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?
Seventy three years ago this week was D-Day. On June 6, 1944 allied troops landed on a beach in Normandy to fight for our freedom. This was the beginning of the end of World War II. There were 10,000 allied casualties that day including 4,414 who died. Continue reading
This week I had the pleasure of speaking to a grade ten careers class. I spoke to the students about finding your passion, having grit, famous failures and doing what you love. Continue reading
I saw a quote the other day that seemed to fit with the times. L.R. Knost, award-winning author and independent child development researcher, said, “Do not be dismayed by the brokenness of the world. All things break. And all things can be mended. Not with time, as they say, but with intention. So go. Love intentionally, extravagantly, unconditionally. The broken world waits in darkness for the light that is you.”
It is so easy to feel discouraged when things seem out of control or aren’t going the way we had planned. But we have to remind ourselves that we are in the driver’s seat. As President Barack Obama once said, “We are the ones we’ve been waiting for.” Continue reading
This past weekend, Women’s Marches were organized in cities across the world. Boston, Chicago, Washington, New York, Los Angeles, Toronto, Vancouver, Paris, London and so many more. It was the U.S. President’s first full day in office. Each person had their own reason for marching, and no one had any idea how many people would join in. There ended up being about 600 marches worldwide and millions of people showed up with signs and passion and peace. No one was arrested. No violence erupted. Some say it was the largest day of demonstrations in American history. Talk about bringing the people together. Continue reading
Today is Inauguration Day for the 45th President of the United States. It’s the day the torch is passed to the next leader. A fellow human being will take an oath to protect a global superpower. It is an awe-inspiring undertaking.
No matter what you think of the next president, or whether he is the candidate you would have chosen, he starts his job today. Continue reading