Ever wondered why that whizz-kid you went to school with isn't running the country but instead is stuck in a dead end job?
Turns out your IQ isn't that important an predictor of success. At least, according to one expert.
According to psychologist Angela Duckworth, the secret to success is perseverance or as she calls it "grit".
Duckworth has spent years studying people, to find the old idiom "hard work beats talent when talent doesn't work hard" is true.
Speaking to Forbes, Duckworth explained it wasn't academic prowess or IQ that was a good predictor of future success but...
...it was this combination of passion and perseverance that made high achievers special.
In a word, they had grit.
As well as being resilient and hard-working, passion is necessary in order to continue when faced with adversity.
In the words of Miley Cyrus "It ain't about what's waiting on the other side. It's the climb"
Duckworth found that the journey to success was as important as the end results.
Even if some of the things they had to do were boring, or frustrating, or even painful, they wouldn’t dream of giving up.
Their passion was enduring.
Talent is how quickly your skills improve when you invest effort.
Achievement is what happens when you take your acquired skills and use them.
Duckworth believes effort is twice as important as talent or skill.
Speaking to Freakonomics Duckworth said
I want to redefine genius, if you will.
I think most people use the word genius as somebody who has an intellectual gift which is far greater than what most people have in a given area, in music or in mathematics, in running or in dancing.
And by that natural ability, they’re going to far excel the rest of us, almost by destiny.
I think that is what most people use the word genius for.
And then they all have their handy list of geniuses that they think of, like Mozart or Einstein.
I want to define genius as greatness that isn’t necessarily effortless, but, in fact, greatness that is earned however you do earn it.
And so I want to define genius as something that you accomplish yourself as opposed to something that’s given to you.
How do you get gritty?
Duckworth says gritty people have four traits in abundance: interest, practice, purpose, and hope.
Time to start cultivating those.