In the book Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance, author Angela Duckworth brings our attention to this lesser-known psychological trait called grit. Grit has two components: passion and perseverance. Passion means having enduring interest in the job you are doing. Perseverance means being persistent and never giving up. In the book, Duckworth shows how grit is important in understanding the psychology of achievement.
The Grit Scale, which measures an individual’s grit score, correctly predicted which cadets at West Point would pass the Beast Barracks, which National Spelling Bee participants would advance to the next rounds, and which sales people would be able to retain their jobs.
The book also discusses how talent gets overemphasized, whereas grit gets underemphasized. When we place more emphasis on talent, we ignore everything else, including effort. In a natural vs. striver situation, we are most likely to favor the naturally gifted person, thus leading to the naturalness bias. Duckworth argues that effort counts twice. A talent with no effort is just unmet potential. She shows that how, with the addition of effort, talent becomes skill, and skill when put to a productive use becomes achievement.
In order to help people cultivate a sense of passion and perseverance, the author introduces four psychological assets commonly found in the grittiest people: interest, practice, purpose, and hope. Interest and purpose are two sources of passion. Practice and hope help develop perseverance which nurtures the “never give up” attitude. This attitude, which helped cadets pass Beast at West Point, helps us follow what we have started through to the end.
Grit can be cultivated with the help of the four psychological assets or the people around us, our parents, teachers, mentors, etc. Certain parenting methods as well as extracurricular activities can also help our children become grittier.
Many people want to know the “big secret” that would either guide them to success or to the genius that lies behind big accomplishments. The author offers her readers exactly that. In her book, Duckworth states that passion and perseverance are what it takes for us to succeed. This does not mean that being gifted does not matter or that there is no value in success. This means that when the hard times come and when real tests and trials arrive, the only things that will keep us going are our passion for what we are doing and our will to persevere.
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