This review of Angela Duckworth’s Grit was written by Sarah Paumelle, founder of Winter Homes.
After reading the first chapter of Grit, I was hooked. Duckworth begins by describing how US Navy SEALs are recruited. She shows how they are judged not purely on intelligence or physical strength and ability, but on how gritty they are overall. This surprised me. I hadn’t really thought of grit as a separate scale of personality before, but Duckworth really illustrates how grit affects everything about us. Even the toughest or most intelligent applicants on paper wouldn’t make the cut for the SEALs unless they could also prove they had the grit to keep going even after failing time and time again. Our grittiness affects our personal growth – from the way we learn, to the way we fail.
Duckworth studies swimmers – some naturally talented, and some who practice – and compares their overall levels after years of swimming She finds that the progress of the swimmers who are not naturally talented overtakes that of the gifted swimmers. Interestingly, these naturally gifted swimmers, although amazing, are not as good as those who put in the hours of practice. This is the same with musicians. The naturally talented will excel, but the musicians who put in the most work will always overtake their counterparts.
For me, this book was a great inspiration to keep pushing at things I am good at, but also things I’m not so good at – like writing book reviews!
It has really brought home the idea that even things I feel I can’t do or seem too difficult are achievable if you put your mind to it.
I think about Duckworth’s grit concept every day now, and has made things going wrong a lot easier to deal with. You just have to keep going. Perhaps this is an overused example, but JK Rowling was turned down by 12+ publishers, and now look at her; I bet she’s glad she didn’t give up!
A great read, there is something for everyone in this book. It is applicable not only in business, but in all the challenges that life throws at us.