The Science of success

Review From User :

I remember when I started writing my PhD thesis. I had this vague idea of being a fraud, as I knew I wasn't a genius, and I believed that to achieve academic excellence, you needed to be one.

There were many other students who seemed endlessly more talented than I was, who were creative and came up with brilliant suggestions. To top it all off, they had all the time in the world whereas I juggled being a mum of babies and toddlers and doing the research at the same time.

And yet, I finished my thesis. Many others did not. Back then I was astounded, as it seemed such an odd contradiction. Why had they not persevered, when they so obviously had all the talent and time in the world And why had I done it eventually, despite banging my head against the wall many, many times, and despite thinking that the thesis itself was a product of multiple mistakes that I took the effort to correct as best I could

With hindsight, a decade and a half later, and well into another career as a teacher of adolescents and a mother of teenagers, I believe what I developed back then was a good dose of grit, that stuff that makes you reach your potential because you make sure to keep the engine going.

Angela Duckworth' book is both enlightening and readable, and it may guide parents, teachers, coaches, leaders towards building a culture of believing in a growth mindset in Carol Dweck's definition. What it takes to be successful is a combination of four quite straight forward things:

Discover Your Passion - it all starts with interest!

Deliberate Practice - it is not only the quantity of the time you are willing to spend on a topic, but also the quality of that time that counts a thousandfold!

Purpose - we're humans, we want meaning in our lives, and we want to believe that what we do makes a difference, to ourselves and to those we care about!

Hope - we have to be able to imagine a positive outcome, no matter how often we fail to achieve it. If we can't see a shimmer of light at the end of the tunnel, we won't move forwards.

Grit is about combining those things, setting an overarching goal that creates meaning for us, and being able to follow through with it, no matter what. It is about having priorities and being honest and self-reflective. It is about valuing life enough to want to make the most of it.

It's teaching and parenting in a nutshell!

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