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Grit

The Power of Passion and Perseverance

By Angela Duckworth
15-minute read
Audio available
Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance by Angela Duckworth

Grit (2016) is about the elusive virtue that allows people to do what they love, find a purpose in life and, most importantly, stick with it long enough for them to truly flourish. Find out how you can discover your grit and use it to follow your calling in life – and to hang in there, even when the going gets tough.

  • Entrepreneurs who want to start a project and see it through to a successful end
  • Students and young adults seeking a vocation
  • Slackers who want to add some discipline to their life

Angela Duckworth is a psychology professor from Pennsylvania and the founder of the Character Lab, an institution that promotes the growth of grit in American culture. Her expertise has been called on by the White House and the World Bank as well as national sports teams and leading CEOs.

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Grit

The Power of Passion and Perseverance

By Angela Duckworth
  • Read in 15 minutes
  • Audio & text available
  • Contains 9 key ideas
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Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance by Angela Duckworth
Synopsis

Grit (2016) is about the elusive virtue that allows people to do what they love, find a purpose in life and, most importantly, stick with it long enough for them to truly flourish. Find out how you can discover your grit and use it to follow your calling in life – and to hang in there, even when the going gets tough.

Key idea 1 of 9

Even though we like to say that hard work is the key to success, we have a natural-talent bias.

Which quality do you think is more important in a mate: intelligence or good looks? How about in an employee – natural talent or a strong work ethic? In both these scenarios, we tend to deceive ourselves by answering against our natural instincts.

Several nation-wide surveys in the United States have asked the question, Which quality is more important for success: talent or hard work? Around 66 percent of respondents favored hard work, grit and determination. Hard work was the quality they claimed to look for when searching for a prospective employee.

And this opinion doesn’t just apply to the business world.

In 2011, psychologist Chia-Jung Tsay posed this question to musical experts, and an overwhelming majority said that practice and hard work is the key to success.

But, if we’re being honest with ourselves, what we truly believe is that talent trumps hard work.

In the same 2011 study, the musical experts were played two recordings and told that one was a naturally talented musician, while the other represented years of hard work.

While the experts had said they favored hard work, they overwhelmingly chose the naturally talented musician as being superior. But here’s the catch: the experts were played identical piano pieces by the same musician!

This kind of self-deception happens in the business world as well.

Tsay’s study also looked at the experiences of entrepreneurs and found that the hard-working ones required several years more experience and at least $40,000 more in start-up capital in order to compete against the naturally gifted.

More often than not, if a candidate is presented as having a natural talent for connecting with people, they’ll be considered more valuable than someone who has worked hard to build up a network of colleagues.

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