Since reading Malcolm Gladwell’s “Outliers” several years ago, I’ve been really interested in the question, “What results in success?” Part of the interest is intellectual; the psychology of success is fascinating and surprising. Part of the interest is developmental; like most people, I want to cultivate habits that lead to achievement and impact.
Most of the interest, though, is personal. One of the hats I frequently wear is that of an educator. I’ve mentored medical students, engineering students, and computer science students; and I really enjoy it. More than that, though, I enjoy seeing people succeed. When someone comes up with an improved treatment, product, or idea; it improves the world. I know it’s corny, but still true.
For this reason, I’m fascinated by questions like:
- What does it mean to be “world-class”?
- Why it is that so many people never arrive?
- Are there habits that can be cultivated, traits that can be taught, or ways to share knowledge that can facilitate the journey.
It also shouldn’t come as a surprise that I read widely on the subject. This morning, I came across a marvelous article on the 99percent.com, which looks at several of the topics related to world-class success. As good as the article is, though, I really enjoyed the TEDxBlue video that the article linked to. In it, University of Pennsylvania psychologist Angela Duckworth expounds on her theories about what makes world-class success.
According to Duckworth, it isn’t intelligence and it isn’t talent. She even argues that it isn’t self discipline, according to the common definition of the word. Rather, what matters is “grit.”
The video is about 18 minutes long and well worth the time.