Who should read Grit To Great, and why?
- Those who seek motivation every time.
- Those who want to research about Grit.
- Anyone who struggles to overcome challenges.
- Young people who desire instant gratification.
Grit To Great Summary [PDF]
This summary is a bit different.
I’ve broken down most of the summary in a question-answer format. All the lessons are delivered as the answer to those questions.
Another thing: this book is written by two authors. Just for the sake of this summary, I’m going to imagine as if it’s written by a single author to keep things simple. (I love simplicity)
So without further ado, let’s get started.
What is grit?
As this summary is all about how and why grit is an essential factor in determining our future achievements, it becomes critical to understand what it really means.
You could find multiple definitions of ‘grit.’
Personally, I keep it simple:
Grit is the quality of a person to stay focused on his goal despite any number of setbacks.
Or in other words: It’s the quality of a person to keep pushing and struggling to achieve his goal by overcoming all the failures.
What’s common between overachievers?
In the first chapter of this book, the author talks about overachievers (people with outstanding achievements.)
He builds our curiosity by raising the question:
What’s the common trait between all successful people?
Is it that they are innate geniuses? Is it their destiny?
It could be anything, right?
During the research, the author discovered that the single most common trait between all the overachievers wasn’t their grades or intelligence — it was grit, the ability to work hard, and persevere.
Why aren’t all geniuses successful?
If grit is the major determiner of a person’s future success, why aren’t all geniuses always successful?
Want to know? Alright, let’s dig deeper.
Speaking from the author’s perspective, geniuses may get overconfident about their abilities. As a result, they might entirely ignore self-improvement.
For example, if there is a guy who always comes at the top of the class when it comes to marks, chances are he would think that he is a genius and stop pushing himself hard because other students are far behind him.
Now imagine another student who has a little less IQ. But he keeps pushing himself. He fails again and again. He perseveres.
Who do you think of the above two students would win in the long-term?
One can’t say for sure.
But the student who possesses grit would likely have more achievements in the future.
Grit is an underrated ability.
So even if you have high intelligence, don’t think you’re special. There’ll always be someone better than you.
When you start thinking that you’re a genius, you lose the motivation to work hard and push yourself.
The author says that grit is a skill. If not used, you’ll lose it.
Is talent overrated?
Well, to an extent, yes.
Usually, you’ll find out that people have high hopes of those who are young and talented.
The author points out that most of the overachievers have been ignored in the past. Or put simply, people didn’t believe in them as they looked average or ordinary.
For instance, Thomas Edison was declared addle-brained by his teacher.
Usually, those with will and determination accomplish great things.
The author says that talent alone is not enough.
It doesn’t matter if you have an innate talent at drawing. If you don’t polish what you have and develop it into a skill, you are no different than those who don’t have talent similar to yours.
You’ve to polish your abilities. And it’s not going to be easy all the time.
That’s where grit helps you.
People with grit stay focused on achieving their goals. They don’t require motivation or pep-talks. They stick to their goals with determination.
And eventually, achieve what they desire despite any challenges.
Remember, talent could only give you a bit of an advantage in a race. But life is a marathon. You’ve to finish the rest of it by using grit.
Why grit is a skill, which can be developed?
Just like any skill, grit is also a skill.
The more you practice it, the more you get better at it.
It’s not like you persevere one or two times, then give up the third time. You have to keep practicing it until it gets hammered into your character.
As the skill of grit develops, it becomes a part of your character.
And as we discussed above, talent alone is not enough. It needs character and determination to pull off great achievements.
How failures help us master grit?
Nobody likes failing or falling over and over again. But it’s the part of the process.
The author discussed the story of her daughter when she was learning to ride a bike. She and her husband tried so many ways to teach her.
But she didn’t learn.
Why? Because the author didn’t want her daughter to fall.
Remember how you learned to ride a bike back when you were a kid?
Did you fall? I bet you did multiple times.
That’s how we usually learn, right?
We try. We fall. We realize. We persevere. We struggle.
We correct our mistakes. We improve.
Okay, maybe you skip a few steps –but that’s the general approach.
Back to the question, how do failures help us master grit?
Failures make us stronger. More mentally than physically.
