January 2015

Its the time of the year when everyone buys a gym membership and goes on juice fasts, cleans their office and hangs a fresh list of resolutions for the coming year on their bulletin boards. I love the tradition of resolutions, and adore the clean slate of a new year, but after many years of half hearted attempts to work out more and eat healthier, I am taking a new approach to my goals for 2015.

Angela Lee Duckworth is a psychologist who started her career teaching in the New York public school system. After her first year teaching she noticed a trend…the students who were technically the smartest and most talented were not necessarily the ones who succeeded in the classroom. What she observed was that the students who worked the hardest, regardless of their natural IQ, were the ones who had the greatest success over time.

After years of research in multiple school systems, businesses, and Universities, she and her colleagues found that the one common characteristic of successful people across all fields and cultures is not IQ, talent, or social intelligence…

Its grit. 

“Grit is having stamina” Angela quotes in a TED talk about the subject (linked below) “Grit is living life like it is a marathon, not a sprint.” 

This is both encouraging and daunting…as it turns out, talent has little to do with success. Plenty of naturally gifted people lack to grit to be successful over the long term. But what does this mean for you and for me as we finalize our New Years resolutions? It means that if we have any hope in being successful by December 31st of this year, we have to work really hard, every single day.

Take this week to look around your office or your community and pick out people who you would define to be successful. What are the characteristics they all hold in common and how can you take a page from their book this year as you work toward a better you? 

Watch Angela’s full TED talk below: