Week of March 20, 2011

Yeah, today’s the first day of Spring!

That means more outdoor time.

Don’t forget that we have class Monday and Wednesday, not Thursday.

We ventured out for the first time in 2011.  It was such a great feeling to exercise hard in the fresh air.  Lunging, running forward and backward, uphill, downhill . . . we were all feeling it.  We topped it off by a killer workout inside on Thursday.

Throughout this post you’ll find pics of last week.

This post also includes a great, inspiring article about GRIT.  It’s also posted on the 100 Day Challenge blog.  It’s a long post, but it’s worth the read and it’ll make you pat yourself on the back.

See you this Monday and Wednesday.

Commit the Grit

In a Psychology Today article, they researched grit and talent as a measure for success.  Do you need to be talented to succeed? Do you need grit to make it to the top?  Do you need talent and grit to reach your goals?

You’ll be happy to learn (although you probably realized it), the findings revealed that grit “turned out to be at least as good a gauge of future success as talent itself. . . the gritty are more likely to achieve success in school, work and other pursuits—perhaps because their passion and commitment help them endure the inevitable setbacks that occur in any long-term undertaking.”

Read that last sentence again, “passion and commitment help them endure the inevitable setbacks that occur in any long-term undertaking.”  Setbacks are a part of life; however, it’s how you choose your next move that will set you apart from those who stay behind.

Getting Ready to Sprint Uphill

Read the last part . . . “long-term undertaking.” What you’re doing isn’t short-term, it’s not a quick fix, it’s long-term . . . it’s life-term.

The following are excerpts from the Psychology Today research article, The Winning Edge . . . these findings can be applied to any long-term endeavor . . . running a business, relationships, raising children, health & wellness, community involvement, etc. Plan your goals, commit the grit and you will gain . . . you will gain more than you ever imagined!

Enjoy the read . . . full story is at: http://www.psychologytoday.com/articles/200510/the-winning-edge

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How Much Does Talent Count?

Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up,” opined Thomas Edison, a man almost as famous for lauding perspiration as he is for inventing the lightbulb. If effort is the bedrock of success, what role do intelligence and other abilities play? “IQ counts for different amounts depending on the task and situation,” emphasizes intelligence expert Robert Sternberg, dean of arts and sciences at Tufts University.

Many large-scale analyses, however, suggest that a mere 25 percent of the differences between individuals in job performance—and a third of the difference in grade point average—can be attributed to IQ (personality factors, creativity and luck are said to contribute to the other 75 percent). Angela Duckworth, a graduate student at Penn who, together with Seligman, has conducted several key studies on grit, argues that the precise number isn’t as important as knowing that intelligence accounts for only a fraction of success.

If 25 percent seems surprisingly low, that’s partly because the hard work and determination that go into accomplishing Something Important are overshadowed by those rare but delightful lightning strikes of inspiration, mythologized as the visit of the Muse. “Unfortunately, no one comes in my window and whispers poems to me,” laments David Baker, director of creative writing at Denison University and author of seven books of poetry, including Midwest Eclogue. “Poets work hard. I may work on a single poem for weeks or months and write 60 or 70 drafts—only to decide that draft 22 was the good one.”

Such persistence is vital even for an indisputable genius. Mozart’s diaries, for example, contain an oft-cited passage in which the composer reports that an entire symphony appeared, supposedly intact, in his head. “But no one ever quotes the next paragraph, where he talks about how he refined the work for months,” notes Jonathan Plucker, an educational psychologist at Indiana University.

Great Form Jill

I like this one . . . Angela Duckworth had studied neurobiology in college and eventually went on to teach, including a stint at a school for low-income children. “It became pretty obvious to me that IQ didn’t explain why so many of the kids had reading skills that were four grade levels below their average,” she says. “The failure of kids to reach their potential was almost hitting me over the head.” Already in her 30s and with a young child, Duckworth was intrigued enough to return to school for a Ph.D.

She approached Seligman, best known for his groundbreaking work on optimism, and together, they began identifying high achievers in various fields, interviewing them and describing the characteristics that distinguished them.

