Day 12 — Why Grit Is The Best Predictor Of Success

My new years resolution is to everyday write at least 500 words on my novel until it is finished. I am publicly announcing it here on my blog for all my friends and acquaintances to see, so that I can’t back out of this. Every day, you will be able to see how many words I have written, what challenges I face and what keeps me going. If you would send me a little cheer or a small thumbs up — it would help me tremendously.


Words written today: 511

Words written since the start of the challenge: 7683

I have read, many times before, how important grit is to reach success. But I guess I didn’t really understand it until today, when I wanted to quit my writing challenge. It has been twelve days and I’m already struggling. Without any consistency in what I do, I will never create any results that matter.

Through the years of research conducted by Angela Duckworth and other researchers, we have seen countless of studies that show how grit is the best predictor of success. Grit is defined as perseverance toward a goal despite being confronted by significant obstacles and distractions. Many studies was conducted on competition participants, in which the contesters who had better scores, also had higher levels of grit. In one study done with kids participating in a spelling bee contest, grit was a better predictor of success than IQ. Grit is simply more important because it means that you can persevere longer in practice while others get distracted or don’t deal with their obstacles. In a simple formula made by Angela Duckworth she explains it like this.

Talent x Effort = Skill

Skill x Effort = Results

How much effort you put is not only counted two times. It is also impossible to attain skill without it. Here is the big reason why grit always is going to beat talent or intelligence. How smart you are or your talent is only where you start. It is what you accumulate over time that really matters. A smart person who put in half a year of practice is always going to get beaten by a person with average intelligence who practiced for two years.

When I looked through one of the questionnaires to measure grit, I quickly realised how much I lack it. Questions like “I often set a goal but later choose to pursue a different one”, “My interests change from year to year”, or “I have been obsessed with a certain idea or project for a short time but later lost interest” all would have given me really low scores. Luckily, grit is a skill that can be exercised. Since I don’t seem to have a natural talent for it I have to double my efforts if I am to see any results at all.

So if you want to be more successful you should maybe test how much grit you have. You can do that here. If you score low, you now know that you should get better at this skill. This is my way of practicing, writing everyday. I strongly recommend a project in which you have to force yourself to work a little everyday. I’ll leave you with a nice quote, that means a lot to me.

“Success seems to be largely a matter of hanging on when others have let go.” — William Feather

With great love,

Markus