Day 5 – Everyone should read

„As much as talent counts, effort counts twice.“

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In „Grit – The Power of Passion and Perseverance“Angela Duckworth, University of Pennsylvania psychology professor argues that the secret to success — whether for parents, students, educators, athletes, or business people — is not talent, but a combination of passion and perseverance she calls “grit.”

The dictionary defines “grit” as “mental toughness or courage.”

The book was such an eye-opener for me and I have used her TED Talk and parts of the book a lot in my Leadership trainings and have given the book as a present a couple of times. It was such a paradigm shift for me.

Having grown-up in an environment that placed so much emphasis on natural intelligence and talents, I was taught in school to always stick to what I’m immediately good at, avoid failure at all costs, because failure is just so bad. The whole spiel of the closed versus a growth mindset.

Based on my experience and of those around me, I realized this kind of thinking was detrimental to our development and luckily I’ve learned that people are so much more adaptable and can achieve so much more when they simply try harder and they believe they can make it, which is the opposite of what I’ve been taught to believe. Ironically, the easiest way to fail is to actually not to try because you are scared of failing.

In Grit, Angela makes clear that talent exists (defining talent as the rate in which a person learns with effort), but argues that „a focus on talent distracts us from something that is at least as important, and that is effort“. Also, Angela values the cultivation of other character strengths to be happy and successful in live like humility, kindness, social intelligence etc.

“Our potential is one thing. What we do with it is quite another.” 

I love „Grit“. It’s so informative, clear and very well written. I especially liked the fact that there was a chapter in her book that took note of the fact that a lot of children grow up in very very difficult circumstances which makes it a lot harder for them.

If you are hungry at school, scared of violence at home your priorities are just plainly somewhere else and these kids most probably are not encouraged by their parents to enroll in team sports, or to learn an instrument etc.

The most important thing to overcome poverty in the world is to give children a decent upbringing. This book has touched me in so many ways and helping kids from uneducated and/or poor backgrounds is one goal in life I have not yet reached. I will use all the Grit I have in make it happen.

“…there are no shortcuts to excellence. Developing real expertise, figuring out really hard problems, it all takes time―longer than most people imagine….you’ve got to apply those skills and produce goods or services that are valuable to people….Grit is about working on something you care about so much that you’re willing to stay loyal to it…it’s doing what you love, but not just falling in love―staying in love.” 

Here is Angela’s TED Talk on „Grit“:

Which book do you think everybody should read?

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