In my pursuit to become a professional photographer, I’ve read several books, not just to learn the techniques of photography, but to broaden my knowledge of hard to grasp concepts like creativity and perseverance. This interest led me to a book called Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance by Angela Duckworth. In it, the psychologist claims that the key to success in life – whether you’re an educator, a parent, an athlete and or a business person, isn’t talent but a special blend of passion and perseverance, or what she calls “grit.” Today, I’d like to share 10 of my favorite quotes from this book. I’d highly recommend reading Grit, especially to those seeking a career in a creative field.
“Exactly how do life experiences change personality? One reason we change is that we learn something we simply didn’t know before. For instance, we might learn through trial and error that repeatedly swapping out one career ambition for another is unfulfilling…I learned that being a ‘promising beginner’ is fun, but being an actual expert is infinitely more gratifying. I also learned that years of hard work are often mistaken for innate talent, and that passion is as necessary as perseverance to world-class excellence.
“Likewise, we learn, as novelist John Irving did, that ‘to do anything really well, you have to overextend yourself,’ to appreciate that, ‘in doing something over and over again, something that was never natural becomes almost second nature,’ and finally, that the capacity do do work that diligently ‘doesn’t come overnight.'”
“First comes interest. Passion begins with intrinsically enjoying what you do…Next comes the capacity to practice. One form of perseverance is the daily discipline of trying to do things better than we did yesterday…Third is purpose. What ripens passion is the conviction that your work matters…And, finally, hope. Hope is a rising-to-the-occasion kind of perseverance.”
“Passion for your work is a little bit of discovery, followed by a lot of development, and then a lifetime of deepening.”
“‘It’s a persistent desire to do better,’ Hester explained. ‘It’s the opposite of being complacent. But it’s a positive state of mind, not a negative one. It’s not looking backward with dissatisfaction. It’s looking forward and wanting to grow.'”
“This is how experts practice: First, they set a stretch goal, zeroing in on just one narrow aspect of their overall performance. Rather than focus on what they already do well, experts strive to improve specific weaknesses.”
“And after feedback, then what? Then experts do it all over again, and again, and again. Until they have finally mastered what they set out to do. Until what was a struggle before is now fluent and flawless. Until conscious incompetence becomes unconscious competence.”
“Gritty people do more deliberate practice and experience more flow.”
“Each of the basic requirements of deliberate practice is unremarkable: A clearly defined stretch goal, Full concentration and effort, Immediate and informative feedback, Repetition with reflection and refinement.”
“Personally, I have learned that if you create a vision for yourself and stick with it, you can make amazing things happen in your life. My experience is that once you have done the work to create the clear vision, it is the discipline and effort to maintain that vision that can make it all come true. The two go hand in hand. The moment you’ve created that vision, you’re on your way, but it’s the diligence with which you stick to that vision that allows you to get there.”
“To be gritty is to keep putting one foot in front of the other. To be gritty is to hold fast to an interesting and purposeful goal. To be gritty is to invest, day after week after year, in challenging practice. To be gritty is to fall down seven times, and rise eight.”