Grace Should Make You Gritty

Jen Pollock Michel | December 5, 2016

As I tried to sleep, my husband, propped next to me in bed, whispered French phrases into his iPhone. “Il habite dans une maison,” he said. This is one picture of doing a “hard thing,” as defined by MacArthur “genius” grant winner and researcher Angela Duckworth in her book, Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance. Hard things require stretch goals and daily practice, critical feedback, and dogged determination. If you decide, as my husband has, to deliver opening remarks in both French and English at a company-wide meeting next year, you will log your daily 20 minutes on your Duolingo app no matter how tired you (and your wife) are.

He read Grit several months before I did. Not surprisingly, my husband was all in, dragging our family behind him. “We’re all going to choose a hard thing this year,” he announced before our summer vacation, where he planned we would each share the challenge we would undertake.

Hard things are, of course, a means to building grit, which is the self-evident concept at the heart of Duckworth’s book. According to the University of Pennsylvania psychologist, grit is a measure of both determination and direction, of passion and perseverance. It’s…

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