The highly accomplished are paragons of perseverance. Their passion is enduring, they are unusually resilient, hardworking and with direction. It is this combination of passion and perseverance that make high achievers special. In one word they have GRIT. Aptitude does not guarantee achievement. Psychologist Tsay, found that by shining our spotlight on talent we inadvertently send the message that these other factors such as GRIT mistakenly don’t matter. As much as talent counts, effort counts twice. There is an unconscious bias toward talent. When someone gets to a level of excellence, we default to labeling that person a “natural.” Effort builds skill, and also makes skill productive. Having a great coach or teacher matter tremendously, maybe more than anything about the individual. Talent you may have naturally. Skill is only developed by hours and hours and hours of beating on your craft. Without effort, your talent is nothing more than your unmet potential. Without effort, your skill is nothing more than what you could have done but didn’t. With effort, talent becomes skill and effort makes skill productive. There are no shortcuts to excellence. GRIT predicts success more reliably than talent or I.Q.
GRIT is doing what you love, but not just falling in love, staying in love. GRIT has two components: passion and perseverance. Enthusiasm is common. Endurance is rare. Passion is like a compass, it guides you on your long and winding road to where, ultimately you wish to be. You have to have a philosophy that gives you the guidelines and boundaries that keep you on track. The higher the goal, the more it’s an end in itself, and the less it’s merely a means to an end. Passion is not just something you care about. At the extreme, one might call your focus obsessive. Your life philosophy, your dream. A lack of GRIT can show itself. Many young people can articulate a dream, but to realize the work, time dedication and sacrifice to obtain that dream is lacking. You have to be prepared to persevere in the face of life’s many rejections. The rate at which we develop any skill is a function of experience. GRIT, talent and all other psychological traits relevant to success in life are influenced by genes and experience. It could be that the Greatest Generation is GRITTIER than the millennials because cultural forces are different today than yesterday. As we get older we develop the capacity for long-term passion and perseverance. Both could be true. Passion is as necessary as perseverance to world-class excellence.
There are four assets for GRIT: Interest, practice, purpose, and hope. You can learn to discover, develop, and deepen your interests. You can acquire the habit of discipline and practice. Always desire to improve no matter how excellent you are. You can cultivate a sense of purpose and meaning to the work, your work matters. And you can teach yourself hope, this encompasses all stages.
Ron Winnegrad has been a Perfumer and teacher for 46 years. As a perfumer, Ron has been able to express the world he sees through a rainbow of olfactive and emotive visions. As a teacher, Ron has helped others to see fragrance through his own multi sensorial lens.