Growing Grit

Grit Part 2, Chapters 6-9

By Olivia Baker

Posted January 19th, 2022

In the first part of the book, Duckworth defines for us what exactly grit is (passion and perseverance in pursuit of an ultimate goal) and how having grit can close the talent gap between people completing a given task. In part two, we learn how we can grow our grit over the course of our lifetimes in three steps; cultivating an interest, practicing to get better every day, and finding purpose in our activities while never losing hope along the way. Today's blog will briefly summarize each stage of growth for grit and include a little personal anecdote from how I've seen grit grow in my professional life as an elite athlete.

Interest. One of the biggest misconceptions about passions is that they come to us as epiphanies, as though they were just hidden somewhere in our heads, waiting to be discovered (pg# 216). In reality, Duckworth argues, most of the time passions come from the early interests we choose to cultivate and refine over years. Only then do we find our passions.

Practice. Grit is about continuously improving over the course of a lifetime and gritty people do their best to avoid complacency in their work. Thus, it is important not just to practice our work but to partake in deliberate practice—intentionally seeking out specific weaknesses to improve and developing practice plans that address them and give informative feedback (pg# 278).

Purpose. For most people, at some point to simply be interested or even passionate about something is not enough motivation to continue putting in deliberate practice to get better every day, there must be a greater purpose. As defined by Duckworth, "At its core, the idea of purpose is the idea that what we do matters to people other than ourselves." (pg# 292). The grittiest people believe that they don't have a job or career, but a calling that connects to a bigger picture in some way and drives them to continue improving.

Hope. Throughout each stage of grit development, there will be failures, detours, and shortcomings. Put simply, hope is the reason that when those things knock us down and derail our plans, we get back up and keep trying. It is essential to each stage.

I started running track at 8 years old because my friends were doing it and I enjoyed competing. It wasn't until well into middle school, around 13 years old that I realized that my interest in racing had become my passion and set my sights on an Olympic medal. Thousands of hours, tens of thousands of miles, and countless ounces of sweat later, I have not achieved this goal just yet, but have found purpose in the journey—to glorify Jesus through the talent He has given me and inspire the next generation to find joy in this sport I love so much—and hope for continued improvement towards my goal despite setbacks. Over the course of this lifetime (all 25 years of it so far), I'm grateful to have cultivated a passion that has made practice fun and helped me find my calling. I hope this week that this small story encourages you to know that you can too.

Discussion Questions:

1. How did you discover something that you are passionate about? Did it come to you suddenly or did you develop it over time?

2. Where do you find hope and encouragement when you've suffered a setback?

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