In our culture much is made of natural ability. But natural ability is nothing without grit. In fact, without grit, natural ability can actually be wasted.
Recent science tells us that grit can accurately determine who will graduate from high school or West Point or even win a spelling bee. In other words, grit is an indicator whether someone will reach their potential or not.
But what is grit? Where does it come from? Can you develop grit if you don’t have it? And what does this have to do with content marketing?
Fortunately, these are the questions Jerod and Demian tackle in this week’s episode of The Lede. Not to mention there’s a fun Grit quiz you can take to determine how much grit you have.
In this 34-minute episode you’ll also discover:
- Why the way you’ve been thinking about talent is all wrong
- What people who don’t have grit can do to develop it (it’s boring, but works)
- The daily mindset that sets you up for achieving more of your goals
- The six-minute must-watch video on grit
- The proven secret to staying motivated for the long run
- One thing grit will never overcome
- Which host of The Lede has more grit
Listen to Copyblogger FM: Content Marketing, Copywriting, Freelance Writing, and Social Media Marketing below ...
The Show Notes
- Grit by Bob Lefsetz
- Angela Duckworth’s TED Talk
- Why Tough Teachers Get Good Results
- Grit: Perseverance and Passion for Long-Term Goals
- 12-item Grit Scale
- The Neuroscience of Perseverance
- Clay Shirky on Fame
- The Price of Greatness
Proof That Grit Is the Only Way to Reach Your Potential
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Jerod Morris: You’re a jackass.
Demian Farnworth: Why?
Jerod Morris: Because you set it up like your score was so bad at 3.8 something.
Demian Farnworth: Welcome back, everybody, to The Lede, a podcast about content marketing that is produced by CopyBlogger Media and hosted by me, Demian Farnworth, and the Jerod Morris, one of our Rainmaker.FM VPs. Thank you for spending the next half hour with us.
OK, so I had this policy that I’m about to break. It says, ‘Honor the absent.’ You probably recognize that as a Stephen Covey concept. ‘Honor the absent’ basically says don’t talk bad about people if they are not in the same room with you.
Well, Jerod, at this moment is not in the same room with me, so being human, it’s only natural I talk about him. Of course, I’m not going to say anything bad about him. I’ve only got love for my friend. However, I will say this, who do you think has more grit? He or I? Who has more perseverance? If you put us against each other in some grit contest or a perseverance battle, who do you think would come out on top? Me or Jerod?
Fortunately for you, in this episode, we do just that. Jerod and I battle it out for the grit bragging rights. Of course, we do it in the most white-collar way possible. We take a quiz. That quiz, dear listener, you can take, too. Who knows? You may be crowned the champion of grit. On to the show.
Why the Way You’ve Been Thinking about Talent Is All Wrong
Jerod Morris: Our last episode of The Lede, we talked about failure and this idea of ‘failing forward.’ I opened with a story about Michael Jordan, an old commercial that highlighted all of his failures, this guy that was known for success. For me, as you may have heard over many episodes of The Lede, I relate a lot of things to sports because it’s just my background. I think especially these topics of failure — and then today’s topic of perseverance and practice — sports examples, analogies, really are great ways to illustrate them.
As I was thinking about this topic of ‘perseverance,’ one guy came to mind. Anybody who’s a fan of the NBA is probably aware now of a guy named Victor Oladipo. He plays for the Orlando Magic. He’s in his second year, and he’s emerging as a potential superstar in the NBA, which is surprising if you know of his recruitment at Indiana University. He was not a top 100 recruit. He was kind of this unheralded guy. He played at DeMatha, so he came from a very good high school program, but didn’t even start. He was a sixth man. No one really had high of hopes for him when he came into Indiana.
He came into a team that wasn’t very good. The team went 10-21 his first year, tons and tons of failure. But one thing started to become clear about Victor Oladipo to those of us who follow the team closely, and that is that this guy, he had athletic ability. He had the requisite athletic ability that you need to compete at a high level, but it was his work ethic and the way that his skills kept developing.
He came in as a guy who couldn’t shoot and left as a guy who made nearly 50 percent of his three-point shooters after his third year. Came into a team that went 10-21 and wasn’t very good — his third year, they won a Big Ten championship, and they’re the No. 1 seed. He ended up being the No. 2 pick in the NBA draft. The guy who wasn’t even a top 100 recruit in high school, the No. 2 pick in his draft class.
What People Who Don’t Have Grit Can Do to Develop It (It’s Boring, but Works)
The lesson that I’ve always taken from Victor, who is by all accounts just a great kid, a great guy — and he’s become one of my favorite athletes — is that talent is important. You have to have certain abilities for certain endeavors. If you’re going to be a singer, you have to have certain vocal qualities. If you’re going to be an athlete, you have to have certain athletic abilities. But it doesn’t make up for the importance of grit and for perseverance.
Over time, all these guys who were considered better players, considered more talented players, Victor kept passing them up because he just worked harder and persevered more. When other guys would go home, he would stay in the gym and keep working. This is a guy who, to go back to our discussion from last week, he was so afraid of failure that he just kept trying to out-prepare so that he would eventually put himself in a position to succeed.
Again, I know not everybody here is going to be as moved by a sports analogy as I am. But to me, it’s just a great example of a guy who used perseverance and used grit to achieve his ultimate goals. Now he’s become one of the best in the world at what he does.
Demian Farnworth: Let me ask you a question, Jerod. Where do you think that grit comes from?
Jerod Morris: I think for him, just knowing his story personally, it comes from his family. He actually has an interesting story where his dad is present with the family, but didn’t go to see any of his games, would not really pay attention to him as an athlete, cared much more about the academic side and everything else and just didn’t put that much into the basketball part. I think part of it was Victor wanting to eventually impress his dad in basketball. That helped to drive him.
I think all of those experiences growing up just made him someone with that internal grit. Like we talked in the last episode, when you succeed, you take that success. You enjoy it. But then you move forward. You don’t dwell on it too much. Same thing with failure. You internalize it, allow it to drive you forward. I just think he’s a guy that has an incredible ability to do that, but to always channel it into hard work that moves him forward.
Demian Farnworth: Do you think you have grit?
Jerod Morris: I think I have some grit. I do. I think I’ve shown it, but I also think that there are times when a project or something I’ve wanted to do, a goal I’ve wanted to achieve, hasn’t happened, and when I look back on those times, I never see it as a lack of ability. I never it see as, “Well, I just couldn’t do that.” I see it as, “I didn’t push forward enough. I didn’t keep going when I could have.”
Demian Farnworth: I ask because as we were preparing for this podcast, I was thinking about this last night — that there was a time in my life where I had no grit. My ultimate purpose in life was to avoid responsibility and have fun. This was into my early 20s where I was perfectly content going to clubs and listening to music and not achieving in anything. But something changed. Part of it was I just felt completely and utterly unfulfilled and wasteful. I, through that journey, came to a point where it’s like, “I like to compete, and I’d like to achieve something. I want to make something of my life.”
Over time, I think I’ve developed that sense of grit, that stick-to-it-iveness, and that ability to work hard to achieve a long-term goal, but I was thinking about this. I didn’t learn that. I feel like it just came up sort of organically. Do you think people can learn grit?
Jerod Morris: I think you can learn it in the sense of you read books and they talk about the importance of grit. I think you can gain an understanding, gain a respect for it, but I don’t know that you truly internalize it until there’s some kind of internal motivation. I think maturity is a part of it. It certainly has been for me.
I look at my ability to persevere and the level of grit now as opposed to 10 years ago, and it’s night and day. Part of that has just been being hardened by life and realizing that, “Hey, if you really want to achieve something worth achieving, usually it’s going to take even more hard work than you think it is.”
Demian Farnworth: Right.
