“I will not be outworked.”
Whenever my great friend and mentor, Coach Mike Tully and I get together, sparks always fly: We really motivate each other. Coach Tully is a peak performance expert and author of several great how-to guides, including The Improvement Factor: How Winners Turn Practice into Success. You can find his books, along with inspiring advice, at his Web site: totalgameplan.com.
As always, Coach Tully was a fount of information. His latest tip: Dr. Angela Lee Duckworth’s Ted talks on “Grit,” the elusive but extraordinary quality that turns passion into performance and stick-to-it-ive-ness into success. Angela’s work is fascinating and she’s a totally engaging speaker — be sure to check out her Ted talks when you have a chance: Google “Grit + Ted Talk.” A few pointers on adding grit to our writing craft kit:
Grit is good: Across many fields, “grit” — “the unflagging commitment to a long-term goal” — is the number one predictor of success. Grit marries passion and zeal with stamina and hard work. It’s about consistency, perseverance, staying on track, and not abandoning tasks in the face of challenges.
Talent doesn’t make you gritty: In fact, grit is usually unrelated to talent.
Grit and intensity aren’t the same: Intensity suggests brief periods of all-consuming concentration: It’s about running a sprint. But grit is about running a marathon: it’s about sustained effort to achieve a specific goal in the face of ongoing highs and lows.
A growth mindset fosters grit: The belief that your ability to learn something can improve with effort is central to developing true grit. But there’s a big catch here: most of us are inclined to avoid experiencing the discomfort that mastering something difficult demands. As a result, we shy away from the very demanding tasks that could help us increase our “grit” factor.
Deliberate practice is the golden path to grit: It has four ingredients: 1) setting a very specific intention about what you want to improve; 2) choosing a challenge that exceeds your skill, so you’ll have to push yourself to improve; 3) feedback: knowing how well you’re performing is essential; and 4) repetition: you have to keep going over and over what you want to master until it’s fully integrated.
For more on sustained practice as a tool for success, check out Coach Tully’s The Improvement Factor. Thanks Coach Tully. And write on!