As I listened to his podcast on my morning walk this week, Tim Ferriss reminded me about a book he recommended that I read a few years back. It is called The Lessons of History by Will and Ariel Durant. It condenses 10,000 years of history into about 120 pages. Tim said that when you look at that kind of snapshot, you realize we have been here before. Plagues, famines, wars. And we got through it. As we will again. Continue reading
I just read a study entitled: Grit: Perseverance and Passion for Long-Term Goals by Angela L. Duckworth University of Pennsylvania, Christopher Peterson University of Michigan, Michael D. Matthews and Dennis R. Kelly United States Military Academy, West Point.
In it, they share, “In a qualitative study of the development of world-class pianists, neurologists, swimmers, chess players, mathematicians, and sculptors, Bloom (1985) noted that “only a few of [the 120 talented individuals in the sample] were regarded as prodigies by teachers, parents, or experts” (p. 533). Rather, accomplished individuals worked day after day, for at least 10 or 15 years, to reach the top of their fields. Bloom observed that in every studied field, the general qualities possessed by high achievers included a strong interest in the particular field, a desire to reach “a high level of attainment” in that field, and a “willingness to put in great amounts of time and effort” (p. 544). Similarly, in her study of prodigies who later made significant contributions to their field, Winner (1996) concluded, “Creators must be able to persist in the face of difficulty and overcome the many obstacles in the way of creative discovery… Drive and energy in childhood are more predictive of success, if not creativity, than is IQ or some other more domain-specific ability” (p. 293).
Grit. I saw it in Michael Jordan on the basketball court. In J.K. Rowling as she wheeled her baby stroller into cafes to sit and write because the heat had been turned off in her apartment. In Oprah as she blazed a trail as a talk show host. In Barack Obama as he made history becoming president of the United States. In Edison as he failed 10,000 times while discovering the electric light bulb. In Terry Fox as he ran across Canada. In Malala as she spoke her truth.
It’s the effort. It’s the perseverance. It’s the passion. It’s the getting up when we fall.
We all have it inside. But we must choose to use it. The one thing all success stories have is grit.
What story will we write with ours?
I am currently doing a course called Positive Psychology: Character, Grit and Research Methods with Angela Duckworth out of University of Pennsylvania. One of the studies she facilitated was how self-discipline was a bigger predictor of academic success than IQ in Grade 8 students. Continue reading
Sometimes we think we are broken. We are sharp with our tongue, unlovable, unsuccessful, selfish and all the other words that may float around in the story in our heads.
The thing is, we are not broken. We are human. Carrying problems that are heavy. Trying to juggle all the things. It’s hard. And that makes us hard on ourselves.
As Glennon Doyle writes in her book Untamed, “If you are uncomfortable — in deep pain, angry, yearning, confused — you don’t have a problem, you have a life. Being human is not hard because you are doing it wrong, it’s hard because you are doing it right. You will never change the fact that being human is hard, so you must change your idea that it was ever supposed to be easy.”
It was never supposed to be easy. We are not broken or imperfect or a failure. We are beautiful souls becoming more of ourselves every single day. Do the hard things. But do not be hard on yourself. You are doing the best you can, and it is more than enough.