The Daily Mindset That Sets You Up for Achieving More of Your Goals
Jerod Morris: That’s just kind of the reality that you don’t understand until you go through life a little bit. I think there are both. To a certain extent, our brains are like a computer. The output’s going to equal the input. What we put in will help create how we think. So listening to podcasts like this, reading books, having people who discuss this topic will help you recognize its importance.
But you’ve just got to do it. Fight through something. Persevere. See the benefit to yourself. I think that helps you, then, in the future say, “Hey, I got to push through this, because I remember the last time I pushed through something it helped me achieve that goal.”
Demian Farnworth: Right.
Jerod Morris: Do you agree? Is that what you think?
Demian Farnworth: I think so, yeah. I was talking to Kelton Reid the other day because he’s launching his show, podcast. It might be out by the time this is published. So he’s interviewing me, and he asks me, “What makes a great writer?” My stock phrase, what I’ve come to say over time just from having done this for so long and defining what a great writer is, I said, “It’s perseverance. It’s being able to last longer, be the last gal or guy standing because, ultimately, that’s what it comes down to.”
Like you said, there’s so much talent out there. You look at any field, basketball, writing, politics, often there’s so much talent there that it’s ridiculous. It’s the guy or gal who sits down and works hard through that, who perseveres, and who stays up later, who gets up earlier, who puts in the extra work, who determines whether hell or high water, they’re going to finish this. That was my answer to him.
It’s perseverance. I think a great writer — of course, they have to have the talent, and they have to have good quality writing – but, ultimately, what makes somebody great is that they’ve survived the long, dark period of apprenticeship and obscurity and all the other things — survived and were around long enough to leave a body of work.
As I was preparing for this episode to talk about this, I came across, again, research done by a gal named Angela Duckworth, who basically said that grit trumps talent. The first time I was exposed to this idea was in a Bob Lefsetz newsletter. Do you know that?
Jerod Morris: Yeah.
The Six-Minute Must-Watch Video on Grit
Demian Farnworth: He had an email newsletter sent out. I think he just called it Grit. He opened up with Amanda Palmer, who’s kind of become this poster child of the self-publishing DIY movement, Kickstarter movement, but he says, “You know you shouldn’t watch her TED Talk. You should watch Angela Duckworth’s six-minute TED Talk that’s gotten so many fewer views, because you learn about this idea of grit.” I was so excited because I had gotten the answer right, what makes a great writer. I had gotten it right that it was grit and perseverance, but I don’t think I have an answer to this idea of where does grit come from?
I think you’re right. We learn about it. We read books, but you then have to turn that into action. So you and I took this test. Angela Duckworth, she has a grit scale, and you answer 12 questions. It’s a multiple choice questionnaire. Anyway, I guess I’m leading up to this. Where do you fall on that Grit Scale?
Jerod Morris: Well, OK, now before we get to that real quick.
Demian Farnworth: Alright.
Jerod Morris: You brought up something interesting that I do want to hit on, because I bet some people are thinking it — which is this idea of ‘grit versus talent,’ because a lot of times they get put on almost opposite ends of the spectrum. ‘Talent’ is one of those words like ‘failure’ in that it so much depends on your definition of it. Like Sean D’Souza — he was on Sonia Simone’s Confessions of a Pink-Haired Marketer — he talks about how talent, to him, is a reduction of errors. You get that reduction of errors, in part, just by the grit and perseverance to keep trying, keep practicing, and that helps you get better at it.
Since so many people have their different definitions of talent, let’s put that over here. It’s really about natural ability — if you don’t try, how just naturally good are you at something — and then there’s grit and perseverance over here. I think your talent will develop with grit and perseverance. That’s a beautiful part of it. That’s why you get better.
Demian Farnworth: Grit is a mindset.
Jerod Morris: I think so.