Failure gives you more experience, which ultimately builds your character, says the author.
Why aren’t school grades the right criteria for judging future success?
I guess it’s pretty clear to you now.
School grades don’t reflect our real character.
A person’s character plays a much more significant role than his intelligence.
Intelligence alone isn’t enough.
A strong character is a must-have thingy.
How to get rid of the fear of rejection using grit?
Fear of rejection is what keeps people from chasing after their dreams.
How does one get rid of this fear?
The best way is to get rejected multiple times.
The author tells the story of a guy who feared rejection.
To get rid of that fear, he deliberately put himself in situations where he was likely to be rejected.
When he got rejected multiple times, it became normal to him. Just like how artists overcome their stage fear. The more they perform on stage, the more it becomes familiar to them.
Ultimately, they reduce their anxiety.
I believe that there is no such thing as fearlessness.
Fear is always there. It may be either 2% or 70%. But it’s always there.
Chances are you won’t entirely get rid of it. But through grit, you’ll be able to reach a place where it won’t trouble you anymore.
A more technical term is the comfort-zone.
It’s said that greater success lies outside of our comfort zone. But it takes grit or determination to break out of it and realize your goals. (Motivation!)
And yeah, some need motivation or inspiration (although they’re a bit different) to get out of their comfort zone.
How can grit help you realize your wildest dreams?
Just as we discussed above, to realize your wildest dreams, you need to develop grit and break out of your comfort zone.
I remember the author quotes a statement that says, “Some people naturally possess grit. While others have to hone it through deliberate practice.”
It’s possible that you already have enough grit by birth.
And even if you don’t have much –keep practicing.
How does one measure grit?
Well, there isn’t anything said regarding that in this book.
I’d suggest you look at how you deal with complex problems in your life. And ask yourself how quickly do you give up.
Do you give up when things get hard?
Do you feel like your goals aren’t worth chasing after?
Asking such questions would give you some idea about your grit.
Why should you stop fantasizing and start doing?
Most people mistake visualization for progress.
Visualization indeed helps you imagine where you want to go. What your result looks like?
But unless you start taking action to get where you want to be, you’re not moving forward.
The question is:
Why is that people get stuck in their imagination and never take real action?
The answer is easier than you might think.
We set big goals. But at that time, we don’t realize the amount of effort it will take to achieve them.
It’s easy to dream. But it’s much harder to get moving.
The author says that fantasizing robs people off their motivation to work.
When you imagine the desired outcome, it feels as if the goal has already been accomplished, and there is nothing left to work upon —even if only for a moment.
But when we look at our real-life situation, it feels like a never-ending struggle.
Grit doesn’t rely on motivation.
It helps you to take the initiative and stay focused. With grit, you develop resilience. You break out of your comfort zone.
You take the action that needs to be taken.
It doesn’t matter if you fail. You bounce back after hitting the bottom.
Remember that fantasizing won’t get you anywhere. It’s your actions that will.
How grit helps you embrace boredom?
People hate boredom.
They try various hacks to get away from it.
To some people, it’s the worst thing that could ever happen to them.
But the author says that boredom can actually be a good thing.
How? It helps you develop self-control and grit.
You also learn resilience when you deliberately put yourself in bland environments.
Have you ever thought about why you hate boredom so much?
The reason is:
Our mind always gravitates towards having experiences that give instant gratification.
For example, when you get free time, what do you choose to do?
Do you prefer watching Netflix? Or do you prefer reading a non-fiction scripture that questions your existence?
Most people would choose to watch a trending movie rather than reading a book that would challenge their beliefs.
Am I right? Well, you may be different than the rest. It’s just what most people would do.
The author also talks about multitasking in one of his chapters. The author discovered that multitasking is highly unproductive, yet most people multitask as it gives them a sense of progress.
But what really happens is that they multitask because it gives them instant gratification, which results from the sense of accomplishing objectives.
Research has shown that focusing on one project for a longer duration yields better results.
Again, it requires that you embrace boredom. When you focus on one task or project for a longer duration, you lose motivation.
Once you lose motivation, it becomes boring.
See? If you practice grit by deliberately putting yourself in dull environments, you get better at doing tedious tasks that require hard work.