“There were certainly a fair number of people who were brilliant, ambitious and persevering,” Duckworth reports. “But there were also a lot who were not a genius in any way but were really tenacious.” They began referring to this tenacity as grit—the determination to accomplish an ambitious, long-term goal despite the inevitable obstacles. Grit clearly resides in the same psychological neighborhood as motivation and self-discipline, but it’s on a distinct property—and no one had ever knocked on its front door before.

Power of Passion

The idea that passion fuels perseverance has crucial implications: If grit—and hence high achievement—hinges on passion, then it’s especially important for parents to expose their children to the broadest possible range of academic, artistic and athletic activities, to maximize the chances that something will capture the child’s imagination. Helping children find their passion may turn out to be more important than addressing their academic weaknesses.

Although extremely persistent people are usually passionate about their work, that doesn’t mean that the passion always comes first. Perseverance, notes Duckworth, can itself foster passion. Often the most fascinating aspects of a topic (particularly a highly complex one) become apparent only after deep immersion, to a level “where you understand it and are enlivened by it.”

Such is the case with Duckworth herself, who says that she decided on graduate school after a string of job stints in neuroscience research, management consulting and teaching spawned a desire to stick with one thing long enough to become an expert in it. “I decided to be persevering,” she says. Although she had always been interested in education and achievement, her passion for exploring grit fully emerged only after she had been pursuing it for a while.

For others, persistence may grow from a desire to test one’s limits, to see how far one can go—sometimes literally. Think of endurance athletes, for whom challenge isn’t merely an obstacle to accomplishing something but often the spur to action in the first place. Duckworth points to athletes who spend months or years training for a marathon not because they love the act of running long distances but because they want the personal satisfaction or public glory of having run a marathon.

Also in the Mix

Passion may be the linchpin of grit, but it’s not the only element. Ambition is right on its heels. For some of us, vowing to organize our closet next weekend may represent the height of our ambition. Truly gritty people, however, tend to set especially challenging long-term goals; one of Duckworth’s students confidently stated that he planned to become a U.S. Senator.

Grit at Home

Grit gets right into bed with you, and that may be one of the secrets of successful marriages. During the 1950s, demographer Paul Glick found that high school dropouts were more likely than graduates to be divorced, leading to speculation that people who give up on some hard things, like finishing school, are also unlikely to persevere in other matters, such as marriage.

Grit, most likely, can be taught, or at least encouraged. But one impediment to growing grit may be—surprisingly—the seemingly innocent act of parents praising a child’s intelligence. In one fascinating series of studies, Stanford University psychologist Carol Dweck and her colleagues showed that children who were praised for their intelligence cared more about their grades than about learning during subsequent tasks. And after experiencing a failure, these children were less persistent than their peers who had been praised for their effort. “When you praise kids’ intelligence and then they fail, they think they’re not smart anymore, and they lose interest in their work,” Dweck explains. “In contrast, kids praised for effort show no impairment and often are energized in the face of difficulty.”

The data demonstrate the need for parents and teachers to praise effort rather than ability. But it also explains why so many prodigies fail to flourish as adults: The adoration showered upon them in childhood rests on their remarkable abilities rather than on their hard work.

The need for grit is generally hidden from the young until they head off to college or enter the workforce. That’s when it first becomes necessary to chart one’s own course and set one’s own goals. Before then, achievement hinges largely on doing your homework—and that’s chosen by others and assigned to you. Nonetheless, says Duckworth, perseverance clearly matters for kids. Gritty youngsters get better grades than their peers. And, as a study of participants in the National Spelling Bee revealed, kids who ranked high in grit were more likely to reach the final round of the competition, for the simple reason that they had worked harder than their rivals to prepare for the event.

Commit the Grit

Commit the Grit to all aspects of your life!

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3 responses to “Week of March 20, 2011

  1. It’s nice to get outside to move! I am still sore from last boot camp however. My butt will never be the same! see you wed. this week.

  2. I loved this post about GRIT! I am getting over the flu, I missed mon. BC and will miss Wed:( because I have Zumba & Gymnastics with my daughter!
    Time to kick this flu to the curb and get my GRIT on, I will push through the at home work out and my elliptical. Today I praise myself for my effort rather than my ability, this post reminded me to stay on track. Thank you Lisa!

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