I just finished last night this really interesting book called Grit by Angela Duckworth. Angela Duckworth is a psychologist who has devoted herself to the study of what she has defined as ‘grit’. The subtitle of the book is The Power of Passion and Perseverance. I was familiar with the work of Angela Duckworth because I am a part of a Facebook group of diabetics who follow Dr. Bernstein. The group is called TYPEONEGRIT named in reference to Angela Duckworth’s studies.
As a stay at home mom my mind is spinning apply all the principles in this book to my calling of motherhood.
Grit is essentially consistently doing the work today to accomplish a very long term goal. Today as mothers we are changing diapers, kissing boo-boo’s and teaching right from wrong because 20 years down the road we want our children to be confident, well adjusted, God serving adults who are in a position to give back to the people around them.
She explains that successful gritty people believe that their job is important. I believe that doing a good job raising my children is the most important thing I can be doing with my life right now. More than an important job, I believe it is a calling from God. Proverbs 22:6, Deuteronomy 6:7, Titus 2:4. I believe my every day work, even when it feels mundane, benefits not only my family but society and future generations.
Successful people know where they want to be. They have well defined specific goals leading them to an ultimate goal they want to achieve. Successful people also have either one or just a few very specific goals that they are working towards. They say yes to what will get them there and they know they have to say no to the things that won’t. They are not people running around in circles trying to do it all. When making decisions about how I am going to spend my time and energy I need to ask myself the question, “Is this going to enrich or take away from my job as a mom?”
The author includes a section on how we can build grit into our kids. How can we help our children be passionate people who persevere? I know I want to instill in my children an attitude of getting back up when they fall down. She tells parents and educators to teach kids about their ability to learn. Literally showing kids photos of brain growth and giving them an understanding of the brains ability to grow and change has been proven to move people from a ‘fixed mindset’ to a ‘growth mindset.’ A person with a fixed mindset believes that some people are born smart and others are not while a person with a growth mindset views people and themselves as having the ability to learn, grow and change. The first mind set leads to giving up when the going gets tough while the second mindset leads to overcoming obstacles and getting back up after falling. Essentially, learning about learning can change a childs attitude from “I can’t” to “I can.”
She also tells parents and teachers to emphasize with children that failure is okay and to create an environment where it is okay to fail. The child should be able to see their parents learning from their mistakes and moving on with lessons learned. She also emphasizes praising effort over accomplishment.
The author interviews many of what she refers to as, “high achievers” which makes the book a fun and interesting read. I like getting to “listen in” as she picks the brain of hard working successful people and to read their stories of where they came from and where they are going.
Here she is presenting and summarizing her work and ideas in a TEDtalk. It really is worth watching, it’ll get you thinking!