Hello and long time no blog post. It seems I start every recent blog post with that sentence but I am striving to do better with my writing. One of the challenges I set myself this year was to write at least twice a week in some long form and I have been able to keep that up on my social media pages. So, if you don’t follow me on social media please do. I am Oyindamola Sosanya on Instagram and LinkedIn which are two mediums with my shorter micro blog pieces. That said I promise to do better with writing here as well.
The book Grit by Angela Duckworth was one of my April reads and I thought I would share a few lessons that really resonated with me. I also thought to share them here as I feel they are easily digestible lessons anyone can learn from even if they never read the book.My non- mathematical self decided to illustrate these lessons using equations. So please bear with me if they are not totally on point, I am sure you get the general idea. So here goes;
Talent x Effort= Skill
A lot of us subliminally believe that talent trumps hard work. The author who has worked in various fields (management consulting,teaching,academia) challenges the bias towards talent. Of course natural talent exists but to truly become skilled at ANYTHING there has to be effort applied. Without effort, talent may not lead to truly becoming skilled in any discipline. I particularly loved the example of Olympic swimmers used by the author. Yes some people have natural physical attributes that allows them to glide better in water. However to become skilled swimmers some effort is required.Those physical attributes would never materialise into swimming skills if they never stepped into a body of water.
Skill x Effort = Achievement
Again we see here that effort is twice as important.Becoming skilled at a discipline is the starting point of achieving results .Becoming a highly skilled doctor without ever practising medicine is kind of pointless isn’t it? To ever truly get any results, effort and skill have to come back into the equation. The results that come from putting the skill into practise are once again going to depend on the amount of effort put in.It is important to get skilled but it is more important to put that skill into use by taking action.
Same top level goals x a period of time = Grit
One quote from the book that sums this up is the one below;
Grit is about working on something you care about so much that you’re willing to stay loyal to it…it’s doing what you love, but not just falling in love―staying in love.Angela Duckworth
The above seems counter intuitive for me as someone who works in the field of business transformation and naturally wants to look at new ways to tackle problems. It might read like the author is prescribing never changing one’s mind or sticking with status quo.But the key phrase to note here is ‘a period of time’ .Grit is the ability to stick with a high level goal for a while while still being able to adapt/change the methods needed to achieve the goal. The next point illustrates this a bit more.
Big level goals -small level goals = Limited progress
Having big goals,dreams or a vision for your life is so important. It is what fuels us and gives us hope for the future. Many people will set high-level goals, like building a million pound business, become a world class athlete have a thriving family life etc but then forget to set the small level goals needed to make the big level goals happen.
Small level goals in the form of habits,plans, tasks etc are the path to keeping up the effort needed to achieve the big level goals.
For example, in order to become a world class athlete , there are a series of low-level goals like having a training plan, competing in smaller competitions etc These are then broken into smaller goals, like training every day, resting, eating the right foods etc
Without incorporating small level goals into everyday life, there is a limited chance of achieving progress in the bigger level goals.
Development+ Discovery+ Deepening= Passion
‘Passion’ is a word that gets bandied around a lot. And a lot of people often confuse it with ‘interest’. Being fascinated or intrigued about a certain subject or discipline does not automatically translate to being passionate about the subject. This is the development stage of passion. e.g I am intrigued by butterflies, I develop an interest by reading books, visiting nature reserves etc .This leads to discovery about the subject. Deepening what is discovered is often the tipping point for passion. And the deepening phase is where grit is essential. You need persistence and perseverance to truly become passionate about anything.Continuous switching from one thing to another does not allow for truly developing an abiding interest or passion for a subject or topic.
The author in this part of the book goes into a lot of analysis into how we develop interests in childhood. She advises young people to go out into the world to develop and discover as many interests as possible as this would ultimately lead to the them developing their passions.
I hope you found these five short lessons useful. There are a lot of other really interesting insights and lessons from the book. It was such a great read and it is one that I highly recommend. I think its a really good one for parents who might be thinking of ways to help their children develop or cultivate grit. A small caveat here though as I am always reticent to apply broad strokes to parenting, the book could act as a really great guide and would need to be adapted to your child’s personality and interests.It is not necessarily a parenting book.
As usual thank you so much for reading and hope you have a lovely restful weekend.
P.S If you do decide to go ahead to buy the book, and will be buying on Amazon I would appreciate if you buy it using the link below.
Grit by Angela Duckworth https://amzn.to/337g36a
As part of the Amazon affiliate program, I get paid a token if you buy using the link but this will come at no extra cost to you. Thank you