The Proven Secret to Staying Motivated for the Long Run
Demian Farnworth: OK. Alright, so this is in The Wall Street Journal. This guy is talking about Angela Duckworth’s research, and it’s number six. He says, “Grit trumps talent.” — I just bring this up, because I think it disagrees with what you’re saying, so this is just a talking point — “In recent years, University of Pennsylvania psychology professor Angela Duckworth has studied spelling bee champs, IVY league undergrads, and cadets at the US Military Academy in West Point, N.Y. – all together, over 2800 subjects. In all of them, she found that grit – defined as passion and perseverance for long term goals – is the best predictor of success. In fact, grit is usually unrelated or even negatively correlated with talent.”
Jerod Morris: Well, no, I agree with that. I think people who find out early on in life that they can’t skate by on natural ability don’t develop that nose-to-the-grindstone, “I’ve got to outwork other people to get the same goals.” When you do, that’s why, to a certain extent, a lot of times in sports and other things really, too, you see that a lot of the really good coaches weren’t always the best players. Like, Peyton Manning is such a ridiculous quarterback, but he may not make a great coach simply because it may be hard for him to relate to most players who don’t have as much natural ability. He may be a bad example because he actually combines grit and talent.
To answer that one, that’s what interesting about grit. As you said, it’s a mindset. It is a mindset, but it’s a mindset that’s got to be followed by action. That’s what grit is. It’s just doing. It’s getting out there doing over and over again. Just keeping hitting the nail, chopping the tree, over and over again. Eventually you get better. Eventually you get towards your goals quicker. Maybe not as quickly as someone else who has a little bit better natural ability or even more starting out talent, but you just make up for that simply with that grit.
One of the reasons why I think it’s such an important topic for a podcast about content marketing is — you talked about it with writing. I’ve talked about it with podcasting. Really with anything that you do, and you mentioned this earlier — perseverance dictates success almost more than anything. The web is littered with blogs that started, were really good, but they fell off after a certain amount of time. It’s those ones that persevere — not only is there more content, not only is there more achievement, but the person gets better, too. What you’re doing two years from now is so much better than what you’re doing now.
Demian Farnworth: That’s interesting because I’m sitting here thinking, “Can anybody be a writer?” My answer was always, “No.” Everybody can write, right? Everybody can write an email. Everybody can write a blog post, but is it good or is it bad? Can you get someone more than your mom to like it?
I say that because, my own journey, I knew that I liked to write, but I like to write poetry. I like it to be self-indulgent, bad poetry. At some point, though, my wife pointed out to me, she’s like, “Demian, what you do is not easy for everybody else.” I’m like, “What are you talking about? Of course it is. Everybody can write.” I had something that she saw. I still don’t know what it was, but she saw something — and she’s one of the people that really encouraged to go in this direction as a writer — but she saw something.
Then I just started writing more and over time. That sense of perseverance grew, because I don’t take kindly to setbacks. I have to watch myself to say like, “OK,” not to sort of shut down and quit something because I’ve hit a roadblock. I’m just thinking about my own life, that I’ve grown in that sense, but it seems that maybe in a way that anybody could … — Is that what we’re saying? That anybody with enough grit could. Clearly, it couldn’t be a quarterback of Peyton Manning’s caliber.
One Thing Grit Will Never Overcome
Jerod Morris: That’s the thing. It gets tricky. There are certain activities that I think there’s a requisite level of some kind of natural talent — whether it’s IQ or even physical ability — that you can’t necessarily control. I think you can become as good as you can be at anything through grit. Maybe someone can’t be a writer like you, because maybe the way that you think and the way that your mind works lends itself more naturally to writing.
Demian Farnworth: Yeah.
Jerod Morris: It’s like math. Some people just have that natural ability with math that all the grit in the world isn’t going to allow me to overcome — which is why it’s so important. You had a mentor that helped push you in the direction of writing, which is where there’s just such a fit for you.
Now writing is what you’re passionate about it. It’s what you’re naturally good at, and you have grit — which is why you’re so good, because all those things are in line. I think people struggle sometimes because maybe they chose an endeavor that, even with so much grit, it’s going to be so hard for them to even get to a certain level.
