The Four-letter Word Common to Successful People?

In a most compelling TED Talk, Angela Lee Duckworth, a management consultant turned teacher turned psychologist, shares her research on the common thread among successful people – students and adults.

The common trait, she explained, is GRIT.

Grit is the power of passion and perseverance, she explains. “Grit is passion and perseverance for very long term goals. Grit is having stamina. Grit is sticking with your future, day in, day out, not just for the week, not just for the month, but for years, and working really hard to make that future a reality. Grit is living life like it’s a marathon, not a sprint.”

Ms. Duckworth also notes in her presentation that people with high levels of grit have come to realize that their ability to learn is not fixed and they do NOT view failure as a permanent condition. You can view the entire TED talk on YouTube.

Along similar lines, author Frank Sonnenberg recently shared a “cheat sheet” for seeing failure as something that ‘propels you forward.’

“Failing should be viewed as a hurdle rather than a roadblock,” he wrote. “Failing one time – or even several times – doesn’t make you a failure any more than losing one game makes you a loser. It can be a great teacher, make you stronger, and keep you grounded, or it can be the cause of your demise. The difference between a stepping-stone and a stumbling block is the way in which you approach it.”

Among his suggestions for developing this attitude toward failure are not tearing ourselves down, accepting responsibility, not taking it personally, learning from mistakes, and not quitting.

Good perspective and advice for all of us!