Why grit is the key to success (& not luck or talent)

In Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance, psychologist Angela Lee Duckworth shows that the secret to success is not talent but rather “a special blend of passion and persistence she calls grit”. In South Africa, we would call this “vasbyt”. And while I do think talent has something to do with success, in the end, the ability to push through is what will get you to where you want to be.

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There is no such thing as overnight success

As Richard Branson says, it takes years to become an overnight success. Social media is only a highlights reel and when you start hearing about someone, they’ve probably been going for longer than you think. Look at how old these tech companies are turning this year to see how long they’ve been going for.

Grit explains this perfectly.

“…there are no shortcuts to excellence. Developing real expertise, figuring out really hard problems, it all takes time―longer than most people imagine….you’ve got to apply those skills and produce goods or services that are valuable to people.

READ MORE: 2018 goals & tech tips to help you be more productive

Actionable advice you can start using now

In order to make your life exceptional, the author says that you need to have an interest in what you do, you need to practice, have a sense of purpose and hope for the future. Here are some pointers that are simple enough to start implementing today:

  • Start with easy, baby steps goals that form part of your long-term goals
  • While it’s important to do what you love, it’s even more important to stay committed to doing what you love
  • Practice does make perfect but practice intelligently so that you don’t get stuck on autopilot
  • You will be faced with challenges, and grit will get you through those hard times

key to success: grit book club pick

While the idea of hard work as the key to success is nothing new, what makes Duckworth’s Grit an interesting read is the case studies. According to Seth Godin, “There is no shortage of remarkable ideas, what’s missing is the will to execute them”. And by reading Grit, you’ll figure this out pretty quickly as well as how to execute your ideas.

To get a taste of Grit, watch Angela Duckworth’s TedTalk below.

Angela Lee Duckworth’s Grit TEDTalk


Still here? That’s awesome. Why not check out 12 quotes by women in tech to inspire you?

If you’re on GoodReads let me know. I’d love to see what you’re reading as well as what is on your reading list this year. 

I'd love to chat to you some more.


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