The Well-known Secret to Success

7 Minute Read

The Well-known Secret to Success

At some point in your life, you would’ve seen something marketed as “the secret to success”. Seriously, who wouldn’t like to think there’s one secret to learn that can change everything?

The more you read about what makes up successful people, the more you’ll realize there aren’t many secrets to it.

All of the core ingredients that make up countless examples of successful people aren’t really a secret. Even though these people seem to have mystical amounts of natural talent, that’s not always the case – talent is beneficial, but most of these people just work insanely hard.

Unfortunately telling someone to work hard doesn’t really sell. People want to think the secrets that will change everything is out there, the one book, the one trick, the one hack, but the reality is there are zero shortcuts to success.

One of the biggest problems I’ve found since becoming fascinated by the success of others is that we typically only get to see these people in the success. The success gets glorified, but the journey, the effort, and the hard work don’t.

No doubt you’ve heard the term, “the 10-year overnight success”.

We don’t normally get to see this less appealing side of success because it’s not sexy, sure a bit of spotlight gets put on the odd rags to riches story, but people gravitate towards people in their current level of success and what comes with it.

There are a couple of issues that come from this.

The first is that because we only see people in the success, we begin to desire what that success brings these people, without completely understanding how they got there and what it takes. We see what the benefits of their success are and want them for the wrong reasons.

But the most important issue is that it’s easy to just assume that talent is the thing that’s got them there. Not the effort and hard work. When we believe its all talent, something we might not be born with, it’s easier to think we could never reach that level of success and it stops people from ever trying.

Talent is clearly something that helps a lot of people succeed, but it’s not everything. Talented people still have to work hard. 99% of the success stories out there is a result of hard work.

I’m totally aware that me telling you that success comes from hard work isn’t very inspiring, but its the truth. You’ll never reach the level of success you desire from your life without consistent effort.

We’ve all worked hard on certain things in our lives, and a lot of us have talent, but that doesn’t mean we’ve all reached the level of success we each desire for our lives.

It’s the ability to use the talent we have and put forth maximum effort over long periods of time without giving up that’s the big question, developing this seems to be the key to success.

Some call this resilience, some call is perseverance.

Angela Duckworth, calls it Grit.

I’ve heard of the term quite a few times before, and kind of knew what it meant, but when I discovered her book on the topic of Grit which I highly recommend, a light bulb went off. (she also did an awesome TED talk on the topic if you’re not the reading type).

“Successful people find ways to stick with things longer” – that was the bottom line.

I’ve come to understand the definition of grit as, the ability to persevere when the level of difficulty of something exceeds your level of ability.

This is what every single successful person has. They continue to persevere when challenges exceed their level of ability, through the failure, through the adversity, through the injuries – they find ways to stick with it. Then they set bigger goals, and they just keep going.

The number one question about grit, the one you’ll most likely be thinking right now, is what Duckworth set out to answer – can grit be grown? You’ll be happy to know the answer is yes.

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Developing Grit.
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Duckworth noticed a pattern between all of the people she studied who had been able to create extremely high levels of grit. There were four key areas that allowed these people to create the grit that led to their success.

Interest – If you want to stick with something over the long term, you’ve got to enjoy the thing you do. If you don’t enjoy the things you do, you’ll struggle to stay strong when things get tough, when it’s not working out like you thought it would.

Practice – Gritty people don’t just practice, they create deliberate practice. They continually set stretch goals, they ensure they’re getting feedback and they reflect, refine and repeat this process over and over again. They never just go through the motions and they make all of these tasks sub-conscious habits.

Purpose – They have a clear purpose for why they do what they do. Sometimes it starts off as an internal purpose, to be the best they can be and fulfill their potential, which always seemed to later connect to a revelation in how what they do impacts other people.

Hope – They have a strong belief that their efforts can improve and can continue to make things better in the future. Gritty people view every failure as an opportunity to grow and every success as result of hard work and effort.

The above are great starting points, but I don’t want this to be just another piece of information that talks about what other people have, I want to give you something practical that can help you create this type of grit in your own life.

 

Everyday Application.
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As much as I wish I could, I can’t talk you into being gritty, just reading about doesn’t do the trick either. For you to actually re-wire your own beliefs about overcoming adversity, you have to develop this grit in the battleground.

You have to re-develop your belief around how situations can be controlled through effort. This is all starts with tiny areas of your life. When you feel like giving up on meaningless tasks, do everything you can to push past that point. Encountering adversity, and then experiencing mastery builds grit, it’s the only way.

Persevering breeds perseverance.

 

1. FOCUS ON EFFORT OVER TALENT

Grit is developed by putting forth effort even if when things are more difficult than your current level of ability. Everything begins and ends with your mindset and how you look at adversity and challenges. If you put in enough effort, you can get through anything.

“When you keep searching for ways to change your situation for the better, you stand a chance of finding them. When you stop searching, assuming they can’t be found, you guarantee they won’t”

2. CONTROL THE NARRATIVE

When faced with challenges and adversity, practice optimistic self-talk and take control of the narrative in your head. Verbalize that if you put in enough effort, you’ll get through whatever you face. It starts with the small challenges in life, the more situations you get through, the stronger the self-talk will get.

3. FIGHT THROUGH IT

Finally you’ve got to fight through the process, you have the ability to persevere. This ability is only enhanced by the repetition of persevering. You cannot create grit by merely understanding it, you have to put forth the effort. So be intentional about all the challenges you face in life, everything is an opportunity to grow grit.

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Growing grit isn’t always easy and quite often it takes you out of your comfort zone, but the more this process is completed, the stronger the belief you’ll have in your own ability to persevere, the more optimistic you’ll be about facing tougher challenges, the easier it is to talk yourself through moments of adversity.

If there was secret to success, it’s creating grit. It’s the absolute key to any type of success in life. The best way to start creating it is in the day to day, if you take care of the small challenges, Grit becomes a habit and you’ll be better prepared for when the bigger challenges in life come.

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