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Some time ago my friend Cristina emailed me and said: "Forget IQ and forget money. The key to success is grit."
Of course, I'd never heard of the word "grit." So I looked it up and learned from Wikipedia that grit is a personality trait:
Grit in psychology is a positive, non-cognitive trait based on an individual’s passion for a particular long-term goal or endstate coupled with a powerful motivation to achieve their respective objective. This perseverance of effort promotes the overcoming of obstacles or challenges that lie within a gritty individual’s path to accomplishment and serves as a driving force in achievement realization. Commonly associated concepts within the field of psychology include "perseverance," "hardiness," "resilience,” “ambition,” “need for achievement” and conscientiousness.My friend had just watched Angela Duckworth's TED talk on grit. Duckworth is an associate professor at the UPenn, where she studies "competencies other than general intelligence that predict academic and professional achievement."
There are many online articles about grit being the key to success:
Jonah Lehrer defines grit on Wired Science.
Margaret Perlis spells out five characteristics of grit.
Duckworth's definition of grit is "perseverance and passion for long-term goals," which is also the title of a 2007 Journal of Personality and Social Psychology paper she co-authored. Citing from that paper:
"Grit entails working strenuously toward challenges, maintaining effort and interest over years despite failure, adversity, and plateaus in progress. The gritty individual approaches achievement as a marathon; his or her advantage is stamina."Why am I citing a psychology paper in today's Insecure Writers Group post? Because I believe it was one of our group members, Susan Kaye Quinn, who said, "Self-publishing is a marathon, not a sprint. Whatever the route that led you to indie publishing, whatever the story you want to tell, you need grit to make it successful. And you know what? That's excellent news. Because agents and editors judge your story based on marketability, but, ultimately what determines the success of your work is your willingness to make it succeed -- and that's just another definition of grit.
I know many of you have the grit it takes to succeed. I've seen it: new writers who rise through the Amazon rankings and stay up there because they work hard and they keep pushing. Go you. Don't give up. Take your daily dose of grit as your medicine and keep pushing.