This doesn’t mean that you have to do boring things all the time and not watch Netflix when you want to.
You just don’t have to run after fancy things for the sake of instant gratification.
How do you deal with the boring times?
The author suggests that you celebrate small victories. They give you hope and allow you to embrace little things in life, usually thought of as dull.
Great things are achieved when you work with grit and embrace challenges.
Why should you be flexible like a bamboo tree?
You don’t have to be too hard. You don’t have to be too soft.
You have to be flexible, just like a bamboo tree.
That’s what the author says in this book.
Why a bamboo tree? Because it’s flexible. It can survive under strong winds. At the same time, it isn’t weak, either. That’s why it survives.
Likewise, you should be flexible enough to deal with any challenges that life throws at you.
And at the same time, you should have strong roots too. Meaning? You should have a strong character that holds you up and helps you fight those challenges.
Retirement doesn’t mean that you are too old to work.
I just had an interesting discovery.
The author’s research shows that the term “retirement” was made by a German chancellor to cope up with rising Marxism in Europe. At that time, there weren’t enough jobs, yet young people were demanding more jobs.
What does that mean?
Just because someone is old, it doesn’t mean that he should retire.
In fact, the author says that there is no right age to achieve your dreams or explore your potential.
You shouldn’t let your age decide what you have to do all the time.
Most people feel embarrassed when they hear the success stories of young overachievers.
For example, people say that if you don’t start to learn a sport before a certain age, you’ll never become exceptional at it.
People think that there is always some magic age by which one should be at a level to grow further.
But that’s a myth.
It doesn’t matter if you’re 50 or 30. You can pursue your dreams.
I’d say that it’s more of an excuse for not putting in the work.
When we see that there is real hard work involved in our path, our mind starts making up reasons for not pursuing that path. There is some inertia that resists change in the motion of our lives.
The author says:
If you are willing to putting in the work, you’ll achieve your goals.
Maybe that’s why people say, “Age is just a number.”
Our cognitive abilities indeed decline over time. But research shows that if we exercise our physical body and brain, it might slow down the decline.
So keep exercising your brain muscles. And they will grow stronger with time.
Don’t be embarrassed if you’ve crossed your 30s. Don’t think it’s too late.
Remember: It’s never too late.
Reclaim the gift that you already have
The author says that we all have the gift of grit inside each of us.
The problem is:
Most of us don’t realize it just yet.
You should not only realize this gift within yourself; you should help others discover this gift too.
One can share this gift with others.
According to the author, people are hard-wired to do good.
When we do good things, we feel happy as the dopamine rushes inside our brains.
The author believes that helping other people is the biggest source of motivation.
The key takeaways from ‘Grit To Great’
Let’s recap the key takeaways from this book.
In this summary, you learned that:
- Grit is a gift that helps you stay focused and be resilient.
- Grit is one of the typical traits of overachievers.
- Talent alone isn’t enough to be successful. Grit plays a crucial role when it comes to determining the future success of a person.
- Your school grades don’t give a clear picture of your full potential.
- By sheer use of grit, you can learn to face your fear of rejection and realize your dreams.
- Be flexible and tackle challenges with grit.
- You should embrace boredom at times. It helps you develop self-control.
- Age is just a number if you have grit and are ready to persevere.
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Grit To Great Quotes
Here are some of my favorite notable quotes from this book:
Talent is cheaper than table salt. What separates the talented individual from the successful one is a lot of hard work.—Stephen King
I’m not the smartest guy, but I can outwork you. It’s the one thing I can control.—Linda Kaplan
Happiness is not the absence of problems. It’s the ability to deal with them.—Linda Kaplan
Grit To Great Review
I think this book was a little more on the motivational side.
So if you read a lot of self-help stuff or watch motivational videos on YT, you won’t find much new in this book.
Sure enough, this book gives interesting information about grit.
It’s good to deeply understand the meaning of words that we often think of as synonyms.
The one lesson you should take away from this book is:
Give more importance to hard work and patience over talent.
Now it’s your turn
I hope you got some real value from the Grit To Great Summary.
It’s your turn now.
If you have any doubts, just leave a comment.
And if you really liked it, feel free to share it with your friends.
Share the amazing gift of grit with them. Thanks in advance.