Passion + Persistence = Success
I am fortunate that I get to work with a lot of very passionate people. Whatever their thing is, it lights them up. It gives them purpose. It drives them.
When I see someone get a clear glimpse of their purpose, I see someone who is truly alive. And when that aliveness results in a paycheck, they’re on fire!
Passion is beautiful.
But following your passion is difficult. It’s like looking for a lighthouse in the fog. We try to move toward it, keeping it in sight, but we wind up stuck on a pile of rocks. Suffering. Waiting for the next tide to come in.
At some point all of this suffering wears us out. We start to think we don’t have what it takes to succeed. We find something safe . . . and get stuck again.
Passion can feel like a curse.
The fact is if you’re really going to go for it, it’s going to get hard. You will stumble. You’ll have long stretches of painful self-doubt. It will suck. Big time.
During these periods of darkness, it’s easy to tell ourselves that the people we see succeeding are luckier or more talented than we are. But behind the greatest successes are a long series failures and a lot of mundane tasks repeated again and again. Success results from effort sustained over a long period of time.
Angela Duckworth is a pioneering psychologist in the study of achievement. In her latest book, Grit, Duckworth shows that outstanding achievement is not a result of talent, but a powerful combination of passion and persistence that she calls grit.
“From the very beginning to the very end, it is inestimably important to learn to keep going even when things are difficult, even when we have doubts. At various points, in big ways and small, we get knocked down. If we stay down, grit loses. If we get up, grit prevails.”
After following new cadets at the Beast Barracks at West Point (the most physically and emotionally demanding part of the four year training), Duckworth developed the Grit Scale to test one’s level of grit on a scale of 1 (not at all gritty) to 5 (extremely gritty).
I’m a 3.9, which puts me in the 60th percentile.
And that’s disappointing. I’d like to be extremely gritty. Unstoppably gritty. But it turns out that there is good news.
Our grit score is not fixed. Grit is something that we can grow. After interviewing thousands of paragons of grit, Duckworth outlines the four traits that strengthen Grit.
Interest + time = grit. Interest is the seed of passion. The more interested you are in something the more likely you are to stick with it over time. So be genuinely interested in what you are doing.
Practice + time = grit. Practice leads to mastery. Once you’re interested in something, devote yourself to developing the skills you need through daily practice — an hour a day, week after week, month after month, year after year–you’re a master.
Purpose + time = grit. Interest without purpose is difficult to sustain. Paragons of grit believe that their work matters for the greater good. Find the greater purpose in what you do.
Hope + time = grit. Hope helps us to rise to the occasion again and again. This is more than a matter of having faith in the universe. It’s the belief that, if we give our best effort, sooner or later we will accomplish our goals.
Our potential is one thing. What we do with it is another.
You rock. Let it be known.
PS: If you are looking for a fresh perspective on your marketing and some action-oriented coaching, I offer ½ hour and 1 hour consultations that you can book through my online scheduler.
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Susan Hughes is a writer, designer, speaker, and marketing enthusiast. She blogs about the intersection of marketing and humanity. www.marketersforhumanity.com.
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