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Grit for Gains

Image of flower through concrete displaying grit
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By Liz Bentley

If you haven’t seen Angela Lee Duckworth’s Ted Talk on grit, now is a good time to pull it up. In it, she explains how her study of human performance across multiple industries found one characteristic to be a significant predictor of success: grit. “Grit is sticking with your future, not just for the week, not just for the month but for years, and working really hard to make that future a reality,” Duckworth says. “Grit is living life like it’s a marathon, not a sprint.”

While that sounds good, in reality it’s counterintuitive to our culture, which has been built on instant gratification, the demand for solutions, and the need to be in control and be able to predict circumstance—particularly in today’s trying times. As humans, we have created a mindset that doesn’t want to wait for answers, doesn’t like to put in long-term hard work to grow, and doesn’t want to devote any energy to something that might not produce good results. We want to know up front that something is going to be worth it. And while we have become a culture that likes to listen to motivational videos, read inspiring books, and hear stories of resilience to feel like we are partici-pating in that lifestyle, unfortunately we are too often on the sidelines watching.

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