… I’ve been asked what I’m out on the road – Is there one trait that each of the 17 Characters in Can’t Not Do have in common?
And the answer, when I was first asked in Boston about a month ago, was really pretty easy – GRIT. My favorite definition of that word is the disposition to pursue long-term goals with passion and perseverance. That definition comes from Angela Duckworth at the Univ. of Pennsylvania and her widely-watched TED talk.
Duckworth studied children and adults in challenging environments, including West Point military cadets, national spelling bee contestants, and rookie teachers in difficult schools. In each study, she and her research team asked essentially the same question: “Who is successful here and why?” Across numerous contexts, one characteristic emerged as a significant predictor of success: grit. Grit is the quality that allows an individual to work hard and maintain focus – not just for weeks or months, but for years.
That takes my mind on a direct path to –
- David Risher and his work to end illiteracy, going on 5+ years. He’s in for the long haul
- Connie Ballmer and her work to improve the foster care system for kids, at 8-year mark
- Paul Gross and his tireless work for hydrocephalus, nearly 10 years in
- I could go on and one. More than any one trait, Grit … GRIT