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Notes on Grit

I recently finished reading Grit these are the notes from my follow up.

After a couple of weeks of letting the information settle, I'm going to highlight the key points.

Overview

Getting inspired to work hard is where it all starts.

  • We are always told that we should persevere
  • Deep down we know it is talent that creates success
  • This is misguided thinking
  • Talent is overrated the real heros are gritty and determined

People have a natural talent bias

  • Despite what people say ( 66% of employers surveyed preferred work ethic over raw talent ) studies suggest we tend to favour talent
  • 2011 study where experts were played two recordings of a hight level piano player, they are told one was a musically gifted person and the other is a professional.
  • The experts overwhelmingly choose the "gifted" recording as being better despite them both being the same.
  • This attitude is shown to be across a number of industries and studies.

Effort is worth twice as much as talent ( as the untalented often find out )

  • Equation to determine skill: Talent * Effort = Skill
  • Equation to determine results: Skill * Effort = Achievement
  • Athletics is a good example: Effort is normally the deciding factor in high level competition
  • Case study of John Irving a dyslexic writer who won the National Book Award in 1978 for The World According to Garp.

With everything perfect, we do not ask how it came to be. ~ Nietzsche


By creating low-level goals, you can realise long term ones

  • Conventional wisdom suggest that we should do what we love
  • It is actually more important to be committed to what you love
  • Give yourself small daily duties to keep the dream alive
  • These as stepping stones on the path to achieving a long term goal
  • Many people set high-level goals, this is a good start but can distract from setting low-level ones.
  • Without handling the low-level goals the higher ones can never be achieved
  • Be loyal to your long term goal

Choose work that is of interest

  • 2014 Gallup poll showed 2/3 of American workers felt unmotivated at work
  • Interest is the main ingredient to motivation
  • Play to your strengths and aim for work that is appealing to your natural inclinations
  • There are many potential opportunities to be successful
  • It is important to stay 'with it' in order to get the most from it

Be smart about how you practice to avoid going through the motions

  • Working hard != working smart
  • Practice intelligently
  • Practice always adds to skill
  • Practicing intelligently has the biggest impact
  • Practice with targets that are slightly ahead of current comfort zone
  • Reflect on what needs improvement and start practicing smart

Finding purpose is much easier to find than a calling

  • Doing things we don't like is inevitable
  • Procastination is natural
  • Find purpose to avoid procastination
  • Motivation is easy if you love what you are doing but realising that the work has meaning can be just as motivating
  • Finding purpose leads to contentment
  • If your current work is not your calling then see it as a facilitator to reaching the bigger goal

Teachers, parents and leaders can foster grit

  • Children often end up getting bad advice,especially when told that are not smart enough or that they are wasting their time working at something
  • Encourage hard work
  • Skill can be achieved through hard work
  • Schools reward talent not hard work
  • "You're a learner, I love that" is better than "You're a natural I love that"

Children have never been very good at listening to their elders, but they have never failed to imitate them.


Grit is valued in many sucessful businesses and societies

  • In Finland grit is a valued attribute
  • sisu is the Finnish word for grit, which refers to quality of perseverance that has become to Finnish culture
  • sisu is learned and not an innate quality
  • grit can be instilled as well as learned

Encourage others to stand up and succeed in the face of adversity by providing them with motivation, a sense of purpose and clearly defined goals.


Key Takeaway

Do something you love, there will always be rough patches. Hard work can lead to procrastination and doubt, this is where grit plays its most important role.Determination and resolve can provide the motivation to keep working towards your goals. Give yourself a challenge and practice grit.