’s new is the science. I’ve studied grit in all sorts of settings, from West Point to the National Spelling Bee, in urban high school students, sales representatives, and professional athletes — and I now have an understanding of the roots of passion and perseverance. My advice on grit is based on this research.

3. Why should we care?

Every one of us is ambitious. We want to be our best selves. We want to be proud of what we’ve accomplished. We want to solve problems and help people. Too often, we don’t realize those ambitions because we don’t finish what we start. I believe that by emulating the beliefs and habits of exemplars of grit—I call them grit paragons—we can cultivate our own passion and perseverance.

4. What should I do?

There’s lots of advice in the book, but here are three ideas to get you started:

    1.  Take the Grit Scale to see how gritty you are right now.

    2.   If you’re a parent, try to be both supportive and demanding. (Being supportive without high standards is too permissive. Being demanding without offering support is too authoritarian).

    3.   Learn from grit paragons.  Watch how they pursue their interests, how they practice, and how they maintain a sense of purpose. 

More: Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance

To your highest purpose and best startup self, friends.

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