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Grit by Angela Duckworth - 3 Big Ideas

Updated: Mar 26, 2019

Transcription Below


This book was choc-full of achievement-centric concepts all seamlessly tied together and explained under the arch of grit, while throughout stopping at pit-stops for entertaining stories and anecdotes.

Quick Intro

This book is 352 pages hardcover and nine hours 22 minutes audible.

This book is described on Amazon as follows,

"Among Grit’s most valuable insights:

*Why any effort you make ultimately counts twice toward your goal *How grit can be learned, regardless of I.Q. or circumstances *How lifelong interest is triggered *How much of optimal practice is suffering and how much ecstasy *Which is better for your child—a warm embrace or high standards *The magic of the Hard Thing Rule

Winningly personal, insightful, and even life-changing, Grit is a book about what goes through your head when you fall down, and how that—not talent or luck—makes all the difference."

So, what are three things we can use from this book?

3 Things You Can Use

1. Effort

As much as talent counts, effort counts twice.

Did you ever notice, we like to "endorse the mystery of talent rather than the mundane of practice." We like to see professionals and think, wow, that person is talented. We assume, for the most part, that that person was born will a skill set that goes hand in hand with their profession. We don't naturally "entertain the idea that they earned their performance."

But, if you think about it, it makes sense for us to do that. We are wired for self-protection.

The implications of effort being the most important component that got them to where they are would mean that we have a lot of work to do if we want to strive for accomplishment. Inversely if we entertain the idea that we weren't born with that skill set, and they were successful because they were, we're off the hook.

Angela Duckworth has put together a theory, two equations, after over a decade of work in this field:

Talent x Effort = Skill

Skill x Effort = Achievement

So, "talent is how quickly your skills improve when you invest effort" and "achievement is when you take your acquired skills and use them."

"Without effort, talent is just potential" and effort counts twice. "Effort builds skill and at the very same time, effort makes skill productive."

If the top dogs in the professions only had talent, they wouldn't have gotten anywhere. They needed effort to both execute in their profession and to continuously improve grow their capability.

2. Grit Grows

"As people mature, their grit goes up"

Grit is not fixed, it is plastic. As we learn and our circumstances change, we change, and with most of us, we "become more conscientious, caring and calm with life experience."

"We figure out our life philosophy. We learn to dust ourselves off after rejection and disappointment. We learn to tell the difference between low-level goals, that should be abandoned quickly, and high-level goals, that demand more tenacity."

Grit is not fixed. Don't think to yourself that you don't usually stick to your diet or that you don't put in the sustained effort necessary for real achievement. Instead, realize that your effort and grit comes down to a few factors, that you are in control of, and that your grit score is hot, malleable and in your hands.

If you want achievement as part of your life, in whatever arena, it requires grit. And grit is something that comes with experience. So I say, if it's that easy, skip the experience and put together that the effort and the grit is worth it in the end and invest in your achievement now.

3. Interest

Being interested in what you do is pretty much a prerequisite for working doggedly on something, pursuing greatness by exploring the depths and the nuance and repeatedly revisiting the elements for more insight. And that's what people want, of course you want to follow your passion and your interest... but, it just hasn't come to you yet.

According to most of the top performers in their fields, who Angela Duckworth calls "grit paragons," interest doesn't just appear. They said they spent years exploring several different interests and that the interests that they did end up with required a depth of understanding first before they really clicked. "The eventual winning interest wasn't recognized as so on the first encounter."

What this is saying here is, generally, you ultimately cultivate an interest. Somethings can only become contenders after you stick with them through the initial stages and into the nuance and depth.

Our passions and interests are only apparent to us after experiences, not introspection. So the way to find what interests us is to go out and experience but to also stick with our choices long enough to discover their potentially hidden assets.

She makes it clear that "it's naive to think we can love every minute," but being interested in what you do doesn't ensure happiness, but it sure helps the odds.


Talent is only potential, effort counts twice, and without effort, there is no achievement.

Grit is malleable and is generally increasing as we become smarter, more experienced and more founded.

Interest is intrinsic but it takes experience and exploration to unearth it and then develop it.

She is a good writer and she tells good stories. She kept the book interesting.

There was also much more to it, including parenting and coaching tips, the fixed mindset versus the growth mindset, how to get the most out of practice and how, based on research, people with more grit are happier.

This NYTimes best selling book was a good read. The psychology books I've read before are usually very insightful, but far less entertaining. Angela Duckworth somehow pulled off combining the two. I recommend this book to anyone seeking to understand the fundamentals of achievement.

If you want to read this book, check it out below.

Thanks for reading/watching,

See you next week!

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Grit, by Angela Duckworth (Audible Version)

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Punching Sounds (in video) by: Mike Koenig

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