I just finished reading, “Grit to Great” by Linda Kaplan Thaler & Robin Koval. Outstanding resource for any of you wanting to grow or advance anything you oversee in your life. Be challenged, and consider being coached before you give up on a passion of yours in life. Sometimes we give up way to early. Note: As a Christian the principles I've read in this book, and seek to apply, are all for the glory of God. Otherwise? For me, it would all be in vain! Here’s the synopsis…
Why Grit Matters — How do you catch up in the game of life when you aren’t blessed with perfect scores on your SAT, an Ivy League education, or a family fortune to give you a head start?
Passion and perseverance matter more than intelligence when it comes to being successful. The endgame belongs to the truly diligent, not the merely talented. It belongs to those who have grit.
Grit is about sweat, not swagger. It’s about character, not charisma. The great thing about grit is that working harder, smarter, more passionately, and longer is something we control. It is attainable.
The Talent Myth — Achievement in any field takes a huge degree of effort and hard work, not to mention plenty of caffeine. Talent alone is overrated. Without putting
in the required hard work and sweat equity, talent is nothing more than a great masterpiece unpainted, a sonata unwritten, a scientific breakthrough undiscovered, an invention unrealized.
Ditch the Dream — Too often “following your dream” has taken the place of more attainable aspirations: setting your sights on a goal, formulating a plan, charting
a path, steadily working your way forward from milepost to milepost. While the dreamers are still sleeping, the doers are taking victory laps because they had the sense to wake up and get to work.
Visualization can actually be more detrimental than useful when it comes to realizing goals. Researchers have found that the fantasy gives us a feel-good buzz that robs us of the motivation to get o our butts and do the work required to achieve the real thing.
Lose the Safety Net — Performing without a safety net to Nik Wallenda is more of an assertion that he is in control than a scary reminder of what could happen.
The fear most of us face in our daily lives falls far short of plummeting to the bottom of the Grand Canyon, yet we routinely rig our lives with the kinds of safety nets that would suggest otherwise. If you wait to act in a situation until it’s risk-free, what you’re really risking is a lifetime frozen at the starting line.
Get into Wait Training — In the space between effort and achievement is the waiting: tedious practice, endless repetition, training, and rehearsals.
As excited as you were when you began this endeavor about competing on race day or imagining yourself receiving your diploma on graduation day, it often seems harder and harder to stay the course. You become more inclined to reach for a bag of Cheetos rather than your running shoes or to turn on Game of Thrones rather than crack your textbook. Why does that happen for so many of us despite our best intentions? It’s not because we’re incapable. It’s because it’s hard work.
Bend like Bamboo — The ability to turn enormous obstacles around is less about having the strength of a sturdy oak and more about having the flexibility of a slim stalk of bamboo that will sway even in the gentlest breeze. Yet bamboo will often be the only thing standing after a typhoon.
Flexibility and adaptability are essential elements of grit. Innovation and change are accelerating at a pace never before seen. Business plans are no longer written for the next five years. How we react when faced with a shifting landscape is affected to a large degree by our sense of grit.
No Expiration Date — Most of the cognitive limits we think we face as we age are self-imposed. The brain is like a muscle that, with exercise, becomes stronger. And its plasticity and growth are fueled by learning new tasks and taking on new challenges. It’s only when we don’t use our intellect that it begins to waste away.
If we are willing to put in the work, the truth is that almost any goal at about any age is within our reach. The fact is we live longer today than ever before in human history. So why not use our capacity and our grit to fulfill not just one goal but perhaps several over a lifetime?
Grit for Good — What it takes to make the world a better place requires a great deal of hard work—long hours, little or no pay, sometimes toiling in harsh environments at great risk with little measurable success in sight.
Grit is the great equalizer because anyone, at any time, whatever their background or resources, can lay claim to it. It’s been proven time and again that those individuals who relentlessly and passionately summon their inner fortitude when things get tough or scary, those who tirelessly turn defeat into victory thanks to their resilience, those who turn roadblocks into initiatives and hold on with the fierce tenacity of a mother tiger to her cubs are the true winners in life.
So what are you waiting for?
Outweigh, Outrun . . . or Outsmart
. . . on the African savanna, where thirteen-year-old Richard Turere was devastated to discover that lions had killed his family’s bull. What could prevent another such attack? When the Masai boy patrolled the cattle pasture at night in an effort to keep the herd safe he noticed the prowling lions were scared off by the bouncing beam of his flashlight as he walked. Tinkering with scavenged solar-charging cells and flashlight parts, he created a “lions light” fence that effectively keeps the predators away. The moral of this story? You don’t have to outweigh or outrun opponents if you can outsmart them.
Failure is Part of Progress
. . . James Dyson. Dyson failed more than 5,000 times as he struggled to create his first Dual Cyclone vacuum cleaner. He finally brought it to market in 1993, fifteen years after his initial effort. The British inventor has since been knighted and runs a multibillion-dollar company known for its innovative and forward-thinking designs. He claims that failure is “part of making progress. You never learn from success, but you do learn from failure. [When I created the Dual Cyclone vacuum], I started out with a simple idea, and by the end, it got more audacious and interesting. I got to a place I never could have imagined because I learned what worked and didn’t work.”With each failure his idea was reshaped and reborn and, ultimately, evolved into a brilliant, groundbreaking invention.
One of the most fascinating studies on the nature of talent was led by psychologist Lewis Terman, one of the founders of the standard IQ test. Terman was convinced that child prodigies were destined to lead the country, so in the 1920s he set about identifying them. Terman’s project would end up tracking 1,500 children identified as geniuses based on IQ tests over the course of their entire lifetimes. His subjects were nicknamed the “Termites.” The Termites were super-achievers by most traditional measures of success. Most graduated from college several years ahead of their non-gifted peers and landed professional jobs in greater numbers, which meant, of course, that they earned bigger salaries. But not all of the child geniuses were success stories. Some couldn’t hold jobs at all. Others struggled with substance abuse. Twenty-two committed suicide.
And not a single one achieved the fame or made the outsize contributions to society that Terman had predicted. Innate intelligence or talent may have afforded them an early advantage in life and career, but it afforded no guarantees. As it turned out, two of the students Terman had passed over for his study because they didn’t quite measure up went on to win Nobel Prizes. Not a single Termite did.
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