Feb 20: The One Trait That Separates You From The Rest
Read that quote above again. And again. And again.
It's from Angela Duckworth, one of the world's top researchers on grit, self-control, and perseverance.
She has personally studied 10s of thousands of people – some wildly successful and many not – all to determine what the defining factors are that separate them.
Her single biggest finding? It's not intelligence, it's not looks, it's not physical, it's not background, or family, or circumstances. Nope, the defining thing that separates those that achieve and those that don't is their grit – their ability to persevere and be passionate towards their goals over the long haul.
Why This Matters.
If you're like most people in this right now, you're probably thinking "why the hell is this month so much harder than the last?" If you are, don't feel alone. It's a pretty common thing we've heard from a majority of you.
The buzz of January is gone, that whole "new you" thing is no longer trendy, and you're left to sort through your own thoughts, emotions, and struggles, trying to figure out if this whole creating space thing is actually for you.
You question whether or not you actually care about the very things that pushed you to commit to this in the first place, if your approach is right.
If any of those thoughts have gone through your head in the last 30 days, it's okay, you are human.
Your next task is to somehow find the grit to over come it. To sustain not just 21 days, but 210 days. 2,100 days.
Because building a life you actually care about isn't done in a month or even a year. It's a lifelong thing.
Take a watch of the video below. It will give you a huge tool you need.
Now knowing that, you may be asking, "but what the hell do I do to get grittier?"
Thankfully, Angela dives into the four most powerful ways to increase your grittiness and I got them summarized for you below.
Take a read through each of them and play with the ideas.
Try them on, ask yourself how they apply to you, your life, and your priorities (which you should have laid out yesterday).
1. Pursue what interests you
It's really hard to stick with something over the long haul if you don't care about it. That's why defining your priorities is so damn important.
Rule one: first thing first, pursue the stuff that actually matters to you.
"The first period is interest development — where you fall in love or find a general interest in something. You find that you're thinking about it more and more."
But here's the catch. Finding "passion" isn't about sitting back and contemplating what brings you joy. It's about getting out there, trying the stuff out, and figuring out what works for you. It's about paying attention to the little things that "just happen to catch your interest". It's a false narrative we've created that we all intrinsically know what we are passionate about, but it is true that we can all find things we're at least curious about.
Start there. The rest will follow.
2. Practice, practice, practice
Yep, this one is about putting in the work. Hard work develops skill, and we're more likely to stick with things we're good at. Here's Duckworth:
"Second, you develop a capacity for doing hard practice — the kind scientists call "deliberate practice." Over years of working in a very diligent way on your weaknesses, you improve."
3. Find purpose
The difference between someone who is just a hard worker and somebody who has real grit is that the latter finds meaning in what they do. It doesn't need to be one of those "this is my life's work" purpose (it can be though), but you need to be able to find some kind of meaning in it. You have to understand why it matters – to you and to others.
"What ripens passion is the conviction that the work matters. For most people, interest without purpose is nearly impossible to sustain for a longtime. It is therefore imperative that you identify your work as both personally interesting and, at the same time, integrally connected to the well-being of others."
Studying 16,000 people, Angela Duckworth found that "grittier people are dramatically more motivated than others to seek a meaningful, other-centered life."
4. Have hope
This may sound a little fluffy, but we promise it's not. This isn't just about wishing things will go well. You must have a belief that things will improve because you're putting in the time, the work, and the effort to make them improve.
"One kind of hope is the expectation that tomorrow will be better than today. It's the kind of hope that has us yearning for sunnier weather, or a smoother path ahead. It comes without the burden of responsibility. The onus is on the universe to make things better. Grit depends on a different kind of hope. It rests on the expectation that our own efforts can improve our future. "I have a feeling tomorrow will be better" is different from "I resolve to make tomorrow better." The hope that gritty people have has nothing to do with luck and everything to do with getting up again."
Now even if that sounds fuzzy and a little unscientific, know that it's not. The research clearly showed that people with hope took on bigger challenges, sustained themselves longer into the process, and in general acted a lot more empowered and in control than their peers who felt hopeless.
And there ain't nothing grittier than that.
Enjoy the day.