Debunking myths on genetics and DNA

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

What exactly is grit ?


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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.

28 comments:

  1. Think of Mattie in the movie True Grit--the one with Jeff Bridges not John Wayne. She is the personification of grit. And grit is what you have to be a writer. Perseverance, determination. Best wishes.

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    1. I never saw that movie, I'll have to look it up! :-)
      best wishes to you too, Diane!

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  2. I agree with Diane...Mattie in the new True Grit was the personification of it. We continue to write because we must...it's just sometimes more difficult than others.

    PS. You might get more comments if your turn off word verification (CAPTCHA). You can opt to not allow Anonymous posters to help reduce spam or moderate comments before they are posted. ;)

    D.B. McNicol
    Romance & Mystery...writing my life

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    1. you wouldn't believe the amount of spam I get ... :-(

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  3. Excellent post!

    And - Oo - new follower. I'm FASCINATED by genetics. I'm a neonatal nurse by trade, but a science geek at heart. Many a slow night, I've pored over Smith's Recognizable Patterns of Human Malformation.

    I'm weird. I know.

    IWSG #224 until Alex culls the list again.

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    1. So great to hear that, Melissa ! And no, you're not weird. Stuff like that is my daily inspiration ... I'm following you back, can't wait to read your book. :-)

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  4. That is an excellent message! So far, I've got grit. Just need to keep plugging. Thanks for the reminder!

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    1. yup, we all need the reminder to keep plugging... thanks!

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  5. Great post! Very inspirational. I'll go out on a limb and say writers need more grit than a lot of other professionals.

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    1. Holli, so great meeting you! I'll come bugging you whenever I have questions about Muay Thai! :-)

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  6. Replies
    1. I'm getting the message, LOL, checking it on Netflix now ...

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  7. Apparently grit in life as much as in writing is very important and good to have. You make a great point here, thank you. I often read reviews that say: this story has grit. And I think that's good.
    Great post, and glad to have found your blog.
    Silvia @
    SilviaWrites

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    1. Oh, grit in a story -- that's something to shoot for, too !

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  8. Great Post. I love the way you presented Grit. I was smiling from the get-go<--lol, slang for beginning or start. Just occurred to me that might be a new one too. I tend to use slang, metaphor, and analogy when I talk. Love the post.
    http://www.junetakey.com/

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    1. I love the expression "get-go" :-)

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  9. Grit is essential to a writing career. The road to success, no matter how you define that, is littered with obstacles and setbacks. You need to be able to persevere through the difficult days and try again the next day.
    Thanks for the link to the TED talk. They are always inspiring. http://scribblinginthestorageroom.wordpress.com

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    1. very true! thank you and glad you enjoyed the video

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  10. And there's also True Grit! Wait, that's a movie.
    Publishers help with success, but we still have to make a big effort for our own books.

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    1. sometimes they do help... ;-)
      heh, sorry, had to say that, thanks for the comment, Alex!

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  11. Excellent post and I love Susan's quote. Thanks for sharing that. Personally I think of John Wayne's movie "true Grit" it was a perfect title for such a man. Ya, not science, but he gave his all to the film industry for us to enjoy.
    History Sleuth - IWSG .

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  12. YES! Grit is an essential element. We writers are full of it, aren't we?

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    1. we wouldn't survive without it :-)

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  13. I am getting more grit as we speak! Great post.

    Thank you for your support.
    Heather

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  14. Terrific post! I've always thought of grit as a combination of perseverance and courage. It's not enough just to hang in there, you have to actively work toward goals. And for writers, that path can be rocky one even when there are successes along the way.

    VR Barkowski

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    1. yes, very rocky, and the only way to make it is to keep pushing!

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