Effort Counts Twice

May 8th, 2017 | Posted in Effectiveness, Fit Leader, initiative, Leadership Fitness, leadership training, Reading List, success by

When it comes to predicting who will succeed in life and business, we often are “distracted by talent”. We tend to place way too much faith in SAT scores, GPAs and other measures of aptitude, even when these standard metrics have been shown to fail as guarantors of achievement.

Whether it’s who will survive Beast Week at West Point, who in high school will go on to complete college or who will become an accomplished potter, effort seems to trump talent.

Charles Darwin, certainly no lightweight, observed in the late 1800’s that “zeal and hard work are ultimately more important than intellectual ability”.

Those 10,000 hours of deliberate practice that Malcolm Gladwell popularized in Outliers do matter for a lifetime of success and accomplishment.

We often don’t see the setbacks, disappointments and false starts that accompany most successes in life. As the saying goes, “it takes 10 years to become an overnight success”.

Even Nietzsche, the philosopher, wrote: “With everything perfect, we do not ask how it came to be. Instead, we rejoice in the present fact as though it came out of the ground by magic”.

In Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance, Angela Duckworth, concludes that:

  • without effort, your talent is nothing more than unmet potential;
  • without effort, your skill is nothing more than what you could have done but didn’t; and
  • with effort, talent becomes skill and, at the very same time, effort makes skill productive.

That’s how effort counts twice!

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