Angela Duckworth’s book Grit inspires me. We all have moments (and I sure have a lot of them!) when it doesn’t seem like we are enough, whether that’s smart enough, strong enough, cool enough, or whatever. In those moments, grit can come to our rescue.
The central thesis of her book is that hard work beats talent, pretty much every time. She has gobs of research to back up that thesis. That in itself is good news because it means that we can do something to get where we want to go. The underlying premise is pretty cool, too: who we are and what we are capable of are not carved-in-stone permanencies. We may not be able to do the Big Thing yet, but we can work our way up to it. The universe is changeable and moldable and we can make a difference.
The other big takeaway is deliberate practice. Hard work and lots of hours are key, but the kind of hard work matters. That is to say, showing up is a great place to start and going through the motions is probably better than not, but real improvement starts with mindful, challenging, stretch work. Pushing the limits of our capabilities, failing, reevaluating, and trying again teach us what we need to know.
I highly recommend this book.