It’s important that all of those things match up and are in line, which can be hard. Sometimes we need people to point us in the right direction. The big key here is that, all the natural ability in the world, at some point, you’re going to come up against a tough time. There’s no way to actually maximize your potential, which is really what we’re saying — to maximize the potential without grit.
That’s that other ingredient that’s got to be there. That when times get tough, when you do run into something that you just can’t naturally overcome, do you power through it? If you do, now you add an achievement that is going to make you better prepared for success in the future and improve your ability. If you don’t, then maybe you stop when you could have gone forward and achieved even more.
Demian Farnworth: So, as a podcaster, as a writer yourself, one of the things that I struggle with, Clay Shirky has this concept that he’s demonstrated. It’s called Fame Flows to a Few, meaning that, in a democratic, open web, that no matter that we all have an opportunity to have voices, we’re naturally going to gravitate to a few people.
Plus, this is demonstrated in a lot of ways. There’s this book I’ve been reading called The Price of Greatness. This researcher, Arnold L. Ludwig, he’s saying that like there’s only so much room at the top — call it neurosis, obsession, whatever — but I see that, and I’m like, “I could be discouraged by that, but I want to be one of those few.” Whether I make it or not, though, doesn’t really matter.
It gives me something to strive after. It gives me a goal. It gives me an objective. It’s that cliché of ‘shoot for the stars, you might at least get the moon,’ that sort of idea. I remember I used to always struggle with this idea of I always feel like I have to do something great. A good friend of mine said, “Demian, maybe that was put in you on purpose.” I was like, “OK, so I should value that.” Is that grit? Is that part of what of what drives it? Is that something that you’ve run into? What gives you grit?
Jerod Morris: I think what gives you grit is some kind of internal commitment to want to be your best, to not settle for less — which I think maybe early on in life comes from having instilled in you that you are capable of doing things and that you do have abilities to achieve. Then, also, the example that it’s not OK to just settle for something that’s not your best. I think to actually have success doing it, because if you work real hard but you’re not rewarded for it, it’s going to be really hard to continue to have grit in that way.
That’s the thing when we talk about content marketing, building audiences online. At some point, you do need to start to see rewards from it, or you’re moving in a direction that you just shouldn’t be going in — or you’re going to lose your motivation. We’re not robots.
You’ve got to find a way at that critical moment, where it’s like, “OK, I could go either way. I could just stop or I couldn’t.” You’ve got to ask yourself, “Hey, can I do this?” Like right now, I couldn’t make it to the NBA. I know that, so there’s no reason for me to have any grit.
Demian Farnworth: Even try.
Jerod Morris: It’s like with my basketball podcast. At the start of this year, I said I want to have 1000 people on our email list, which seemed crazy, because we had like 100 or something. It seemed crazy, but guess what? By the time the season ended, we had almost a 1000, because I didn’t quit, decided to power through it, thought, “You know what? I can do this, and there’s a reason to do it, and it’s worthwhile,” and that grit really paid off. Now you can bet there will be even more grit now moving forward, because there was a reward there. But there was really hard work to get it. It wasn’t just handed.
Demian Farnworth: Right.
Jerod Morris: It was like, “I really earned this,” and I think that helps. That experience helps to internalize the importance of grit and make it even easier to display grit the next time it’s needed.
Demian Farnworth: Yeah. You talking about rewards is appropriate, because I think without those rewards, there is no sense of doing it. You hear these war stories of prisoners of war being made to build walls or to dig ditches and then to either tear those walls down or fill those ditches just the next day, to do it again. There is no sense of accomplishment there. It’s meant to wear down their defenses and wear down their grit in a sense.
