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  • Many of you have probably seen Angela Duckworth's TED Talk on Grit, which gave an excellent

  • bird's eye view on the topic.

  • Her talk inspired and intrigued me, so I picked up her book titled GritThe Power of Passion

  • and Perseverance which dived deeper into the topic.

  • In this video, I'll be summarizing the key points from this insightful book and include

  • anecdotes from my own life as well.

  • What's going on guys?

  • J from MedSchoolInsiders.com.

  • For those of you who are new to this channel, my name is J and I just heard a plastic surgery

  • residency.

  • You can learn more about life behind the scenes on my Instagram, link is in the description

  • below.

  • Now Angela Duckworth is an academic, psychologist and author.

  • She has been awarded various accolades for her research of grit and self-control, and

  • is currently at University of Pennsylvania where she also received her Ph.D. In psychology.

  • The term grit has become somewhat of a buzz word in education policy, and we have Angela

  • Duckworth to thank for that.

  • The key message of the book is best summarized with this quote from Dr. Duckworth: “When

  • I get knocked down, I'll get back up.

  • I may not be the smartest person in the room, but I'll strive to be the grittiest.”

  • We will go over not only what grit is, but why you should care about it, and how to cultivate

  • it yourself.

  • So first, What is Grit?

  • Angela shares an anecdote about the United States Military Academy named West Point – a

  • highly competitive four year academy.

  • In selecting applicants, the admissions officers relied heavily on the Whole Candidate Score,

  • which includes academic scores, leadership abilities, and fitness.

  • However, it was not a reliable predictor of who would make it through Beast.

  • Beast Barracks, formally known as Cadet Basic Training, is a 7 week process that turns people

  • accepted into West Point from civilians to cadets.

  • It is notoriously trying and many don't make it through.

  • Interestingly, talent had little to do with who made it throughit wasn't a lack

  • of ability.

  • Rather, they had the wrong attitude.

  • Those who made it through consistently demonstrated a “never give upattitude.

  • Angela goes on to explain that the highly accomplished in any field were paragons of

  • perseverance, meaning they were a perfect example of someone who is doggedly determined

  • and does not give up.

  • What's the reason these people were more likely to be successful?

  • There was no realistic expectation of ever catching up to their ambitions.

  • In their own eyes, they were never good enough.

  • They were the opposite of complacent.

  • And yet, they were still satisfied with being unsatisfied.

  • Each was chasing something of unparalleled interest and importance, and it was the chaseas

  • much as the capturethat was gratifying.

  • Even if some of the things they had to do were boring, or frustrating, or even painful,

  • they wouldn't dream of giving up.

  • My video on how to Loving the process goes into exactly this.

  • Check out the link above.

  • The highly successful had an insatiable determination that manifested in two ways.

  • First, they were unusually resilient and hardworking.

  • Second, they knew in a very deep way what it was they wanted.

  • It wasn't just determination, but also direction.

  • This combination of passion and perseverance made high achievers stand out from everyone

  • else.

  • In a word, we say they have grit.

  • Grit has two components: passion and perseverance.

  • Dr. Duckworth created the Grit Scale to measure grit and associate it with outcomes.

  • On the Grit Scale, half of the questions are about perseverance, and the other have are

  • about passion.

  • At West Point, the Grit Scale was the single best predictor, much better than the Whole

  • Candidate Score, at predicting who would make it through Beast.

  • Here are some other examples.

  • Those who scored higher on the Grit Scale were more likely to graduate school on schedule,

  • they were more likely to perform better at spelling bees.

  • Spelling bee outcomes were more closely tied with grit than they were with verbal intelligence.

  • If you want to take the Grit Scale, I've included a link in the description below.

  • Be as honest as you can with yourself and it will point out areas of strength and weakness.

  • Check it out it is a lot of fun.

  • Those who achieve excellence are remarkable in 3 ways: they demonstrate 1) unusual ability,

  • 2) exceptional zeal and 3) the capacity for hard labor.

  • Now you may say, but your intrinsic abilities are not limitless.

  • Not all of us could be Elon Musk, even if we worked our butts off.

  • That's true, we do have limits.

  • Trees don't grow into the sky.

