Grit- Perseverance and discipline

I’m not a big fan of people like Tim Robinson and self help gurus who extol the virtues of positive thinking… this who idea that all you need to is have a positive mindset and good things will happen to you. this kind of misguided belief that all thats needed to succeed is a lot of chatter, a good idea and a yoga mat full of happy thoughts.

Its not that i’m against positive thinking or even motivational self-help. its more that, that’s simply not enough. I have have all the happy motivational thoughts in the world, but if i don’t lift a finger, nothing will happen.

Even the most positive mindset won’t help you balance your budget or negotiate that critical deal.  For me, all the chest-thumping and back slapping simply does is serve as a circle-jerk of self-praise, to be honest, i’d rather be getting that line of code finished, polishing off that power point, getting that contract signed, balancing out that spreadsheet. The biggest ‘self-help’ i can have, is when what i worked on actually succeeded… anything else, is simply premature celebration.

Which brings me to my key point. Work is work, its not meant to be a walk in the park, its not meant to be fun and games, its work, its hard, its tough, you have to suffer through it, sure HOW you endure has a part to play, but basically, work is work. Success at work comes from luck, smarts but most importantly that ability to DO, and get shit done, and, the ability to get shit done even when the going gets tough, that perseverance is crucial to success, its that doggedness that allows you to micro-focus and simply put one foot in front of the other and chip away at a problem until you get a solution. Ultimately isn’t’ that what business is? a series of problems of varying complexity?

For me, i believe the ability to persevere comes from discipline, discipline being that mental conditioning that ensure that you follow through on a plan, i view discipline as a form of extreme responsibility, its a sense of duty that ultimately defines a person, you take personal responsibility to ensure  your duty is done, to the expected standard, not because you’re asked, but because thats what you expect from yourself. you have your own standards and goals, these form the foundation of duty, which forms the basis for discipline. Perseverance is the result of this, its the outcome of having a sense of duty. You’ll only persevere at things you care about, and when the going gets really tough, what will keep you persevering is that sense of duty to your beliefs. In other words duty forms discipline which results in perseverance, and this is what we define as the trait ‘grit’.

According to psychologist Angela Duckworth, the secret to outstanding achievement isn’t talent. Instead, it’s a special blend of persistence and passion that she calls “grit.”

Being gritty, according to Duckworth, is the ability to persevere. It’s about being unusually resilient and hardworking, so much so that you’re willing to continue on in the face of difficulties, obstacles and even failures. It’s about being constantly driven to improve.

In addition to perseverance, being gritty is also about being passionate about something. For the highly successful, Duckworth found that the journey was just as important as the end result. “Even if some of the things they had to do were boring, or frustrating, or even painful, they wouldn’t dream of giving up. Their passion was enduring.”

Duckworth even came up with two equations she uses to explain this concept:

• Talent x effort = skill

• Skill x effort = achievement

“Talent is how quickly your skills improve when you invest effort. Achievement is what happens when you take your acquired skills and use them,” Duckworth explained.

(From this forbes article)

In Summary, stop chest thumping and back slapping, go out and start doing, develop grit and get shit done.

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