Monthly : October 2013

Dreu – Episode 8 (Growth and Grit)

(click for full-sized cartoon)

Y Combinator is the legendary tech incubator responsible for Reddit, Dropbox, Airbnb, Scribd, and scores of other notable startups.  When asked what made the difference between profit machines like Dropbox and catastrophic startup failures, Y Combinator co-founder Paul Graham had this to say:

“Several founders mentioned specifically how much more important persistence was than intelligence.  ’I've been surprised again and again by just how much more important persistence is than raw intelligence.’” - Paul Graham, Co-Founder of Y Combinator

He’s obviously not alone in his assessment that grit (persistence … perseverance … whatever you want to call it) is a more accurate predictor of success than intelligence.

“The man who can drive himself further once the effort gets painful is the man who will win.”
Roger Bannister

In retrospect it’s obvious.  ”We miss 100% of the shots we don’t take,” as Wayne Gretzky said.   Simple, right?

But isn’t this just sports and startup folklore?  I thought so as well, but it turns out science has been corroborating the notion.

And Duckworth is not alone in her science 1.  It’s safe to say we’re witnessing an actual paradigm shift in performance psychology.

While this is intellectually interesting, what’s really exciting is the practical application.  How fortunate that grit is, as Duckworth mentioned, a trainable skill.  (See:  The Grit Habit - free PDF that teaches Grit in a single page).

We can’t control how much “talent” we have.  We can’t change the genetic cards we’re dealt at birth.  But we can learn to persist in spite of all limitations.  And now we know:  that’s what really matters.

“A hero is no braver than an ordinary man, but he is brave five minutes longer.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson

Show 1 footnote

  1.  How Children Succeed: Grit, Curiosity, and the Hidden Power of Character, Paul Tough.  Grit:  Perseverance and Passion for Long Term Goals, U Penn.  Flourish, Martin Seligman.  etc.

Discussion18 Comments

  1. JoseBerrios says:

    That was truly awesome Mark.  As many times as I have fallen, words and information such as this, helps keep the spirit up and give you a swift kick in the rear to keep you pushing.   Thanks.

  2. WinkJones says:

    Adding the meaningful and enjoyable videos at the bottom of the cartoon adds immense value to them in my opinion.  As a small businessman in a crowded field I am always the underdog.  Your program has helped enhance my success and your inclusion of the Angela Lee Duckworth video was very inspirational to me, not only for my own information, but for helping to guide my children and their children.  
    Short version:  Good Job!

  3. Arcole says:

    Hmmm. Maybe it’s time to upgrade. I need more grit. Thanks for this one, Mark. You’ve really got me thinking now.

  4. Mark Jones says:

    I really enjoyed the elaboration at the bottom of the cartoon. I feel it really brings the story more to life and the story also illustrates nicely the text. I hope this style can continue on future blogs. Thanks Mark!

  5. tonylotven says:

    Very timely for me to read this.  The heart and mind in combination are incredibly powerful, with equally positive and negative outcomes possible.  Start My Day is my reminder to keep going, especially through the doubt.

  6. catasoft says:

    Thanks so much, Mark, for your thoghts (and those of others) on the matter.
    Truth be told, Grip is hard for untrained fellas out there who, like myself, belong to a generation of commodity and used to always seek out the path of least resistance. Grip can and should be trained. In the past, life was the big trainer; nowadays, in times of commodity, we’re weaker than ever in our capacity to Strive and, consequently, Thrive. But the basic laws of success have remained the same.
    Simpleology and it’s entire training of good habit creation seems to be the missing link in this whole schema.
    At least for me, it made a huge difference.

  7. Arcole says:

    Serendipity is at work here. Michael Hyatt also recently posted a blog about Steven Pressfield and his book The War of Art. Well, I read it. Grit and defeating Resistance look an awful lot alike. For anybody feeling particularly gritless or kicked in the butt by life and obligation, I’d have to recommend reading The War of Art. It pretty much explained to me in glorious technicolor why I have been so freaking miserable for the past ten years. So I am feeling better now. Thanks to Simplelogy I have the tools to defeat Resistance and grow some Grit. I just wish I’d known about both ten years ago.

  8. Mark Joyner says:

    @Arcole The War of Art is one of my favorite books ever.

  9. SeanIM says:

    “The man who can drive himself further once the effort gets painful is the man who will win.”- Roger Bannister This reminds me of some of my Marine buddies in Germany that let me in on one of their sayings:  ”Pain is just weakness leaving the body.”  …could swap body out with our other parts and would also make sense…

  10. Yvonne Finn says:

    What an awesome video demonstration!
    It seems so obvious that perseverance is a cornerstone of success, since we all experience occasional failures and must pick ourselves up and push on.
    As to what parents can do to instill more grit into their children.
    This is also obvious!
    Set the example!
    It is a fact that individuals learn behaviours more from observation than by any other method.
    So, don’t say one thing and then be caught doing another.
    Be transparent, talk with your children not just to them and don’t pretend that you never experience
    Walk the talk and your children will at least have a consistent reference point when they run up against those potentially distracting obstacles the world throws at all of us..

  11. TeddyStanowski says:

    Out of all the people in the world. Who teach self development and how to be successful. It’s safe to say, you are the only one provides content and a platform that can be measured. Going back to your drink the glass of water exercise from 101, wishing upon a star (manifesting your dreams) can only get you so far, if not they hurt you. Only taking action can lead to measurable results. And you my friend have proven that time and time again.
    If anyone is new here reading this blog or new to simpleology (which you shouldn’t because MJ is the godfather of internet marketing), I suggest you sign up because though meditating and saying affirmations may help your mindset, it still doesn’t complete the task (drink that glass of water).

  12. TonyHall says:

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  13. amberlouweez says:

    I am all for transparency! And I am a relatively slow learner when it comes to standard education practices. I learn much quicker from action(doing). Everyone has their own way of learning and as long as we are learning, there is no “wrong” way.

  14. PaulSmith5 says:

    Great reading, like to share this site with you, go and check it out.

  15. filip3ff says:

    Thanks,Mark!Great story!Ilike your blog!<a href=””>Technology world</a>

  16. Wow, awesome blog layout and your post!  How long have you been blogging for? You made blogging look easy. The overall look of your website is excellent and let alone the content! Thanks

  17. GeoffDodd says:

    Persistence and relentlessness….forever

  18. nightfling1 says:

    Guys just sharing, I’ve found this interesting! Check it out!

Reply to Yvonne Finn

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