AC BLOG: Consistency, Quiet Determination Keys to Realizing Achievement

Mar 20, 2024

I had a chance to read Angela Duckworth’s book, “Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance,” and it did not disappoint.

The psychologist and University of Pennsylvania professor attempts to answer the question whether talent or effort is more important in achieving success and reaching one’s goals. Citing numerous use cases and research, she draws the conclusion that it’s not the most talented who succeed in specific tasks, but those who demonstrate the most “grit.”

Showing passion and perseverance for a task or goal and doing so consistently over time are what have inspired some of our greatest thinkers and highest achievers, she asserts.

The Japanese call this continuous improvement kaizen.

What does one have to do to embark on this path?  Is this just for the highest achievers?

Duckworth explains that deliberate practice is how experts practice, and that’s what’s required for achievement. Here are other takeaways:

  • Make practice a habit.
  • Seek out weaknesses that you haven’t mastered and create stretch goals.
  • Enjoy working hard, embrace challenges, and don’t fear them.

When one imbues a purpose to these practices and goals, such as contributing to the well-being of others, then things can really take off. That’s when a job or career becomes a calling, she writes.

How one sees her work is more important than a job title, Duckworth asserts.

She also writes that “hard work, really, really matters,” and that one can’t overreact to setbacks.

This is important for those who mentor people in the workforce, as well as kids.

“Teaching a person to do hard things teaches them to do other hard things.”

“With practice, industriousness can be learned.”

Among her use cases, Duckworth references the lives and examples of some of the most storied coaches in professional sports to illustrate her thinking.

Pete Carroll, former head coach of the Seattle Seahawks, says, “Our opponent…creates challenges that help us become our best selves.”

For his part, John Wooden, winning coach of 10 men’s basketball championships at UCLA, writes, “Success is never final, failure is never fatal.  It’s courage that counts.”

And while not referenced in this book, author Malcom Gladwell cites the Beatles and their night-in-and-night-out performances in Hamburg, Germany, that helped them master their craft.