Grit vs. Talent: What Matters More to Your Success (E41)

High achievers may have talent, but that's not what brings them success.


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Do you ever wonder why some people seem to achieve so much more success than others? It’s not what you think! In this two-part series on grit, we’re talking about the significant role grit plays in your success and how to grow your grit – thus increase your success. Using Angela Duckworth’s stellar book Grit as our platform, we’ll talk about how to define grit, and why it is so important in this week’s episode.

What is ‘Grit?’

What exactly is “grit” anyway? Defined in her book, Angela says grit is “the combination of passion and perseverance.”

Importantly, passion isn’t necessarily about how intense you are about working toward your goals, but about how consistently you work toward them.

As Seattle Seahawks coach Pete Carroll says, “when I think about grit I think about it being your life philosophy. It’s the one thing you want.” It’s what gets you out of bed every morning, to work toward that one important life goal. It’s why Olympic gymnasts wake up at 4am to go to practice, why violin virtuosos play eight hours a day, and why I work with my clients and record this podcast each and every week.

Grit is the consistent work you do each and every day to reach your goals; you have to really be passionate about your one goal in order to do the things that perseverance requires in order to succeed.

You may be wondering: well, what about talent? Talent is undoubtedly important, but it turns out that research suggests that people with less talent can outperform those with more – but only if those less talented people show a heck of a lot more grit!

Why Does Grit Matter?

Grit is the difference between most people, and the people you see succeeding every time they ‘step up to the plate’ at whatever they do best. It’s why Michael Phelps keeps winning gold medals, and why my clients keep working to craft professional lives they truly love. Being gritty doesn’t have to be about winning at sports or earning millions of dollars. It can even mean you work each day to be a better partner, parent, friend, or colleague.

Grittiness also shows itself in how you respond to setbacks or failures. People with it don’t wallow in the mistakes or throw their hands up in the face of failure. Often the grittiest people double down and try even harder, as though they’ve been challenged to do better.

You may see people with grit stumble or fall, but they just don’t quit. Like a situation when somebody says, “you can’t do that,” and you immediately have this urge to run right out and prove them wrong.

That’s grit: passion and perseverance.

How Much Grit Do You Have?

If you’re curious about how much grit you have, Angela put together a great online survey you can take.

In this survey, you’ll rate yourself by how much you agree with statements like:

  • “New ideas and projects sometimes distract me from previous ones.”
  • “I often set a goal but later choose to pursue a different one.”
  • “I am a hard worker.”

Depending on how much you agree (or disagree) with these statements can give you insight into your own levels of grittiness. The survey calculates that for you automatically when you finish answering the questions!

Click here to take the Grit Scale.

Don’t forget, next week we’re talking about how to develop your grit. And, you can sign up for my webinar, Stop Sleepwalking Through Your Career, Awaken Your Professional Passion:

Click Here to
Sign Up for the Webinar

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It's Time for a Better Career Change!

Don't Put Your Happiness on Hold!

Start Now!