In her seminal book Grit, Angela Duckworth describes the four core personality traits of people with the exceptional persistence needed to create momentum over time:
- Love of the work: Success begins with enjoying what you do. Every gritty person Angela studied for her book can point to aspects of their work they enjoy less than others, and most have to put up with chores they don’t enjoy at all. Nevertheless, they’re captivated by the endeavor as a whole. With enduring fascination and childlike curiosity, they practically shout, “I love what I do!”
- Forward Progress: After defining your open seam, you must devote yourself to the focused, full-hearted, challenge-exceeding practice that leads to momentum. Zero in on your weaknesses and commit to improving, week after month after year. To be gritty is to resist complacency. “Whatever it takes, I want to improve!” is a refrain of all paragons of grit, no matter their particular interest or how excellent they already are.
- Purpose: For most people, work without purpose is nearly impossible to sustain for a lifetime. Gritty people are driven because they can say, “My work is important – both to me and to others.
- Hope: Hope is a rising-to-the-occasion kind of perseverance. From the very beginning to the very end, it’s important to keep going even when things are difficult, even when you have doubts. At various points, in big ways and small, you get knocked down. If you stay down, grit loses. If you get up, grit prevails.
From “Cumulative Advantage: How to Build Momentum for Your Ideas, Business, and Life Against All Odds” by Mark Schaefer