Grit by Angela Duckworth
I have wanted this book ever since I watched the author’s TED Talk on the subject of grit.
If you’ve never heard of this book before, I highly recommend that you watch the YouTube video replay as this will help to give you an idea into some of the research included in the book.
What is Grit?
When someone has grit, it means that they won’t give up easily. It would take an awful lot for a gritty person to quit or to stop trying.
Bring gritty allows a person to take on a lot of challenges, face a lot of adversity and hold on with their fingernails to whatever it is that they want to achieve.
About the book
This book starts at the US Military Academy, West Point, where cadets are put through a process called Beast Barracks.
I’m from the UK and therefore don’t know much about this, but the Beast Barracks handbook describes it as being “the most physically and emotionally demanding part of your four years at West Point….designed to help make the transition from new cadet to soldier.”
Each year, West Point receives over 14,000 applications, but only 1,200 are admitted and enrolled, and a high proportion of these new cadets either drop-out or fail to complete the programme.
With limited spots available, West Point wanted to find out what qualities enable a new cadet to complete the course. This would allow them to choose the cadets that had a higher propensity for success from the thousands of applications that they receive.
This is where Anglea Duckworth and her team come in.
After carrying out her research, she concluded that the chances of success had nothing to do with the person’s background, upbringing, physical fitness, financial status etc. In the end, it came down to grit – the grittier a person was, the better chance they had of completeing the programme.
Through this study, Duckworth and her colleagues created The Grit Scale, this allowed them to measure the level of grit someone had. They then took this scale and applied it to people in business, academics, and sport.
Again the results showed that the gritter someone was, the more chance they had of being successful.
Grit and Mindset
The book Mindset is about having a growth mindset over a fixed mindset, and Grit is about having perseverance and determination. BUT in order to have grit – to keep going in the face of adversity and challenge – you have to have a growth mindset, in other words, you need to believe that by putting in extra effort you can improve.
The opposite is also true. If you have a fixed mindset, you will not have Grit.
(If you don’t know what I’m talking about when it comes to growth/fixed mindset, check out my book review of Mindset which explains all.)
My overall thoughts
This book is Duckworth’s discovery of grit. It’s an entertaining read because you follow along with her, almost like a story, as she carries out extra research and recalls her findings.
Along the way, Duckworth includes some of her own personal experiences of learning grit and how she encourages grit in her own children.
You’ll also find The Grit Scale inside, which you can complete to see how gritty you and your friends/family are.
From your results, you can then use the book to discover ways in which you can improve your grit, determination, focus and goal setting.
Overall, a very valuable read.
Have you read Grit?
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