Some time ago, I wrote an article in this collection entitled “Good Managers Work At It”. The point of my essay was that success at almost anything is usually related to the amount of hard work one is prepared to invest in mastering the core skills required. I noted how frequently this message appears in the management and leadership literature and cited several authors as support.
Since good ideas tend to resurface from time to time, I have recently encountered an additional work that returns to this same theme in a slightly different way. So for those of you who are fans of additional corroboration, you might consider a fun and insightful read through Angela Duckworth’s “Grit: The Power Of Passion And Perseverance”.
A best-selling author, Marshall Fellowship winner and ground-breaking researcher in the field of psychology, Dr. Duckworth’s personal success story adds unique flavor to this book’s fascinating examples of the contribution passion and perseverance — qualities that often characterize hard work — can bring to the pursuit of success. And nowhere is her insight more intriguing than in the book’s early discussion of what may help determine which cadets are most likely to survive West Point’s notorious “Beast Barracks”; a grueling seven weeks that precedes the Fall Semester for all incoming Plebes. Hint: not everyone in this creme de la creme cohort generally makes it.
To be sure, success usually depends on more than just grit and hard work, as many critics of Dr. Duckworth’s and similar books have pointed out. Nevertheless, her arguments make a persuasive case that they are often key ingredients in many a personal and professional accomplishment. And, as Dr. Duckworth points out, developing the qualities of patience and persistence are habits open to all of us not just the privileged few.