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1. Play comes before work.

In order to have grit, you first need something to be gritty about. Take time to explore your potential passions before choosing to commit to a calling. Find what you love to do; passion is what makes grit and resilience possible.

2. Embrace your failures as exciting challenges 

When Angela was an undergraduate at Harvard, she decided to take a neurobiology course even though it was slightly too advanced for her. When she started doing badly in tests and assignments, her advisor suggested that she drop the course to maintain a good transcript. She nodded, walked out, and made neurobiology her major.

She embraced her area of weakness as an opportunity for growth, leading her to ace her final and diversify her talents. If dealt with in the right way, failure can pave the way to exciting success.

3. Focus on specifics

When trying to improve your skills in a certain area to overcome a challenge, be specific with your goals, honing in on the exact ‘make or break’ of the situation. A difficult time or problem can help you find your Achilles heel. Once you have identified your specific weakness, you can direct your energy in the right direction.

4. Engage in deliberate practice

If you are working towards a specific goal and want to remain gritty, engage deeply in your preparation or practice. It is okay to work hard, but it is important to work smart. Engage in your task in new and different ways each time, challenging yourself in your preparation. Take time to reflect on the efficiency of each method of engagement, and how it is contributing to your success.

5. See failure as temporary

Angela’s studies showed that those who succeeded saw failure as a temporary setback, rather than a permanent loss. If you envision your long-term goals as ultimate priorities that you cannot abandon, you will develop resilience to small roadblocks along the way. You should be on a marathon to your goal, not a sprint; if you trip, you can easily get back on your feet.

6. Set stretch goals

Aim just further than what you think you can reach. If you have big dreams to work towards which require you to push yourself, your grit and resilience will kick in. Remember to have a positive attitude towards pushing yourself. You can be satisfied and proud of where you are while striving to do more.

7. Resist arrested development

Kaizen is a Japanese word, which means ‘continuous improvement’. During any task or challenge, most people reach a plateau phase that they struggle to overcome. They feel as if they cannot go further, that they have reached the limit of their potential. Angela advises her reader to aspire beyond his or her current level, no matter what that may be. A ‘persistent desire to do more’ is the key to success.

8. Find your true purpose

If you set yourself a goal that you really want to achieve, you will find your grit and resilience will flourish, even in the face of difficulty. Find the real reason you want to achieve a goal, even past the short-term aim. Digging deep will unearth your real source of motivation, which will carry you through.

9. Self-confidence

In the end, it all comes down to believing in yourself. Armed with the fundamental belief that you can push through any challenge, task, or setback, you can find success in anything you do.

  • Grit

  • Talent is overrated - learn what truly makes you succeed

    Angela Duckworth’s seminal work on why passion and perseverance matter more than anything

    Why do naturally talented people frequently fail to reach their potential while other far less gifted individuals go on to achieve amazing things? The secret to outstanding achievement is not talent, but a passionate persistence. In other words, grit.

    MacArthur Genius Award-winning psychologist Angela Duckworth shares fascinating new revelations about who succeeds in life and why. Based on her cutting-edge research, Duckworth shows how many people achieve remarkable things not just by relying on innate natural talent, but by practising what she calls grit. She then offers a Grit Formula to help anyone to become more gritty, focusing on six key factors: hope, effort, precision, passion, ritual and prioritisation. She reveals:

    - Why people who test high for talent often fail to achieve their potential, and why people who do not test high for talent often "overachieve" what others expect them to do
    - How grit can be learned, whatever your IQ or circumstances
    - Why stubbornness is a key characteristic of gritty people
    - When to be stubborn and when giving up is the grittiest thing you can do
    - How gritty people found their passion, and you can find yours
    - How gritty experts practise, and how you can do the same in your own life
    - What the people who care about you can do to boost your grit when you need it most
    - How grit is cultivated in the highest-performing sports teams, companies and schools

    Leaping past clichés such as 'success is all about hard work', Grit offers a fresh and motivating way to climb to heights far beyond what natural talent would predict.

  • Buy the book

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