That idea of rewards, there’s this interesting article on Psychology Today. It was written back in 2011 by a guy named Christopher Bergland, and it’s called The Neuroscience of Perseverance. The sub-headline is Dopamine Reinforces the Habit of Perseverance. It’s this idea of how you can actually train yourself to have more grit basically by treating it like when you have a success, when you complete a goal – and we talked about this in the last episode — that idea of celebrating your successes.
It’s like imagining yourself having a joy stick, and then once you hit a goal, hit that joystick and imagine yourself getting a hit of dopamine, because dopamine is the reward center. When you have more dopamine, it increases that feeling of pleasure.
His point in this article is, when you persevere, imagine yourself as that being a pleasurable experience. He makes this point that, often, we think of perseverance or grit as a thing that we have to suffer through, that it’s one of pain, which it’s discomfort, right? He says instead of having that sadistic idea of perseverance or grit, have more of a pleasurable, that this is fun.
I think about this, too. I like to run long distances. Every time I say that to people, it’s like they groan or whatever. And I’m always like, “I enjoy that.” I get a lot of pleasure because of the way, not only it makes me feel, but I enjoy that thought of just being able to travel long distances on my legs alone. I’m sure the same physical activities for you — we, in a lot of ways, exercise for pleasurable reasons. The same point being with grit. We change our viewpoint of grit. Instead of saying, “OK, I’m going to have to suffer through this,” it’s like, “This is going to be a pleasurable time.”
Jerod Morris: Yeah. I think there’s actually a next level of grit. Call it ‘true grit’ or whatever you want, where you reach a point where you could not do something. No one would think less of you. You might even be able to rationalize it. Yet you push forward anyway. You still achieve it. I think that there’s something even extra there. It’s like running.
If Bryan Clark emailed you tomorrow and said, “Hey, by the way, part of being Chief Content Writer is you have to run 10 miles a day to keep your job,” you would do it. You would probably grit your teeth and do it, but I don’t think you would get the same internal reward because you have to do it, right?
Demian Farnworth: Right.
Jerod Morris: By choice, you go out when everybody else would say, “Hey, yeah, you don’t need to do this.” Even you might say, “I don’t need to do this, but I’m going to do it anyway.” When you reach that level of grit, that you can do that in anything, in any type of endeavor. When you reach that, where it’s so internal, then these rewards, the dopamine, all of that stuff, is going to be greater.
Then your ability to achieve is going to continue to get greater, which is why I think it’s so important. It’s important to recognize it, too, and recognize those moments — those critical moments where it’s like, “OK, I can go one way or the other, am I going to choose grit?” It’s a big opportunity for each of us individually. Because when we do, we’re going to be better for it.
Demian Farnworth: The reason I’m pushing the point of how do we improve grit is, obviously, practical reasons for our listeners, but also, too, because I’m not too happy about my results from the Grit Scale.
Jerod Morris: We don’t know each other’s results, either, by the way. We did this right before we started recording. We did not reveal to each other what our results were on this grit scale.
Demian Farnworth: I’ll go first, but let me just say this, remind listeners. This was a 12-question test, and you answered it. Questions like, ‘I have overcome setbacks to conquer an important challenge,’ then with choices like ‘very much like me,’ ‘mostly like me,’ ‘somewhat like me,’ ‘not much like me,’ ‘not like me at all.’ We will also have the link to this — it’s free — in the show notes, so you can get it done.
Jerod Morris: We encourage you to comment with your score as well.
Which Host of The Lede Has More Grit
Demian Farnworth: Yeah, that would be great to hear. You answer these 12 questions. There’s a scoring scale that you go through. That total is then divided by 12. That’s why my score came down to decimal points, and I was desperately wanting more of those decimal points. Mine was 3.83 out of a scale of 5, meaning 5 is you’re the grittiest damn person in the world.
Jerod Morris: You’re a jackass.
Demian Farnworth: Why?
Jerod Morris: Because you set it up like your score was so bad at 3.8 something. I got 3.58 — which I do want to say, the questions were difficult.
Demian Farnworth: Very difficult.
