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    The Daily Grind

    Talent + Practice = Achievement, but Extraordinary Practice Requires Grit


    Malcolm Gladwell’s latest book, Outliers, invites a thoughtful
    conversation on factors that differentiate those that have achieved
    greatness, such as the Beatles, Bill Gates and Mozart. Gladwell cites
    research which shows that besides raw talent, an important factor in
    those with remarkable achievements is the incredible amount of time that
    even the most gifted have to put towards their craft for extraordinary
    success to be achieved. What sets apart the good from the very, very
    good? Practice . . . lots of practice, in fact 10,000 hours of it.
    Gladwell calculates that to achieve the 10,000 hour mark, we would have
    to practice 3 hours per day for 10 years.

    In thinking
    about this tremendous amount of time, I began to consider another
    concept that would be operating within a person that possesses the drive
    to practice and work toward their goals with a dedication that
    surpasses most … that of grit. Grit, as defined by researcher, Dr.
    Angela Duckworth, is the “passionate perseverance toward a very
    ambitious and long-term goal.” It has been found that the amount of
    one’s grit is as or more important a predictor of achievement as IQ,
    talent, and character strengths, such as optimism and social
    intelligence. In fact, Duckworth was surprised by one finding in her
    study: Grit was not highly correlated with IQ. This may be a hopeful
    finding for those that are not naturally brilliant; Duckworth notes that
    while there may not be a way to teach people how to be smarter, there
    are qualities of grit, such as self-control, that may be teachable. The
    implications of Gladwell and Duckworth’s work are manifold. For
    executives that pride themselves on being “the sharpest tack in the
    box,” they should consider their grit and develop strategies to help
    increase their grit quotient.

    For further reading:

    1. Psychology Today Magazine on GRIT

    Duckworth, A.L., Peterson, C., Matthews, M.D., & Kelly, D.R.
    (2007). Grit: perseverance and passion for long-term goals. Journal of
    Personality and Social Psychology, 92(6), 1087-1101

    3. Grit: It’s
    what separates the best from the merely good, E. Packard, Monitor on
    Psychology, Volume 38, No. 10 November 2007,

    4. The Grit Scale:

    (by Daniel J. DeWitt, PhD)

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