Since starting this blog, I’ve been on the verge of quitting at least a thousand times. Blogging requires self discipline, but more than that, it requires you to continuously see the big picture even when you get mired in the details. And if I’m being honest, I tend to be someone who sometimes gets caught looking at life by the day rather than as a whole. If this doesn’t make sense to you, think of it this way: you can’t read a book with your nose pressed against a page. And, hey, don’t we all want to read the story?
The Secret to Success
As you all know, I’ve recently been obsessed with the TED Radio Hour. Podcasts are one of my favorite things to listen to when I commute (when I’m not having one-person dance parties to Skrillex). In a recent episode, a business consultant-turned teacher-turned psychologist named Angela Lee Duckworth talked about the number one indicator of success across all the people she’s studied: grit.
“Grit is passion and perseverance for very long term goals. Grit is having stamina. Grit is sticking with your future day in, day out, not just for the week, not just for the month, but for years.” – Angela Lee Duckworth
Duckworth explains that in every single circumstance, it’s not the subjects with more wealth, better looks, or higher IQs who succeed; it’s the ones who can stick with it for the long run. The ones who are willing to fail, get back up, and start over.
It reminds me of another piece on success that resonated with me — an article in Inc. magazine, in which Ariana Huffington talks about failures as stepping stones to success. “My mother used to call failure a stepping-stone to success, as opposed to the opposite of success. When you frame failure that way, it changes dramatically what you’re willing to do, how you’re willing to invent, and the risks you’ll take,” explains Huffington.
Why Run the Marathon?
The “marathon, not a sprint” explanation (above) made me think of this blog, and about how whenever I’m about to walk away it’s because I’m thinking only of what’s going to be happening in the next week, or what’s been happening in the past month. But the reason I keep going is because of the bigger picture. Because the blog is part of my identity now. Because it’s connected me with so many wonderful people. Because I’ve been given so many opportunities — including my awesome job — that I never would have had before.
So even though a quarter of the year has already come and gone, I’m making a resolution for 2014: to develop more grit. Not just with blogging, but with all of my goals. It will involve working on gratitude, getting clear on goals, and seeing possibilities rather than roadblocks — all things we’ll talk about in the coming weeks.
Is grit one of your natural characteristics? Is it something you work on daily? If you, too, want to develop more grit I’d love to have you along for the ride. I’ll be tweeting and instagramming with hashtag #grit2014.