  • But these boundaries of where we will ultimately stop improving are irrelevant for the majority

  • of us.

  • Most of us never even get close.

  • National surveys have demonstrated that most Americans believe that effort is more important

  • than talent.

  • However, studies have shown that we have a bias that points in the opposite direction.

  • We love naturals.

  • In one study, subjects listen to a short clip of individuals playing a piano.

  • The listeners do not know, but its the same pianist and the same piece, just different

  • segments.

  • They are told that one pianist is a natural and the other is a hard worker with great

  • deals of motivation and perseverance.

  • Thenaturalpianist is consistently judged as more likely to succeed and more

  • hirable.

  • So what's the problem with our preoccupation with talent?

  • By shining our spotlight on talent, we risk leaving everything else in the dark.

  • We essentially tell ourselves and others that other factors, including grit, don't matter

  • as much as they truly do.

  • Have you noticed that when you spot someone who is incredibly good at something you generally

  • describe them as talented?

  • Why is it that we do this?

  • Is it true?

  • Possibly, but the reason we jump to talent is the following: If we cannot explain how

  • an athlete, musician, or anyone else has done something jaw-droppingly amazing, we're

  • inclined to credit it to talent, as being a gift that cannot be taught.

  • What we fail to see are the countless hours spent mastering a craft, training hard, the

  • blood, sweat, and tears of the process that ultimately produced such amazing results.

  • Greatness is the sum of several individual feats, and each one of them is doable.

  • Another reason we choose to credit amazing feats to talent is our own vanity.

  • That's right, its because of our own obsession with ourselves and our own limiting believes.

  • This quote sums it up best: “Our vanity, our self-love, promotes the cult of genius.

  • For if we think of genius as something magical, we are not obliged to compare ourselves and

  • find ourselves lacking.

  • To call someone 'divine' means: 'here there is no need to compete.'”

  • In other words, talent lets us off the hookit lets us relax into the status quo.

  • But it's important to remember that talent is not everything.

  • In fact, talent is just a small part of the equation.

  • Talent is how quickly your skills improve when you invest effort.

  • Achievement is what happens when you take your acquired skills and use them.

  • Angela Duckworth summarizing this point with the following equation for success, which

  • is based on years of teaching, coaching, and research.

  • Talent x Effort = Skill, Skill x Effort = Achievement.

  • Therefore, Talent x Effort^2 = Achievement Talenthow fast we improve in a skill

  • absolutely matters.

  • But effort factors into the equation twice.

  • Effort not only builds skill, it also makes the skill productive.

  • With this equation, someone twice as talented but half as hardworking as another person

  • might reach the same level of skill but still produce dramatically less over time.

  • As any coach or athlete will tell you, consistency of effort over the long run is everything.

  • Woody Allen said thatMy observation was that once a person actually completed a play

  • or a novel he was well on his way to getting it produced or published, as opposed to a

  • vast majority of people who tell me their ambition is to write, but who strike out on

  • the very first level and indeed never write the play or book.”

  • You may know his quote which sums it up quite nicely: “Eighty percent of success in life

  • is showing up.”

  • Another brilliant quote from Will Smith: “The separation of talent and skill is one of the

  • greatest misunderstood concepts for people who are trying to excel, who have dreams,

  • who want to do things.

  • Talent you have naturally.

  • Skill is only developed by hours and hours and hours of beating on your craft.”

  • Angela Duckworth adds that skill is not the same thing as achievement, either.

  • Without effort, your talent is nothing more than your unmet potential.

  • Without effort, your skill is nothing more than what you could have done but didn't.

  • With effort, talent becomes skill and, at the very same time, effort makes skill productive.

  • For a lot of people, passion is synonymous with infatuation or obsession.

  • But in interviews about what it takes to succeed, high achievers often talk about commitment

  • of a different kind.

  • Rather than intensity, what comes up again and again in their remarks is the idea of

  • consistency over time.

  • Now, pay attention: ENTHUSIASM IS COMMON.

  • ENDURANCE IS RARE.

  • Angela Duckworth describes having a life philosophy as an important guiding factor in leading

  • a gritty life.

  • One example she mentions isdoing things better than they have ever been done before.”