Jerod Morris: It’s like, ‘My interests change from year to year.’ Well, yeah, some of my interests do. It’s ‘very much like me’ …
Demian Farnworth: I wasn’t sure how to answer that, you know?
Jerod Morris: I know.
Demian Farnworth: There were a few questions like that.
Jerod Morris: ‘New ideas or projects sometimes distract me from previous ones.’ Well, yeah, of course, sometimes. If it happens one time, does that it make it ‘very much’? Like we said, maybe part of the genius of this test is seeing how you see yourself in the gray area.
Demian Farnworth: I think so, yeah. The question then, we walk away from it, we’re so not far from each other in that sense, and I kind of had a hunch that we would be close together. I remember we were having this conversation with Sonia Simon on an editorial call, and I said something like, “You know what? I just don’t care. Generally, I just don’t care.” She’s like, “Well that’s a very Zen thing.”
I didn’t think about it that way, but I was like, “Well, I don’t know if that or more, it’s just indifference.” It’s that paradox that I’ve talked about — this sense of, “I want to be great at what I do.” But at the same time, I have to balance that out with a sense of, “If I’m not, no big deal. Who really cares? In the end who really cares?”
Jerod Morris: Yeah, but you care.
Demian Farnworth: I do.
Jerod Morris: You say that, but your work is not indifferent, though.
Demian Farnworth: Sure. Well, yeah, I have to qualify that, of course. I do care. Yeah, I do care about things. In the long run, it’s always put into perspective, because I want to bring visibility to Copyblogger. I want to please my peers and my bosses. I want to generally do great work. I guess it’s that ‘I don’t care’ is in the bigger perspective of things. I say that, though, because I didn’t expect to be ‘grittiest,’ like a 5, because I know I’m not. If I hit a roadblock, I’m not going to do whatever it takes to get through that roadblock.
I have this metaphor of my personality type is one of phlegmatic. One of these ideas that there’s phlegmatic, there’s the melancholic, there’s the choleric, and there’s the sanguine. Sanguine is the outgoing. The choleric is the leader take charge, like butt their heads. If they’re going to siege a castle, the choleric would be the one who would bring full fire power.
It’s the Thomas Edison approach. It’s like, “We don’t get out of this lab until we’ve got an answer to this. Whether it’s 36, we’re not going to eat. We’re not going to sleep.” The sanguine would try to talk to people into opening the doors and would be pleasurable people. The melancholic, I’m not even sure how they would approach it, but the phlegmatic would be like, “I’m going to take a nap right now. This is hard. I’m going to take a nap.”
I remember reading this anecdote about this one guy who was trying to move this band saw from one part of his factory to the other part. He was having help. They had to move it through this door at one point, and it got stuck. This just infuriated this business owner so much that he grabbed it by the saw and just yanked it through. He ended up in the hospital, gashed to the bone, but he got that band saw through the door. I think he would be probably a 6 on this 5-point scale. I’m just not there. I don’t have that kind of grit, which I’m OK with.
Jerod Morris: Yeah. You’re a well-adjusted person. We’re talking about grit in this work sense.
Demian Farnworth: Yeah.
Jerod Morris: You realize that there are higher things that mean more — your faith, your family, and all those things — that allow you to not maybe take work so seriously. You still have grit when it comes to achieving and wanting to be your best.
Demian Farnworth: Yeah.
Jerod Morris: It’s perhaps a distinction. I also think, when it comes to this test, this Grit Scale, I wonder if someone who truly had 5-point grit would ever actually get it by answering on this scale. I feel like someone who’s truly gritty always feel like there’s a little bit more something they can do. They’re never fully satisfied. I feel like people who have real grit would be predisposed to not giving the full, “Oh this is ‘very much like me.’ This is ‘very much like me.’” I feel like they would think there is something missing.
Demian Farnworth: Right.
Jerod Morris: I actually think that, probably, the sweet spot of this exam is somewhere in the 3.5 to the 3.9 range. My guess is that.
