I watched a TED Talk by actor Ethan Hawke entitled, “Give yourself permission to be creative.” He said you must ‘play the fool’ sometimes and be vulnerable. Go out on a limb. He caught the acting bug after his first stage performance at age 12 and he has been at it ever since. When he and his brother walked out of the movie Top Gun years ago, they were both so affected by the tale. It made Ethan want to tell stories as an actor and it made his brother want to join the military. They both followed those passions and were extremely successful with acting awards for Ethan and a decorated military career for his Green Beret brother. 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 watched one of my favourite movies with my kids this weekend. Dead Poets Society. I remember seeing it for the first time as a 16-year-old high school student and it made such an impact on me. Continue reading
I was listening to Ed Cooke, British author and memory expert, on the Tim Ferriss podcast and he said something really interesting. He was talking about merit. Society tells us that if someone works very hard and is paid good money for their efforts they are worthy of that success. They are worthy as a human being. Continue reading
I have been reading a lot lately and have come across the concept that skills lead to passion, not necessarily the other way around. Meaning you work on your skills and if you get really good at one of them, you will become passionate about it.
In order to do that, you have to try a number of skills on for size. You have to dip your toe in countless lakes. You have to take a chance on learning something that you haven’t tried before. Continue reading
The other day I heard about a Japanese concept called Ikigai. It means a reason for being.
Ikigai (pronounced ee-kee-gah-ee) means there are four things you should be looking for in life. What you love, what you are good at, what you can be paid for and what the world needs. Continue reading
When people think of Bill Gates, they often focus on the fact that he started Microsoft and is one of the wealthiest people in the world. And those things are true.
But he was also a kid with a passion for technology before the dawn of computers as we know them today. When he was a student at Harvard, he heard about the launch of the first personal computer called the MITS Altair. From his university room, he called the president of that company and said he had written the programming language for that computer and asked if the president would like to see it. The president said yes and booked a meeting. Continue reading
Author Tim Ferriss once said, “Conditions are never perfect. ‘Someday’ is a disease that will take your dreams to the grave with you. If it’s important to you and you want to do it ‘eventually,’ just do it and correct the course along the way.” Continue reading
Do you remember when you were young and you just loved doing something? You would lose yourself in it and time would fly by. It might have been putting on plays or building things or writing or making art. You did it because you loved it and you were able to focus on it because you had no other responsibilities. Continue reading