In our contemporary society, the emphasis on talent and IQ in hiring decisions, discussions about athletes, and praise for successful business people is undeniable. It’s easy to write off other people's success because they were born with talent or a high IQ in their field. But does possessing talent and a high IQ truly guarantee success? I contend that there's a crucial factor—Grit—that plays a significantly more vital role in determining success.
Grit is the quality that enables individuals to overcome obstacles, persevere through failures, and ultimately dictates the level of success one achieves. The challenge we face, especially concerning our youth, is understanding how to cultivate grit. I am not the first to assert that hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work. Recently, Angela Duckworth explored this concept in her book, "Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance." Her research on some of the most successful people in America revealed that effort is twice as important as anything else when it comes to reaching goals or achieving success.
Duckworth proposes that when you combine your talents with effort, you develop skills. Taking those skills and multiplying them with more effort leads to achievement. While your talent can influence how quickly you see results, it's the combination of talent and effort that determines the level of your skill set. That skill set combined with passion and perseverance to achieve a long term goal is Grit.
Now, the question becomes: how do we instill grit in our youth? My solution, because it's important to offer solutions alongside identifying problems, is to encourage involvement. Find something your child is interested in and support that interest. The options in our area are endless. Whether one loves the outdoors, arts, academics or athletics, there are numerous opportunities to explore and develop passion. The MSD of MV offers various opportunities for our youth to discover what they are passionate about. By finding something a student is interested in, practicing with purpose, and embracing a Growth Mindset, they can develop Grit—a necessary block that lies in the middle of our Pyramid of Excellence. While Grit does not guarantee success; without Grit, it is almost guaranteed you will not sustain any long term success.