  • These top-level goals are also calledultimate concern”, and serve as a compass that gives

  • direction and meaning to all the goals below it.

  • This should not be a “passionin the traditional sense.

  • Rather, this is something you truly care about in an abiding, loyal steady way.

  • You are pointing in the same direction, ever eager to take even the smallest step forward

  • than to take a step to the side or toward some other destination.

  • Some may call your focus obsessive.

  • You call it having priorities in order.

  • Here's a toxic habit that many of us practice: positive fantasizing.

  • This is when you indulge in visions of a positive future without figuring out how to get there.

  • You talk about, I'm gonna be a doctor or I'm gonna be a NBA player, but you don't focus

  • on the mid-level or lower-level goals that help get you there.

  • This positive fantasizing is toxic, as in the short term you feel great about your aspiration

  • to be a doctor.

  • But in the long term, you live with the disappointment of not having achieved your goal.

  • The idea that every waking moment of our lives should be guided by a single top-level goal

  • may be too extreme for you.

  • However, you should be able to agree that you can pare down long lists of mid-level

  • and low-level goals and prioritize the ones that actually matter most.

  • The more unified, aligned, and coordinated our goal hierarchies, the better.

  • So, How to Be One of the Greats Angela goes over the fascinating Cox's study of Eminent

  • geniuses born from 1450 to 1850.

  • As a group, accomplished historical figures ARE smarter than most of us.

  • That's not surprising.

  • But what is surprising is that IQ mattered surprisingly little in distinguishing the

  • most from the least accomplished.

  • The average childhood IQ of the most eminent geniuses was approximately 146.

  • The average IQ of the least eminent was 143.

  • The spread was trivial.

  • In other words, the relationship between intelligence and eminence is very slight.

  • Not all of the high achievers had earned high marks in school.

  • Rather, what set apart the eminent from the rest of humanity were a cluster of four indicators.

  • These were also the factors that distinguished the most eminent from the least eminent in

  • his study group.

  • Cox called these the persistence of motive, and summarized his findings with the following:

  • high but not the highest intelligence, combined with the greatest degree of persistence,

  • will achieve greater eminence than the highest degree of intelligence with somewhat less

  • persistence.”

  • Sound familiar?

  • Cox essentially is referring to the same thing as Angela Duckworth when she speaks about

  • Grit.

  • One part is passion, and the other part is perseverance.

  • So, Who is Gritty?

  • Like many things in life, including one's height, or even personal traits like honesty

  • and generosity, one part is influenced by genetics, the other by one's environment.

  • A fascinating study of teenage twins in the UK estimated that the heritability of the

  • perseverance subscale is 37%, and the passion subscale is 20%.

  • There's no single gene for grit, or any psychological trait for that matter.

  • These factors which are relevant to life success are influenced by both genes and the environment.

  • As I'm sure many of you have heard, the millennial generation is notoriously ungritty.

  • When looking at the average Grit Scale across ages, those who are >70 years are grittiest,

  • likely because they grow up in a different cultural era, perhaps one in which sustained

  • passion and perseverance were more emphasized than in current day.

  • That's one way of looking at the data.

  • The other way is to say that the generations and cultures have nothing to do with it.

  • Instead, it may be a reflection of aging and maturation over time.

  • Grit grows as we figure out our life philosophy, learn to get up after we fall down, and understand

  • the difference between low-level goals that should be abandoned versus higher-level goals

  • that necessitate greater tenacity.

  • So is the difference due to variances in culture or due to maturity and aging?

  • It's hard to say, but likely a combination of the two.

  • It's important to remember that like every aspect of your psychological character, grit

  • is more plastic than you may think.

  • Before you all go, I am excited to announce that Med School Insiders now has a Patreon

  • page.

  • This is going to be an awesome tool in creating a stronger Med School Insiders community and

  • it will also allow me to connect with you all on a more personal level.

  • So check it out.

  • If you can't become a patron, that's alright, thank you for your support and I will see

  • you guys in that next one.

  • Alright guys thank you all so much for watching.

  • That is it for part one, move on to part two where you can learn about concrete steps to

  • become grittier.

Many of you have probably seen Angela Duckworth's TED Talk on Grit, which gave an excellent

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