The “Secret Sauce” of Success

Posted: March 14, 2013 in career
Tags: , , , , , ,

I was introduced to this “secret” while listening to an interview with Dan Pink on his manga masterpiece The Adventures of Johnny Bunko. As Dan was recounting the key lessons learned by Johnny through that winsome sprite Diana (no spoilers here, you need to get and read this book!), he introduce me to Rule #4 – Persistence Trumps Talent. Dan went on to describe how the world was littered with competent, talented people who never realized their potential because they simply gave up, while others pressed on (perhaps even with less ability) to excellence.

Enter Angela Duckworth, professor at the University of Pennsylvania, and her research on a Imagepersonality trait she calls “grit.” She describes grit as “sticking with things over the very long term until you master them.” In one paper, she noted that “the gritty individual approaches achievement as a marathon; his or her advantage is stamina.”

Her research showed that the West Point cadet’s grit score was the best predictor of success in the rigorous summer training program known as “Beast Barracks.” It eclipsed more obvious traits such as intelligence, leadership ability or even physical fitness. In another example, the grittiest contestants at the Scripps National Spelling Bee were mostly likely to advance at least in part because they studied longer, not because they were smarter or even were better spellers!

As a marathon runner, this reminds me the anonymous paraphrase of Ecclesiastes 9:11 – The race is not always to the swift, but to those who keep on running.

How about you? Do you, like Marshall Rooster Cogburn, possess “True Grit?!”

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Comments
  1. Eileen says:

    I love the idea of “grit”, I think it is sorely lacking today.It has unfortunately been replaced by anxiety and the notion that life should be low risk and high reward. I have to say that attending college part time for nearly 10 years would qualify me as having “grit”

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