Intelligence or Grit?

Intelligence or grit

brain-in-hand-1312350-1599x1062Have you ever asked yourself why some persons accomplish more than others of equal intelligence?

Why a colleague seems to excel more than you although you believe you’re more intelligent?

Wonder why most people make use of only a small fraction of their resources, while an extremely small proportion of individuals push themselves to their limits?

No worries, scientists have also sought to answer these questions for a long time now.

It is thought that high-achieving individuals are more likely to possess positive qualities and others such as self-confidence, charisma, creativity, physical attractiveness, and emotional balance.

In theory, some traits appear to be more crucial than others for specific professions. For example, extroversion may be of central importance in a sales career or entertainment career, but not in creative writing or computer programming.

However, some traits may be fundamental to success whatever be the domain. It is thought that a single quality is shared by outstanding leaders in every domain: Grit.

This perseverance and passion for long-term goals are what push people to work hard arduously and diligently toward challenges, persisting despite failure and adversity.

The gritty individual understands that success is a marathon and not a race. He, therefore, has the ability to sustain prolonged physical or mental effort to reach the finish line–an advantage that the non-gritty person lacks.

While other persons lose enthusiasm and get bored and perceive this as the time to give up or change course, the gritty person stays on track and gradually progresses towards his goal.

Become an Achiever in Your Field

Grit is essential if you wish to become an achiever. This doesn’t mean that you should pursue things you really have no interest in. If you don’t enjoy your job, you probably won’t be a star performer at work.

For instance, when I started working as a general practitioner, I lived with my colleague who was so passionate about medicine that she spent most of her time at the hospital even after working hours.

I really admired her and wanted so badly to be as efficient as her. Yet, I wasn’t willing to spend my free time hanging at the hospital with senior colleagues to sharpen my skills.

However, when I switched careers and got into medical publishing, I was willing to spend thousands of dollars to improve my skills and spend more time with people who had more experience than me.

I initially faced a lot of difficulties, but I never gave up because I was focusing on my long-term goal. Today, I am a valued contributor in my field.

You might be gifted, but without passion, you won’t stand out. As pointed out in a previous research, ability alone does not contribute to success. In fact, professionals in journalism, academia, law, and medicine reported during interviews that the quality that distinguishes “outperforming” persons in any field was grit.

Many of these professionals expressed wonder at the achievements of their colleagues who did not initially appear to be talented as others but whose persistent commitment to their ambitions was extraordinary.

Similarly, many were astonished that colleagues who were remarkably gifted did not end up in the upper echelons of their field.

It takes a lot of effort to succeed in any particular field, but to become an accomplished individual you must show a “strong interest” in that field, a desire to “get to the top” in that field, and a “willingness” to invest a lot in terms of time and effort.

This is a trait that first-class athletes and renowned pianists, artists and scientists possess. Scholars have shown that during childhood drive and energy or creativity are more predictive of success than is IQ or another more domain-specific ability.

Take, for example, a great Olympian such as Michael Phelps. He started swimming when he was seven years old, partly because of family influence and partly to provide him with a means of channeling his energy.

Another great sportsman, Tiger Woods, was a child prodigy who started playing golf at age two years.

If you’re not a performer in your field, don’t despair. You can get there by simply applying certain principles in your life or by finding what you’re more passionate about and investing yourself in it.

Note that high achievers follow a routine and work daily for several years to be considered experts in their fields.

Establishing a routine (which we are going to cover in a future post) is the key to persistence, and by being persistent you can walk towards your goals and accomplish a lot in your life.

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