The Single Predictor of Long-Term Success
There’s hope for you if you aren’t the smartest person at the table.
Average people succeed as long as they keep going when the path is steep.
Talent, intelligence, good fortune, and opportunity are less important to success than the ability to press through challenges.
The Single Predictor of Long-Term Success:
Angela Duckworth writes that grit predicts success, even when controlling for talent or IQ.
Grit predicts long-term success in nearly every realm of life.
291 trips to the moon and back:
It’s hard to persevere when you’re surrounded by quitters.
Astronaut Christina Koch returned to earth on February 6, 2020. She had been in space 328 days – the longest space flight of a woman in history.
Koch completed 5,248 orbits of the Earth and a journey of 139 million miles, roughly the equivalent of 291 trips to the Moon and back.
Norah O’Donnell asked, “The grit and the stamina that you possess … where does that grit come from?”
Koch replied, “I actually credit one person, and that’s my grandmother. My grandmother is an incredibly hard worker … They were farmers. And so I always like to think that I’m hopefully making her proud.”
Endurance includes the story of your relationships.
Tom Rath – at 16 – was told he would likely die of cancer at a young age. He’s battled cancer for 25 years. Along the way he’s written the #1 nonfiction book on Amazon, Strengthsfinder 2.0.
Tom said, “… most of it (grit) was a product of the relationships I had…”
If you want endurance, “… continue to invest in your very closest relationships….”
Tom Rath in his own words (3:39):
How might you invest in relationships today?
Who needs your support today?
Life’s Great Question: (Tom Rath)
Grit Scale (Angela Duckworth)
Grit: the power of passion and perseverance (TED video)
8 Traits That Are Scientifically Proven To Predict Future Success (Forbes)
Might be a slightly cynical view, but you can’t just quit from a space station. Grit is perhaps less relevant in the absence of choice, otherwise we would say that the people who exhibit the most grit are people sentenced to life without parole…
Can people without close relationships develop grit? At work often relationships are ephemeral, shallow and based on “get it done, yesterday”. In cases like this, is what looks like grit actually just hard-heartedness?
Thnaks Mitch. Koch’s first response to having grit refers to your comment. She was in a situation where quitting wasn’t an option. Even so, I think there’s value in having gritty people around us, if we want to have grit ourselves.
Perhaps, y’all …
Endurance/grit/perseverance is its own reward;
You what you have to – as best you can –
So you can achieve what you want to.
I know Rath’s right
because you flip his equation and it’s still correct:
If you want close relations, continue to invest, and endure.
Thanks Rurbane. I assume the word “do” goes in the phrase “You what you have – as best you can –
Re: Flip — I see you’re inverting. 🙂
Whoops, you are correct, on both counts.
Why did the grit cross the road?
Because it was the challenge before them, and they wanted to get to the Other side 🙂
If endurance and grit are the reward, I think you’ve got trouble. I never met a shareholder who cared how much you’d persevered unless you made a ton of money WHILE you persevered. Gritty but broke is still broke, and like they say: everything before the “but” is bull…
I dunno, Mitch,
at the risk of cliche,
“Whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger,” so long as you got time/space to recover.
I think the grit there is all the work and training beforehand that then results in her spending 328 days in space. It’s not like they just choose anybody for that.
I have worked in really challenging places, and others where if I were so inclined, I could put it on auto-pilot. In either case, relationships make the difference. When the work is hard and the environment toxic, relationships with my team kept us centered and going, rather than devolving into grumbling, bitter, do-nothings. When the work is challenging only if you actively choose it to be, and the environment is relatively safe and supportive, relationships are the “true” mirrors of your contribution – am I doing all the good I can? Can I step it up? Can I help someone else step it up? For this reason, now that I am in the role of Executive Director, I make relationship building a priority for myself and an expectation for everyone else. Thank you for another great post Dan!
Thanks Andria. In a world that obsesses over results, leaders who appreciate the idea of results through relationships are a step ahead.
Thanks, Dan. You have no idea how much I needed this message today.
Thanks Lucille. Here’s to one more step. Cheers
“Talent, intelligence, good fortune, and opportunity are less important to success than the ability to press through challenges.” I just love this one. I am the father of two adoptees from China; A daughter now 27 who is married to another China adoptee now with a six month old son and my second child is a son Jason who is 25. Jason came to us in 1995 severely undernourished and classified as a Special Needs (SN) child with severe developmental delays. He has exceeded all expectations along the way and will be graduating from Cal State LA this May with a Degree in Audio visual/stage production and will be off to Cal State Long Beach for a Masters program in the same area in the fall. How did he overcome his bad/severe beginnings. He did it through “grit”: as noted in this article. That “grit” was first given to him by God then by my wife, our daughter, myself and all the SN teachers and staff along the way. We were all patient with Jason believing in incremental progress all along building upon each and every failure then success. Prayer and positive reinforcement also worked each and every day. There are just so many examples out their of people with “grit” who have and continue to overcome all sorts of difficulties thrown their way. My son is an inspiration each and every day to my family and I.
Thanks for sharing your story Roger! It’s both inspirational and challenging. We move forward WITH others.
It’s wonderful how your service to your children returns to you. Best wishes
Dan: When you Love forward in what you do the rewards are endless and so fulfilling.
I learned in the Army and reinforced later during training to join a elite group of fire fighters that your body will only take you so far. Your body will go into self preservation and shut down to protect itself. That is where drive, grit and heart kicks in. If you don’t have a reason you will never get beyond that point where your flesh just stops. All great people that I have known had a “why”. You have to have that why because at some point you will be asking yourself why.
My running joke at work is that “I’m just trying to eat.” Everyone else has a family or an expensive house or cars to pay for, meanwhile, I’m just trying to eat. So I have this amazing stamina and grit, but where it comes from? I have no idea! If we want to talk about perseverance due to relationships (personal and business), mine have all sucked. Perhaps that’s exactly why my stamina is so strong. At any rate, I sure do wish that it was easier. I get really tired, but then I remember, I have to eat so I keep pushing forward.
In regard to this post, it is important to keep in mind that it is speaking about the ability to push through adversity and still reach success. An individual’s experiences define who they are, their values and their choices. In any given scenario, some individuals will automatically have advantages over others. While two individuals may reach the exact same goal, their paths and process can have a profound difference in the way that each individual processes and regards that success. This does not mean that the success of either individual is less significant, but it is important to recognize the extra effort and commitment that some individuals have to exert in order to reach the same goal.
I do agree that perseverance and relationships are key to reaching success, particularly in face of adversity. It is important to have a support system to encourage you and remind you of who you are and why you started in the first place. Getting lost and loosing track of our goals and ourselves at times can be so easy. It is important to be surrounded by people who see your potential even when you don’t believe it yet. Their constant reminder will keep your perseverance and commitment alive and help you push through. While it is possible to do it alone, the journey becomes more bearable when you have others cheering you on.