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Flashcards in Grit Deck (66)
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Many of the people I talked to could also recount tales of rising stars who, to everyone’s surprise, dropped out or lost interest before they could realize their potential.

Apparently, it was critically important—and not at all easy—to keep going after failure: “Some people are great when things are going well, but they fall apart when things aren’t.

The highly accomplished were paragons of perseverance.”


no matter the domain, the highly successful had a kind of ferocious determination that played out in two ways.

First, these exemplars were unusually resilient and hardworking.

Second, they knew in a very, very deep way what it was they wanted. They not only had determination, they had direction.
It was this combination of passion and perseverance that made high achievers special. In a word, they had grit.


Superlative performance is really a confluence of dozens of small skills or activities,

each one learned or stumbled upon, which have been carefully drilled into habit and then are fitted together in a synthesized whole. There is nothing extraordinary or superhuman in any one of those actions; only the fact that they are done consistently and correctly, and all together, produce excellence.”


Greatness is Doable

Greatness is many, many individual feats, and each of them is doable.”


Effort Counts Twice

when you consider individuals in identical circumstances, what each achieves depends on just two things, talent and effort. Talent—how fast we improve in skill—absolutely matters. But effort factors into the calculations twice, not once.“Effort builds skill. At the very same time, effort makes skill productive. Let me give you a few examples.”


One reason I have confidence in writing the kind of novels I write

is that I have confidence in my stamina to go over something again and again no matter how difficult it is.


The only thing that I see that is distinctly different about me is: I’m 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.”


Treadmill Test

running hard was not just a function of aerobic capacity and muscle strength but also the extent to which “a subject is willing to push himself or has a tendency to quit before the punishment becomes too severe.”

“Staying on the treadmill is one thing, and I do think 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 in my view even more reflective of grit. Because 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.”


Many of us, it seems, quit what we start far too early and far too often.

Even more than the effort a gritty person puts in on a single day, what matters is that they wake up the next day, and the next, ready to get on that treadmill and keep going.


Woody Allen to Young Artists

My observation was that once a person actually completed a play or a novel he was well on his way to getting it produced or published, as opposed to a vast majority of people who tell me their ambition is to write, but who strike out on the very first level and indeed never write the play or book.

Or, in Allen’s snappier formulation, “Eighty percent of success in life is showing up.


Without Effort

your talent is nothing more than your unmet potential. Without effort, your skill is nothing more than what you could have done but didn’t. With effort, talent becomes skill and, at the very same time, effort makes skill productive.”


there are no shortcuts to excellence.

Developing real expertise, figuring out really hard problems, it all takes time—longer than most people imagine. And then, you know, you’ve got to apply those skills and produce goods or services that are valuable to people.

Grit is About Working on something you care about so much you are willing to stay loyal to it.


Grit Score Can Change

How gritty you are at this point in your life might be different from how gritty you were when you were younger.”


Passion needs Intensity and Endurance

Fireworks erupt in a blaze of glory but quickly fizzle, leaving just wisps of smoke and a memory of what was once spectacular. What Jeff’s journey suggests instead is passion as a compass—that thing that takes you some time to build, tinker with, and finally get right, and that then guides you on your long and winding road to where, ultimately, you want to be.”


Ultimate Concern

The top-level goal is not a means to any other end. It is, instead, an end in itself.


What I mean by passion is not just that you have something you care about.

What I mean is that you care about that same ultimate goal in an abiding, loyal, steady way. You are not capricious. Each day, you wake up thinking of the questions you fell asleep thinking about. You are, in a sense, pointing in the same direction, ever eager to take even the smallest step forward than to take a step to the side, toward some other destination.”


Positive Fantasizing

indulging in visions of a positive future without figuring out how to get there, chiefly by considering what obstacles stand in the way, has short-term payoffs but long-term costs. In the short-term, you feel pretty great about your aspiration to be a doctor. In the long-term, you live with the disappointment of not having achieved your goal.
Even more common, I think, is having a bunch of mid-level goals that don’t correspond to any unifying, top-level goal
Or having a few competing goal hierarchies that aren’t in any way connected with each other.


A top Level Goal

is so interesting and important that it organizes a great deal of your waking activity. In very gritty people, most mid-level and low-level goals are, in some way or another, related to that ultimate goal. In contrast, a lack of grit can come from having less coherent goal structures.”


When your High Level Goal In Place, do not fear the failed low level goal.

The low-level goal with the angry-looking X through it has been blocked. It’s a rejection slip, a setback, a dead end, a failure. The gritty person will be disappointed, or even heartbroken, but not for long.
Soon enough, the gritty person identifies a new low-level goal—draws another cartoon, for example—that serves the same purpose.


Build a Coherent Goal Hierarchy

To what extent do these goals serve a common purpose? The more they’re part of the same goal hierarchy—important because they then serve the same ultimate concern—the more focused your passion.”


To Achieve Lower Level Goals

“If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.” Sound advice, but as they say “try, try again, then try something different.


Keep the Higher Level Goal firmly planted

the higher-level the goal, the more it makes sense to be stubborn.


Lower Level Goals are means to the higher level goal

giving up on lower-level goals is not only forgivable, it’s sometimes absolutely necessary. You should give up when one lower-level goal can be swapped for another that is more feasible. It also makes sense to switch your path when a different lower-level goal—a different means to the same end—is just more efficient, or more fun, or for whatever reason makes more sense than your original plan.


Building Your Compass

to get too hung up on a particular rejected grant application, academic paper, or failed experiment. The pain of those failures is real, but I don’t dwell on them for long before moving on. In contrast, I don’t give up as easily on mid-level goals, and frankly, I can’t imagine anything that would change my ultimate aim, my life philosophy, as Pete might say. My compass, once I found all the parts and put it together, keeps pointing me in the same direction, week after month after year.


Grit Features

Degree to which he works with distant objects in view (as opposed to living from hand to mouth). Active preparation for later life. Working toward a definite goal.

Tendency not to abandon tasks from mere changeability. Not seeking something fresh because of novelty. Not “looking for a change.”

“Degree of strength of will or perseverance. Quiet determination to stick to a course once decided upon.

Tendency not to abandon tasks in the face of obstacles. Perseverance, tenacity, doggedness.”


One form of perseverance is the daily discipline

of trying to do things better than we did yesterday. So, after you’ve discovered and developed interest in a particular area, you must devote yourself to the sort of focused, full-hearted, challenge-exceeding-skill practice that leads to mastery. You must zero in on your weaknesses, and you must do so over and over again, for hours a day, week after month after year. To be gritty is to resist complacency.


What ripens passion is the conviction that your work matters.

For most people, interest without purpose is nearly impossible to sustain for a lifetime. It is therefore imperative that you identify your work as both personally interesting and, at the same time, integrally connected to the well-being of others. For a few, a sense of purpose dawns early, but for many, the motivation to serve others heightens after the development of interest and years of disciplined practice.



hope does not define the last stage of grit. It defines every stage. From the very beginning to the very end, it is inestimably important to learn to keep going even when things are difficult, even when we have doubts. At various points, in big “ways and small, we get knocked down. If we stay down, grit loses. If we get up, grit prevails.”


passion for your work is

a little bit of discovery, followed by a lot of development, and then a lifetime of deepening.”


Novelty of the Expert vs Beginner

For the beginner, novelty is anything that hasn’t been encountered before. For the expert, novelty is nuance.”