Grit by Angela Duckworth

This is what Will smith the famous actor had to say in his interview to the author of this wonderfully researched book on “Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance” by Angela Duckworth.

“The only thing that I see that is distinctly different about me is: I’m not afraid to die on a treadmill. I will not be outworked, period. You might have more talent than me, you might be smarter than me, you might be sexier than me. You might be all of those things. You got it on me in nine categories. But if we get on the treadmill together, there’s two things: You’re getting off first, or I’m going to die. It’s really that simple.”

I have been generally fascinated or rather biased towards books that tells me if a particular attribute of the self can be built or cultivated over a period of time.

Author defines Grit as “Perseverance and Passion” for long term goals.

I recently analyzed Serena Williams Grand Slam records. Her age at the first major title was 17 and her age at the 22nd major title, recent Wimbledon was 34. She has equalled Steffi Graf’s record and set to beat her record as well. In whatever way I see this, it is an example of “Applied Grit”.

The book answers the question(s) of

  • ‘Why Grit is important’
  • ‘Can Grit be cultivated’ in normal individuals ?
  • ‘How to Cultivate it’ ?

Srini Rao in his wonderful podcast Unmistakable creative, interviewed his mentor, Greg Hartle and asked him about the kind of key qualities of successful people. Greg responded, he considered talent, intelligence, grit and resilience are what he considers as the key qualities. When Srini asked his trademark question of out of these four what are natural and what could be cultivated, Greg responded that while talent and intelligence are the amongst the in-born qualities and there is certain element of natural difference, the other two qualities of grit and resilience are cultivated.

Personally as a cricket fan I think the comparables are Sachin for the talent and intelligence, not that he lacks in grit and resilience, but take a MS Dhoni, not short on  talent and intelligence, but you can see grit and resilience personified and most in our country keep them at a pedestal and possibly well deserved as well.

Here is a nice quote that I found about being gritty

In other words, gritty people believe, “everything will be alright in the end, and if it is not alright, it is not the end.”1

So the natural question that might arise in you is , have I become more gritty ? Well my answer would be is that ‘I am aware of where I am less gritty’ and I always myself as a continuous work in progress.

For the overtly curious you can check your grit score here

Watch her Ted talk on Grit at

Angela Duckworth’s TED talk

Be Gritty. Stay Tuned.

Enjoy Maadi. (Have Fun)


1Gritty People