Demian Farnworth: Of course.
Jerod Morris: That’s where true grit lies.
Demian Farnworth: Of course, of course. Yeah. It’s fun, but ultimately, it’s like you said, just becomes part of the journey.
Jerod Morris: It’s about self-awareness, which is important. We need to be self-aware.
Demian Farnworth: That’s right. Well, anything else, Jerod?
Jerod Morris: I don’t think so. I think I’m ready to now go exercise grit in my work day.
Demian Farnworth: I think I’m going to go take a nap.
Jerod Morris: Alright, man, I will talk to you on the next episode of The Lede.
Demian Farnworth: That sounds good, buddy. Good talking to you, Jerod. Buh-bye.
So folks, another day, another dollar, and another episode of The Lede is in the bag. If you are still with us, thank you for your time. Thank you for your attention. As they say at the club, “You don’t have to go home, but you can’t stay here.”
Before you mosey on your way, let me ask you a question. What do you think about grit? About talent? What are your views on exams like the grit quiz? Are you suspicious of such exams? Are you suspicious of labels in general? I know I am.
Of course, the thing to keep in mind is the grit score is not something to wave around. It’s not a badge of honor or your clout score. It is a self-assessment — an opportunity to learn more about yourself. There is no perfect score. You are not a failure if you don’t ace it, which is how I felt. The nice part of the quiz is that each question allows you to think back on specific situations. Questions like, ‘Setbacks don’t discourage me,’ you start thinking back to specific setbacks. Then you start wondering how you could approach those situations differently.
This quiz, in essence, is an opportunity to evaluate your past work. It’s what you can learn about yourself on this journey. It’s certainly not about the label or category it puts you under, because there is no label. There is no category. In fact, just going through the quiz is a way of exercising your grit muscle.
Don’t be afraid to take it. The link is in the show notes. It will take you less than 10 minutes to do it. Once you do, share your scores with Jerod and I. Leave them in the comments in the blog, or share them on Twitter. We’d love to hear from you.
Until then, take care.
Peter David Grant says
I got exactly 4! How gritty I really am though, only time, and future success will tell!
Demian Farnworth says
Dude, you are the reigning champ!
David Oragui says
I agree with most of what you both have said, this is a very interesting concept and something everyone should try to develop. Grit for me is something which is cultivated inside, it can’t be taught or learned in the traditional sense, however it can be developed and strengthened.
That being said, I think the idea of having a reward is good for achieving goals for most people, but for me personally it doesn’t matter. I kind of had to push my external rewards/expectations to the side, in order to achieve my goals. At the end, I usually end up exceeding my original goals in the first place.
Great podcast, keep up the great work!
Demian Farnworth says
So it sounds like you are driven more by internal reasons/rewards, David? For the joy of the journey or something like that?
Thanks for the kind words on the show!
David Oragui says
Yes! That’s it.
I no longer ‘care’, if I don’t achieve my goals to the decimal.
I care, but I don’t get overly disappointed if I don’t manage to achieve them, as long as I did everything in my power to strive towards them each day.
You’re welcome! =]
I scored a 4.63. My husband grinned and said, “Was that measuring grit or obstinacy?” Hah! As I listened to your great conversation and then saw my score, it occurred to me that certain professions probably nurture the grit factor more than others. I do conflict resolution work for a living and I often joke that we mediators need to be fairly terrier-like — a fair amount of unwillingness to give up easily yet also able to wag our tails pleasantly. So, is it chicken or egg, do you think — I chose a profession that takes advantage of my grittiness or my natural grittiness is nurtured even more by what I do every day? Probably some of both. Good food for thought. Thanks for yet another good episode.
Demian Farnworth says
Tammy, 4.63!!! *bows*
I think you probably gravitated to the right profession. That’s what we want out of a great mediator! It’s probably the same way that expressive, eccentric people gravitate toward creative fields: the profession permits that behavior.
Pretty good… I scored a 3.63 on the scale.
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