The secret to success

People have always been interested to know, regardless of the walk of life they come from, what differentiates the successful ones from somewhat less successful. It has long been considered that talent and above average abilities are the tickets for success, but today we know that is not the case. Talent and luck are definitely useful, but they are not crucial for achieving long-term goals as big things do not happen overnight. What perhaps best differentiates successful people from everyone else is focused persistence – or grit.

Grit stands for the ability to stay interested and continually invest effort in achieving long-term goals, regardless of rewards, recognition, and despite any obstacles on the way. It is a combination of stamina, ambitiousness, and self-control focused on achieving goals that may take months, years or even decades to accomplish. It is characterized by passion and long-term perseverance.

Individuals with this trait are committed to what they do, they persevere despite obstacles, have a strong desire for progress and success, and are ready for constant (sometimes even unpleasant) exercise in order to achieve what they want. Such people care so much about their goal that they make almost everything else about it. They stick to it and do not give up on it even when they stumble upon problems or make mistakes. They are usually dedicated to only one thing and strive for achieving excellence in that specific area.

We can say we are talking about continuous effort investment. The author of this book Angela Duckworth feels that talent and effort lead to skill development, whereas skills and effort lead to success. In other words, effort is worth double. Successful people make a routine out of exercising. They strive to be better at all times, and they do it with intent.

Negative feedback is another important part. People tend to lose motivation after receiving negative feedback or criticism. Once faced with failure, they give up. However, negative feedback contains an abundance of useful information, giving us a chance to better ourselves and correct our mistakes. People with strong grit usually respond to criticism with “I’ll show you!” and then they work even harder. By making small progress steps, they ultimately reach their end goal.

Like any other human traits, it is hard to say to which degree is grit hereditary and to which it is learned, but what is sure about it is that it can be developed. Find something that interests you and dedicate yourself to it at least a year. Do not give up on it despite the obstacles and learn from your mistakes. If you are a parent or a coach, expose your children/athletes to challenges so they can grow and support them when it gets difficult. Divide the big goals into smaller steps and let them do what they barely can with your support. Let them practice until they can do it without your support. After that, challenge them with a new small step until they are able to do it without your help, etc. This way, you are helping your children/athletes grow and become more successful and satisfied individuals.

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