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?
Women have done some incredible things.
Marie Curie (1867-1934) was a physicist and scientist who discovered radium and was the first woman to win the Nobel Prize. Rosa Parks (1913-2005) was a civil rights activist who helped change the world by refusing to give up her seat on the bus. Margaret Thatcher (1925-2013) was the United Kingdom’s first female prime minister. Lord Byron’s daughter Ada Lovelace (1815-1852) was a mathematician who was also the first computer programmer. Sappho (570 BC) was the first known female writer and Plato said she was one of the ten greatest poets. Cleopatra (69BC-30BC) was the leader of Egypt when the Roman Empire was trying to take over. The patron saint of France, Joan of Arc (1412-1431) fought for France against the English and led them to a victory at Orleans when she was only 17 years old. Harriet Beecher Stowe (1811-1896) wrote the book Uncle Tom’s Cabin and was an anti-slavery advocate. Lincoln said her book was a catalyst for the American Civil War. Susan B. Anthony (1820-1906) fought for women’s rights and was a key player in the suffragette movement to get the vote for women. Continue reading
American writer and comedian Bryan Callen said, “I think you should try to slay dragons. I don’t care how big the opponent is. We read about and admire the people who did things that were basically considered to be impossible. That’s what makes the world a better place to live.”
That idea is what inspired me to write my book, The Treasure You Seek. People who failed countless times before they succeeded. People who overcame impossible odds. People who never gave up. Continue reading
In Ed Catmull’s book Creativity, Inc., he mentions that during the research phase for Pixar’s hit movie Inside Out, they learned from a neuroscientist that only 40 per cent of what we see comes from our eyes. The rest of the information is pulled from memory, patterns and experience. Continue reading
Oprah said it years ago. And author Rachel Hollis reminded me this week. About gratitude. Daily gratitude. And how it is a game-changer.
So as my kids prepare for the last day of school before summer, I am starting my own mini gratitude movement. Continue reading
Since I was young, I’ve heard the phrase, “the luck of the Irish.” Especially on March 17th for St. Patrick’s Day.
I’ve always felt very lucky in life, but I’ve also agreed with Oprah when she said, “I believe luck is preparation meeting opportunity. If you hadn’t been prepared when the opportunity came along, you wouldn’t have been lucky.” Continue reading
On this day in 399 BC, ancient Greek philosopher Socrates was sentenced to death. The charges were that he was corrupting the youth and did not believe in the gods of the time.
Socrates questioned the way things were and asked others to do the same. He was the father of debate and cross-examining ideas. He asked his students, including Plato, to think critically and scrutinize their lives. Not to believe what the world was telling them without thinking in through. He taught the idea that doing the right thing was more important than being a monetary success. That happiness comes from the journey, not the destination. Continue reading