What Separates The Good From The Very Best

by Anja Uitdehaag

“Few people attain great lives, in large part because it is just so easy to settle for a good life.” – James. C. Collins 

Sports can teach us a lot about  goals, determination and hard-work.

According to Nicole Haislett, Olympic Swimmer, the essence of hard work is: “identifying your personal limits, and then pushing past them, and then setting new barriers, and then … repeating the process again and again.” Knowing how hard she had worked enabled her to stand behind the starting block with the confidence that she was capable of winning. And she did: three gold medals!

Nicole Haislett claims that hard work and a competitive personality that never accepts mediocrity to be the keys to her success.

Not quitting because something is difficult or you feel frustrated or disappointed is a normal accepted attitude in sports. However, the rules for succeeding in work are no different!

Angela Duckworth, Professor of Psychology at the University of  Pennsylvania, states that success is less about ability (IQ) and more about attitude. Important is the sheer persistence, determination and the willingness to work hard at something for a long time without giving up. This is called grit.

Angela Duckworth defines grit as “the passion and perseverance to work towards long-term goals”. She states grit is about:

  • Having stamina;
  • Sticking with your future, day-in, day-out. Not just for the week, not just for the month, but for years;
  • Working really hard to make that future a reality;
  • Living life like it’s a marathon, not a sprint.

You foster grit by:

  • Finding your true passion (it is difficult to become truly gritty and great at things if your heart is not in it);
  • Not wasting much time lamenting; blaming; or, at the extreme, quitting in case of failure;
  • Approaching mistakes, frustrations and setbacks as an opportunity to learn and grow;
  • Having the confidence that at the end you can achieve your long-term goal.

Grit – the passion, perseverance, and stamina to stick with our dreams until they become a reality – separates the most successful people from the rest.

My parents used to say: “You can do anything you want. Just practice, practice, practice, and, don’t give up!”

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