Essay: Grit, the key to outstanding achievements

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Do not be afraid to fail. The mustard seeds of failures teach valuable lessons and great successes are born from them.

And remember...

"Because of the littleness of your faith; for truly I say to you, if you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there,' and it will move; and nothing will be impossible to you." - Jesus

True grit and great successes

Harvard researcher Angela Duckworth isolated two key factors she believes are important for high-challenge achievement: self-discipline as far as not abandoning tasks merely for the sake of novelty and the ability to persist in face of adversities.
Intrigued by what qualities would most accurately predict outstanding achievement, Harvard researcher Angela Duckworth picked up where Walter Mischel left off. ...Duckworth found that self-control is an excellent predictor of your ability to follow through on certain types of difficult tasks — staying on your diet, studying for a test, not checking your email — but it’s not the most important factor when it comes to predicting success at “extremely high-challenge achievement.”

...Duckworth isolated two qualities that she thought might be a better predictor of outstanding achievement:

1. The tendency not to abandon tasks from mere changeability. Not seeking something because of novelty. Not “looking for a change.”

2. The tendency not to abandon tasks in the face of obstacles. Perseverance, tenacity, doggedness.[1]

According to the Character Lab, being gritty means

1. Finishing what you begin.

2. Staying committed to your goals.

3. Working hard even after experiencing failure or when you feel like quitting.

4. Sticking with a project or activity for more than a few weeks.[2]


How to grow grit?

1. Cultivate a growth mindset and optimism.

2. Challenge yourself in your practice.

3. Stay passionate about your purpose.

4. Know when you have achieved your maximum potential in an area and are not quitting due to frustration.[3]

Desire for excellence, repetitive failing, analysis and corrective actions: A key to great success

Those who achieve great success: operate outside their comfort zone and study themselves failing; set role models; zealously seek feedback; and treat what they do as a science and are willing to experiment. Like Olympic athletes their motto is: faster, stronger, higher.
What separates those who accomplish outstanding feats from those who don’t? According to author and researcher Joshua Foer, it’s the dedication and willpower to doggedly push beyond the “OK Plateau.” When most of us learn a new skill, we work to get just “good enough” and then we go on autopilot.

We hit what Foer calls the “OK Plateau,” where we have gained sufficient skills for our needs; at which point, we stop pushing ourselves. But experts – those who excel beyond all others in their fields – do it differently. Foer identified four principles that he saw the experts using to remain alert and to keep learning:

1. Experts tend to operate outside their comfort zone and study themselves failing.

2. Experts will try to walk in the shoes of someone who’s more competent than them.

3. Experts crave and thrive on immediate and constant feedback.

4. Experts treat what they do like a science. They collect data, they analyze data, they create theories, and they test them.

In essence, those who excel beyond the pack are pushing themselves continually so that they are never on autopilot. As Foer posits in the last point, there are very much like scientists in a lab – constantly reflecting on the data, formulating new hypotheses, testing them, and then analyzing the outcome.[4]

Seth Godin on failing

"But what if I fail?"

You will.

The answer to the what if question is, you will.

A better question might be, "after I fail, what then?"

Well, if you've chosen well, after you fail you will be one step closer to succeeding, you will be wiser and stronger and you almost certainly will be more respected by all of those that are afraid to try.[5] - Seth Godin

External links on grit/persistence

Importance of Grit:

Grit factors:

Relationship between Grit and self-control:

Relationship between grit, self-control and engaging in limiting behaviors:

Developing Grit:

Books related to Grit:

Resiliency

External links on overcoming fear of failure and avoiding unnecessary failures

Notes