Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance
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Read between September 24 - October 06, 2018
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they were satisfied being unsatisfied.
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was this combination of passion and perseverance that made high achievers special. In a word, they had grit.
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Our potential is one thing. What we do with it is quite another.
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“The plain fact remains that men the world over possess amounts of resource, which only very exceptional individuals push to their extremes of use.”
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The “naturalness bias” is a hidden prejudice against those who’ve achieved what they have because they worked for it, and a hidden preference for those whom we think arrived at their place in life because they’re naturally talented. We may not admit to others this bias for naturals; we may not even admit it to ourselves. But the bias is evident in the choices we make.
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talent x effort = skill
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skill x effort = achievement
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Staying on the treadmill is one thing, and I do think it’s related to staying true to our commitments even when we’re not comfortable. But getting back on the treadmill the next day, eager to try again, is in my view even more reflective of grit. Because when you don’t come back the next day—when you permanently turn your back on a commitment—your effort plummets to zero. As a consequence, your skills stop improving, and at the same time, you stop producing anything with whatever skills you have.
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Even more than the effort a gritty person puts in on a single day, what matters is that they wake up the next day, and the next, ready to get on that treadmill and keep going.
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At Cornell, he ended up majoring in philosophy, in part because “it was the easiest to fulfill the requirements.”
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Buffett takes him through three steps. First, you write down a list of twenty-five career goals. Second, you do some soul-searching and circle the five highest-priority goals. Just five. Third, you take a good hard look at the twenty goals you didn’t circle. These you avoid at all costs. They’re what distract you; they eat away time and energy, taking your eye from the goals that matter more.
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“Well, music and cooking—they’re both creative industries. I’m glad I went this way, but I think I could have been a musician instead.”
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passion for your work is a little bit of discovery, followed by a lot of development, and then a lifetime of deepening.
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The emotion of boredom is always self-conscious—you know it when you feel it—but when your attention is attracted to a new activity or experience, you may have very little reflective appreciation of what’s happening to you. This means that, at the start of a new endeavor, asking yourself nervously every few days whether you’ve found your passion is premature.
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For now, what I hope to convey is that experts and beginners have different motivational needs. At the start of an endeavor, we need encouragement and freedom to figure out what we enjoy. We need small wins. We need applause. Yes, we can handle a tincture of criticism and corrective feedback. Yes, we need to practice. But not too much and not too soon. Rush a beginner and you’ll bludgeon their budding interest. It’s very, very hard to get that back once you do.
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The problem with holding the latter fixed-mindset view—and many people who consider themselves talented do—is that no road is without bumps. Eventually, you’re going to hit one. At that point, having a fixed mind-set becomes a tremendous liability.
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This is when a C–, a rejection letter, a disappointing progress review at work, or any other setback can derail you. With a fixed mindset, you’re likely to interpret these setbacks as evidence that, after all, you don’t have “the right stuff”—you’re not good enough. With a growth mindset, you believe you can learn to do better.
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I’ve found that growth mindset and grit go together.
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In contrast, a growth mindset leads to optimistic ways of explaining adversity, and that, in turn, leads to perseverance and seeking out new challenges that will ultimately make you even stronger.
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“Anson, you’re the most confident person without any talent I’ve ever met.” To which Anson quickly replied, “Dad, I’m taking that as a compliment.”
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“talent is common; what you invest to develop that talent is the critical final measure of greatness.”
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Pete’s idol, basketball coach John Wooden, was fond of saying, “Success is never final; failure is never fatal. It’s courage that counts.”
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I wrote it because what we accomplish in the marathon of life depends tremendously on our grit—our passion and perseverance for long-term goals.
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Success—whether measured by who wins the National Spelling Bee, makes it through West Point, or leads the division in annual sales—is not the only thing you care about.
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Surely, you also want to be happy.
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You could also call them strengths of will, heart, and mind.