It took some grit to get through this book! Highly researched, it identifies grit as a major factor in success.
While I can see how this can be true, I feel like the author missed the power of play, the motivating thrill of discovery, and the frictionless blessing of just repeatedly showing up, making baby steps onward. Personally, I find these more important than grit, but maybe I’m an anomaly. I also know that what may look like grit on the outside, might feel very different on the inside. People may think it has taken grit for me to put out this blog everyday for 15 years, when actually, it feels more like the unfoldment of gratitude to me.
Here are the ideas from the book I tabbed to share with you.
- “Passion is a compass– that thing that takes you time to build, tinker with, and finally get right, and then guides you on your long and winding road to where, ultimately you want to be.”
- “Tracking learners confirms that overbearing parents and teachers erode intrinsic motivation. Kids whose parents let them make their own choices about what they like are more likely to develop interests later identified as passion.”
- “Routines are a Godsend when it comes to doing something hard.” (What successful creators have in common is daily ritual and deliberate practice.)
- “Relieve yourself of the judgement that gets in the way of enjoying the challenge.” (I see this all the time teaching art workshops where students can be very hard on themselves when out of their comfort zone.)
- “All children really need the same thing: appropriately demanding challenges in combination with consistently warm and respectful support.” (True for adults too.)
- “For everyday functioning, my research suggests that grit isn’t as important as self control in the face of distractions and temptations. For making friends, emotional intelligence is probably more useful. There is a long list of character strengths more consequential than grit in a moral sense. Greatness is wonderful but goodness ever more so.”
The part I liked best talked about routine practice leading to a flow state. I know this well and love that this is true. Both my art practice (think of those tons of pages of artist journals I’ve filled) and my spiritual practice (tons of hours of spiritual study and prayer), lead to fabulous flow states, which produce either inspired paintings for my collectors, or spiritual healings for my clients.
I do not think progress has to be a process of struggling to overcome obstacles by wielding a prevailing fortitude over resistance. Genuine individual authenticity and close alignment with our Creator, in my experience, minimizes the demand for grit. Human will is not needed, when a larger, guiding purpose is involved.
This book has clarified for me my perspectives about all this.
Mary Baker Eddy summed up this book in part of one sentence. Paraphrased she says, “Persistence alone wins the prize.” Would that this author has been so brief. My most major critique of Grit is its long-windedness, and for that reason, I give it only four stars.