We’ve all seen the movie True Grit where teenager Mattie Ross is determined to bring her father’s killer to justice. The first step on her journey is to engage Marshal Rooster Cogburn to take on this task with her. She chooses him because he is a man of “grit”—a man who gets things done. In the end, Mattie shows the most “grit”: she took on a task of which she had no expertise, she did her research and found the right man for the job, and she pushed through all the obstacles time after time until the job was done.
In Angela Duckworth’s book Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance, Angela explains why “grit” is one characteristic you should be looking for when hiring new people. She even provides a 12 point Grit scale and a formula for achievement.
Talent x Effort = Skill
Skill x Effort = Achievement
Notice that effort is counted twice. When you work hard, when you persevere, you can achieve your goal. When you work hard, when you have passion, when you persevere (even when it seems beyond your skills to achieve your goal), you have grit.
In boot camp, the military sets goals and pushes individuals to achieve those goals. The work is hard, the recruits hit the wall over and over again, but they are pushed on until they reach the goals. In the process, they learn more about themselves and that they can accomplish more than they thought they could. “Boot camp” is a technique used by sports team and even weight-loss clinics. But boot camp isn’t the end; it’s the beginning of pushing yourself to be better.
However, most of us don’t go to boot camp. We just wake up each morning and get on with our lives. So take a minute, and think back over your life. What is your proudest achievement? Mostly likely it’s one that took a lot of work and perseverance. For many, this achievement began with a failure, which spurred them on to try again, to succeed where they once failed. Pete Carroll would have never won the Super Bowl with the Seattle Seahawks if he hadn’t been fired from his first NFL coaching job. That failure led him to reassess his goals, examine his actions, and try again.
Bottom Line: With True Grit, your goals and tasks are achievable.