5 Minute Book Summary of Grit: Passion, Perseverance, and the Science of Success

Grit book

I am not afraid to die on a treadmill. I will not be outworked, period. You might have more talent than me, you might be smarter than me, you might be sexier than me. You might be all of those things. You got it on me in nine categories. But if we get on the treadmill together, there’s two things: You’re getting off first, or I’m going to die. It’s really that simple.

Grit: Passion, Perseverance, and the Science of Success defines that one trait that pushes you to greatness: Grit. Enjoy our book summary and learn how to succeed in all aspects of your life.

Science of Hope with Pete Carroll

Hope is real. Hopelessness is real. But, there is some plasticity.

Mastery or experience is required to convert hopelessness into hope.

Someone can’t be gritty on their own. They need support and a coach.

Pete Carroll’s (Seahawks Head Coach) definition of ‘always compete’ is to strive for knowledge by achieving excellence and supporting each other.

Competition is not about beating each other up. You need the other person to bring about your best self.

When people are aware of the concepts of grit, then blossoming can occur.

People do not lose grit.

How to be Gritty

Be demanding, ask for a little more, and be supportive and respectful.

Be aware there are lots of commonalities between physical and mental grit.

Be in a fun and demanding environment where you can be your very best and have no ceiling.

Remember when circumstances get difficult, trust yourself that you can get it done.

It’s okay to get discouraged, but you must get back up again. There is no person who is invincible who doesn’t get down.

Grit is more about stamina than intensity.

Grit has two components: passion and perseverance.

Enthusiasm is common. Endurance is rare.

Case Studies

Grit turned out to be an astoundingly reliable predictor of who made it through training at the United States Military Academy at West Point.

SAT scores and Grit were, in fact, inversely correlated. Students in that select sample who had higher SAT scores were, on average, just slightly less gritty than their peers.

Talent focus is harmful since it gives the impression that everything else, including Grit, is not important.

Enron employees need to prove that they were smarter than everyone else inadvertently contributed to a narcissistic culture, with an overrepresentation of employees who were both incredibly smug and driven by deep insecurity to keep showing off.

Talent focus produces a culture that encourages short-term performance but discourages long-term learning and growth.

“Eighty percent of success in life is showing up.”

The Treadmill Stress Test was a surprisingly reliable predictor of psychological adjustment throughout adulthood. Researchers found that adjusting for baseline physical fitness “had little effect on the correlation of running time with mental health.”

Staying on the treadmill is one thing, and it’s related to staying true to our commitments even when we’re not comfortable. But getting back on the treadmill the next day, eager to try again, is even more reflective of grit.

When you don’t come back the next day — when you permanently turn your back on a commitment — your effort plummets to zero. As a consequence, your skills stop improving, and at the same time, you stop producing anything with whatever skills you have.

It soon became clear that doing one thing better and better might be more satisfying than staying an amateur at many different things.

With effort, talent becomes skill and, at the very same time, effort makes skill productive.

Warren Buffett’s Tips for Setting Goals

  1. You write down a list of twenty-five career goals.
  2. You do some soul-searching and circle the five highest-priority goals.
  3. You take a good hard look at the twenty goals you didn’t circle. These you avoid at all costs. They’re what distract you; they eat away time and energy, taking your eye from the goals that matter more.

“Persistence of motive” — distinguishes those who are most and least eminent.

There’s a correlation between age and grit. The maturation story is that we develop the capacity for long-term passion and perseverance as we get older.

4 Characteristics of Model Grit

  • Interest: enjoy what you do
  • Practice: consistent drive toward mastery
  • Purpose: what you do matters; “many, the motivation to serve others heightens after the development of interest and years of disciplined practice”
  • Hope: keep going, even when it is tough

Fostering your Passion

Research shows that people are enormously more satisfied with their jobs when they do something that fits their personal interests.

People perform better at work when what they do interests them.

Insider tip: most people spend a long time figuring out what they’d like to do.

“Passion for your work is a little bit of discovery, followed by a lot of development, and then a lifetime of deepening”

In his research, professional athletes like Rowdy Gaines who, as children, sampled a variety of different sports before committing to one, generally fare much better in the long run. This early breadth of experience helps the young athlete figure out which sport fits better than others.

Also remember: the grittier an individual is, the fewer career changes they’re likely to make.

Experts Practice Differently

Unlike most of us, experts are logging thousands upon thousands of hours of what Ericsson calls deliberate practice.

Experts do it all over again, and again, and again. Until they have finally mastered what they set out to do. Until what was a struggle before is now fluent and flawless. Until conscious incompetence becomes unconscious competence.

World-class performers at the peak of their careers can only handle a maximum of one hour of deliberate practice before needing a break, and in total, can only do about three to five hours of deliberate practice per day.

Gritty people do more deliberate practice and experience more flow. There’s no contradiction here, for two reasons.

First, deliberate practice is a behavior, and flow is an experience. Second, you don’t have to be doing deliberate practice and experiencing flow at the same time. And, in fact, I think that for most experts, they rarely go together.

Grittier kids reported working harder than other kids when doing deliberate practice but, at the same time, said they enjoyed it more than other kids, too.

Here's the last takeaway: Grit is all about the moment of self-awareness.

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