Grit to Great by Linda Kaplan Thaler & Robin Koval

Why Grit Matters. Steve Jobs, for instance, was ordinary growing up. How does a seemingly ordinary person become great? Perseverance matters more than talent. Grit is about sweating it out. Grit can be learnt. Excellence is a habit. Basically, the self-esteem movement has been a flop. Stop thinking that you are special. Sometimes, having too much self-esteem is bad as it will make you complacent. Grit is about living outside of your comfort zone and pushing your boundaries. Research has revealed that grit can be honed. Michael Jordan is so great because he trains so hard. Kaplan Thaler Group now has more than $3 billion in earnings. Sometimes, parents should let their children learn the hard way. Go to the School of Hard Knocks. There are basically 4 aspects of grit: 1) guts (confidence to take on something challenging); 2) resilience (staying the course); 3) initiative (Outsmart your opponent); 4) tenacity (relentless ability to stay focused). To master a skill well, it might take as much as 10 years. Can you fulfil your potential and be great? Write down your to-do list every day. Commit one month on each project. It is important not to give up.

The difference between a successful person and others is not a lack of strength, not a lack of knowledge, but rather a lack of will. – Vince Lombardi

I know what hard work is all about. I still come back to what my strategy always was and will continue to be: I’m not the smartest guy, but I can outwork you. It’s the one thing I can control. – Michael Bloomberg

The Talent Myth. Talent is over-rated unless it is applied consistently. Having innate talent is definitely not sufficient. In fact, grit and IQ might even have a slight negative correlation. Those with grit are into things for the long haul. There are cons to using standardized tests. Educational qualifications might not signal much. Learn to deliver under pressure. Not all geniuses end up holding good jobs. Dave Thomas is the founder of Wendy’s restaurant chain. Hard work is good for the soul. When he was young, he worked extremely hard in kitchens. Thomas made sure that he did not compromise on quality. It is important to have integrity in whatever you do. Sadly, he passed away in 2003. We read Dave’s biography from head to tail and worked our socks off before finally managing to win the account. We went around talking to Wendy’s customers and employees. This was how we gained information on the ground about the company. The team worked long hours for the sales pitch to Wendy’s. We offered a lot of insight as to how to rebrand Wendy’s. Eventually, we won the business. Attitude matters a great deal. Learn to become an over-preparer. Think of how your strengths can be an asset for you. Spend 30 minutes more every day on something that matters to you.

Talent is cheaper than table salt. What separates the talented individual from the successful one is a lot of hard work. – Stephen King

In all those very different contexts, one characteristic emerged as a significant predictor of success. And it wasn’t social intelligence. It wasn’t good looks, physical health, and it wasn’t IQ. It was grit. – Angela Duckworth

You don’t need to be a Mensa member to be a success in today’s competitive work world, whether you’re pursuing an entry-level job, a managerial position, a big promotion, or the venture capital to strike out on your own. You need grit. – Linda Kaplan Thaler

Ditch the Dream. Put yourself into a grit state of mind and work hard. James Patterson worked at an ad agency but spent a lot of his time writing. He did it before reaching the office. It was inspirational to learn how determined he was. Visualizing your goal might not be a very smart thing to do. Often, we visualize the end goal but not the hard work. Rather, one should dream about roadblocks and how to get past them. Marin Aslop was a prominent music conductor who defied stereotypes about her. Eventually, she managed to lead a professional orchestra in conducting music. Learn to seize the initiative. Hard work can indeed get you very far. Passion needs a destination and guidance too. Goals can be re-evaluated from time to time. Learn to prioritize our ambitions and goals. Taking the first step is often risky, but one should do it. Make the goal your password for your computer. Write an action plan against a timeline. Pay attention to what others say.

Lose the Safety Net. Are safety nets holding us back? Our minds are very powerful. Learn to identify worst-case scenarios and take calculated risks. Be mindful of the problem at hand. Do not let your mind control you. Prepare for the worst. Learn to go on autopilot. You can’t wait till you are risk-free. Many a time, we like to settle for something that is comfortable which won’t excite us. Be aware of how fear dictates your life. You need to ask till you get rejected. This is when you know that you are growing. It is always possible to learn and grow from rejection. Draw on your inner resources. Learn to go with your guts. It can be frightening to leave everything behind. Create your own high ‘wire’ in life. Stop making excuses for yourself. Learn to step outside your comfort zone.

Get into Wait Training. Waiting is painful and training is difficult. There are many excuses you can take to abort your mission. Boredom once in a while helps to hone resilience. This is useful as it trains delayed gratification. Self-control is difficult as people like instant rewards. You never know whether you will succeed in something beforehand. However, this is no reason for you to give up. It can take some time up to years before your work can come to fruition. Turn passion into perseverance. Determination will get you very far in life. Drug release is also a very slow process with little reward. Therefore, it is important to celebrate small victories. This is important as it will help one to keep the motivation levels high. For instance, reading quotes on a daily basis can motivate you. Navy Seals are required to make their bed. However, this act instils you with a small victory everyday which can be empowering. Sometimes, having a daily ritual is important. People are usually more creative when they are bored. Be a list lover. Be grateful.

When pursuing a long-term goal, people should focus on checking items off their list, rather than focus simply on making progress toward their goal in an absolute sense. – David Gal and Blakeley B. McShane

Bend like Bamboo. You can turn your disability into an asset. Be as resilient as your bamboo. It is flexible in nature. There are many life lessons which one can learn from bamboo. We need to be flexible in life. Be innovative and resilient when faced with difficult and trying situations. It is not about having a lot to lose. Rather, think about what you have to gain. Make the most of what you have. Optimists are generally more motivated to solve their problems. Optimists believe that they have the power to change their circumstances. The good thing is that optimism can be learnt. It is essential for resilience. One can learn faster through failure. Many people give up after failure. However, one shouldn’t do that. Learn to embrace the love of failure. Learn to view things from another perspective. Have an insatiable appetite for curiosity. People usually have either a fixed or growth mindset. Learn to create high expectations for yourself. Learn to embrace Plan B too. Recharge your spirit. Setbacks have the ability to propel you forward.

No Expiration Date. If you don’t use your intellect, it will rot away. You can usually push yourself beyond your limits. That is how some people manage to do extreme sports. You can chase your dreams at any age. The only limits are those that you place on yourself. You do not need to accomplish everything you need before 30. It is possible to create great work when you are old, just like Picasso. You must dig deep and realize that grit is indeed important. Our brain craves novelty. Learning to brush your teeth with your non-master hand can slow down aging in your brain. Exercise can help slow down cognitive decline. Exercise has a great way to improve cognitive functions. Keep moving. Moving helps to combat arthritis. Older workers are not less productive. Productivity can remain high even in old age. Be a re-inventor. It is important to try and love what you do. Retirement is an out-dated concept. Work is a good way to keep you mentally engaged. Learn to adopt a hundred-year plan when it comes to work.

Age wrinkles the body. Quitting wrinkles the soul. – General Douglas MacArthur

Grit for Good. Humans are altruistic so that we can all survive. Our brains might be considered hard-wired to do good. Gratification can have a big impact on how we behave. It is essentially a form of reward. Always seek to help the less fortunate in society. Keep plugging at a problem till it goes away. You need grit and determination. Serving others can indeed make us happier people. Regular volunteering is a form of a meaningful activity to give back. If possible, give back to those who have helped you in the past. Try to make the world a better place for all. Start by volunteering for an NGO etc. Learn to join the grit movement.



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