Grit by Angela Duckworth

Earlier this week I finished listening to the audiobook Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance by Angela Duckworth. This is a very thought provoking book with full of enthusiasm. Like many I have always admired talent too much in my childhood and youth, while at times I myself have been admired the same way. But I started having doubts on the importance of talent when I moved to USA and started observing my friends and colleagues. I was unable to put the idea much forward except a quote I frequently used – talent is overrated. I started admiring stubbornness than anything else. Reading this book, I now clearly can articulate what I developed as a hunch or gut feel. While talent is not useless, its the hard work, determination, passion, perseverance that matter most.

While this book should not be taken as a scientific work, the author tried to explain the concept developing couple of equations –

  • Talent multiplied by Effort = Skill
  • Skill multiplied by Effort = Achievement
  • In other words, I see it as Achievement = Talent multiplied by Effort squared

So you see, while talent has some force behind achievement, the effort is far more important (squared) to bring the ultimate result.

Key Take Aways

  • Grit is more important than talent for achieving success
  • Grit scale can quantify grit to predict success
  • To cultivate grit, it’s important to identify one’s passion
  • High achievers improve their skills through difficult deliberate practice
  • Gritty people feel that they have control over their fate and that hard work can change outcomes
  • In their parenting, adults should provide love, support and examples of passion and determination
  • Children’s extra-curricular activities encourage the development of grit
  • Gritty cultures and communities can create gritty individuals

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